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All about the contour

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Love it or hate it our younger generation just can't get enough of the low light and highlight aka contouring. It was rumoured to be taking a back seat to the likes of strobing and tantouring, but that hasn't been the case.

In recent years contouring has become a skill that many men and women use when applying their own makeup, where as it was once only the skill of an artist.

We have all heard the buzz words, contour,  strobe and tantour, but why?

Contour uses low light (shading) usually 2 shades darker than the natural skin tone and highlighter. Combining and correctly postioning you can sculpt the face, change features and correct shape. For example: shorten a long nose, slim a round face, lengthen a short chin etc.

Contouring does take time to learn and understand, and your choice of colours are important too. If you are fair extra care should be taken when choosing the shader colour to prevent making the face look too orange.

Strobing is slightly easier, however can still go wrong if applied incorrectly (putting on too much or onto skin with deep set lines and wrinkles). Created by using highlight only, it can be in cream form and can be mixed with foundation or applied on top. It can also be in powder form, remember cream on cream and powder on powder!

Tantouring has been around for years within the beauty industry but has only recently started to feature as a makeup technique. Often when having a spray tan therapists would darken the cleavage area by applying extra tan to the area and by doing so make the cleavage look deeper and therefore the boobs look bigger.

Tantouring is all about adding tan to the areas of the face you want to sculpt. Its ideal for men and women who want a natural look without having to apply makeup and it lasts longer.

In recent weeks when visiting Westfield I have collided with lots of shoppers when I've been rubber necking to check out peoples makeup. No one looks good with a tideline let alone a face 4 or 5 shades darker than their body.

With Kim Kardashian being the queen of contour - youtube, instagram and so many other social media sites have gone crazy for it, enabling the likes of you and I to learn the art of contour in our own home.

One of my favourite tutorials has to be "Nikkietutorials" on youtube, 'Contour like an instagram pro'. Where she used a spoon, folk and whisk making fun of some of the over the top contour tutorials out there.

Here are some of my tips, some you might already know and some might change the way you do do your makeup forever.

First choose the right product for you, albeit cream or powder form. Apply the darker shade to all the areas you want to decrease (make smaller or even hide) and use the highlight for the areas you want to stand out more (cupid bow, cheek bones). Make sure when blending you blend to a natural look rather than leaving thick dark or highlight lines all over the face.

Contour should be natural shadows.

I want to share a few of my favourite products for contouring:

Sleek cream contour kit is a bargin at £12.99. Find it in your local Boots store. It does require layering and setting in order to get the best look but it's great value, apply with a brush and blend with brush or fingers.

NYX Wonder Stick is a great product that fits perfectly into your makeup bag. It's my personal go to product, I use my wonder stick daily. One end is a darker cream lipstick while the opposite end has a highlight lipstick. Easy to apply straight from the bullet and I find blending with my fingers gives the best results, but you could you a stipple brush if you prefer.

Revolution is a big favourite of mine, I love so many of the brands products and the cost is amazing too. Revolution have a range of contouring products but my two favourites are the cream contour palette and the powder palette. The cream contour kit is quite similar to the Sleek palette and requires a build up of layers to achieve the best results. But value for money they're hard to beat.

Undress by MUA is another of my go to products, it's amazing for highlighting light, medium or dark skin tones. They do have a white version but I find it appears too gold on the skin and fake looking for my work so I tend to stick with this one.

MUA undress your skin illuminating liquid glow is another of my go to products for myself and my clients. It comes in three fabulous colours - pink shimmer / champagne / oyster. Blend onto of your foundation, add to your foundation or wear on top of a tan they are amazing and a fraction of the price of some leading brands.

It doesn't mean I don't like high end contour kits like Anastasia Beverley Hills, that isn't the case at all in fact I love the ABH cream contour kits and unlike the cheaper versions it requires less layering. However, I'm not a fan of the ABH powder contour kits, I found them hard to blend and colours weren't great.

Tom Ford, Hourglass and Illamasqua all have some amazing contour products too.

Of course not forgetting one of the true greats in the makeup world Kevyn Aucoin, who was a true believer in natural beauty and the art of contour. The Contour Book - the art of sculpting & defining is a must have for any makeup artist or anyone serious about contouring. It's a an amazing bit of kit by one the greatest artists ever.


If you are just starting out in the world of makeup or you want to experiment with contouring your face to see what difference it would make, I would recommend some of the high-street brands I've mentioned above.

Like I said love it or hate it contouring will be around for a long time yet.