Contouring is like Feng Shui; we’ve all heard of it, it might make our lives better, but we have zero ideas as to how to go about doing it it. When done right, contouring can thin your face, define features and add a subtle splash of color we desperately need during these long winter months. But contouring gone bad can make even the best of us look like an oompa loompa post wisdom teeth removal.
I’ve consulted the experts (aka Pinterest and LaurenConrad) and paired it with some of my own sneaky makeup tricks to bring you this helpful, step-by-step how-to guide for mimicking those infamous Kardashian cheekbones.
Disclaimer: I got a camera for Christmas and am still learning how to use it- stick with me on the photos, guys! I promise they’ll get better!
Step 1: Highlighting Isn’t Just For College Text Books
Essentially, contouring is exaggerating the natural shadows that fall on your face, and the first step in this process is to lighten the protruding features to enable that dramatic juxtaposition. I used this highlighter (aka concealer) from Lancome, but would also recommend this one for gals on a budget similar to mine. I prefer using liquid highlighter, but you can also replace with a powder foundation if you’re less experienced with liquid. Fair warning: If you feel like you’re going overboard with the makeup here, you’re probably doing it right.
1. Start under the eyes and extend to about an inch past the corners, moving your concealer stick at a downward angle to cover the upper half of your cheekbones
2. Apply the concealer to the top of your nose, continuing upwards to the middle base of the forehead.
3. Moving on to the bottom half; start at the back of the jawbone and manipulate the highlighter into a half oval on both sides
4. Dust a little concealer on the part of your chin that juts out.
Step 2: A Little Bronzer Never Hurt Nobody
Now’s the time for some duck-facing: suck in those cheeks! The natural indent that appears is where you’ll be applying the bronzer. When choosing the right bronzer for contouring, it’s essential to pick a cool tone, as shadows don’t naturally contain any red or orange hues. I’m a big fan of this one by NYX. I would also recommend using a contouring brush, but most medium brushes will do the trick too.
1. Beginning at your hairline, brush in a light downward slant towards your lips (Don’t be afraid to apply in bulk- we’ll be blending later)
2. Apply a few vertical swipes with your brush along your hairline to create a natural shadow-effect
3. Apply the bronzer along your jaw and then outline the hairline that frames your forehead
4. Using a smaller brush (confession: I use an eyeshadow brush on the bigger end of the spectrum for this), dust along the nose, framing the highlighter applied previously
Step 3: Blending Is Your Best Friend
The last part of contouring (and arguably the most important) is the blending.
1. Blend the highlighter in enough so that it’s no longer in the perfect shape that you applied it
2. Add a layer of foundation over the highlighter and bronzer (I swear by this Bare Minerals foundation)
3. Depending on the amount of foundation applied, I’ll add a few extra strokes of bronzer just below my cheekbones, and then apply blush to the apples of my cheeks in a choppy upward motion back to the hairline
And viola! Your cheekbones are worthy of even Kim K, herself!