Contour5* photos courtesy of cupcakes and cashmere, pinterest and lily pebbles *

Contouring is something that I’ve only really got my head around in recent months. Previous attempts would leave me with muddy-looking smudges across my cheeks – thanks to the wrong colour bronzer – and for a while I just gave up on the whole process, deciding it was far to much of a faff to bother with. But sadly, when your face is as round as mine, it’s important to persevere with these things.

So, for anyone with as limited a contouring skill as my own, I thought I’d pull together a quick (hopefully fool-proof) guide to contouring….

One of the most important elements of contouring is finding the right powder to contour with – anything with a tone that’s too warm will leave you looking orange or, at best, a bit muddy. What you want is a powder that is really cool in tone, verging on grey, to create a shadow on your face and create a bit more structure. Remember, you’re not trying to create a tan here, it’s about shading rather than warming. Pair it with a reliable highlighter – nothing too shimmery – and you’re ready to roll.

I’m currently loving three options in this area – one budget, one middle and one high-end. The Sleek Make Up Face Contour Kit in Light is a tiny bit on the orange side but, provided you use a light hand it works really well. The Studio 10 Beauty Visible Lift Face Definer includes a contouring powder and a cream blush and highlight – it’s pretty much everything you need in the cheek department – and works a ruddy treat. The contour colour is spot on, the cream blush and highlight blend beautifully and it’s a great on-the-go option. Last up, the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow is one of the most luxurious products I own. Both powders are a great consistency, last well and the packaging – oh, the packaging – is just beautiful.

Now, in terms of technique, I’m pretty limited in all honesty, but I find that a good cheek suck-in works wonders when it comes to highlighting where you want to contour. You see those concave bits under your cheek bones? That’s where you’re aiming for with the contour powder. If you fancy going the whole hog, you can also contour on the sides of your nose to give extra definition, and carry the powder up to your forehead for added effect (refer to the other guides from the lovely Cupcakes and Cashmere, Lily Pebbles and Pinterest if you need more of a contouring map).

Be light handed to begin with – you can always build it up if needed – and make sure you pick a brush that suits your face shape and will fit right into the contour areas with ease. My favourites are the Charlotte Tilbury Powder and Sculpt Brush and the Real Techniques Contour Brushbut really any small, tapered brush will do.

What contouring tricks and tips do you guys use?


2 thoughts on “A beginner’s guide to contouring

  1. samanthaq says:

    This was very helpful! I’m definitely trying to get into contouring more, even if subtlety xx

  2. These are great tips. I’ve been really into contouring lately and what I’ve learned about it is always to go over it and blend until you soften the edges. I usually stay away from bronzers that have shimmer in them.

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