To kick off our brand new how-to series, we’ve selected one of the most requested topics: contour! To show us the ropes, we’ve tapped celebrity makeup artist Lauren Andersen, who, besides being insanely beautiful and awesome, is one of the most talented artists working today. (She is often responsible for Jessica Alba, Emmy Rossum, Jaime King, and Reese Witherspoon's killer red carpet makeup.) In our new series, she's walking us through all her expert tips and tricks, in easy step-by-step tutorials.
Contour, also called shading, has gained a lot of attention over the past year or so, but it’s actually a trick that makeup artists have been using forever. Using two different hues of strategically applied, thoroughly blended face makeup, you can define your bone structure. (Contour will make your nose appear smaller, cheekbones more pronounced, jaw more angular, forehead smaller, and eyes bigger.) With practice, you can change the shape of your face with makeup.
Today we’ll start with the basics of contouring, broken down into 10 easy steps. Click through our slideshow for exactly how to pull it off!
You’ll need two different colors of face makeup. You can pick up a contour palette, like Tom Ford’s Shade and Illuminate ($75), or just use foundation. Andersen prefers to contour her celebrity clients with foundation or concealer, since it’s more natural looking. She suggests using one shade lighter than your skin for highlighter, and two shades darker for contour. Try Avon’s Ideal Flawless Foundation ($11) or YSL’s Touché Eclat Foundation ($57).
“To start, take your lighter color and apply it on the top of your cheekbones, under your eye area, down the bridge of your nose, and in an upside-down triangle on your forehead,” Andersen says.
“Next, you need to soften the surrounding areas,” Andersen told us. Gently blend the edges of your highlighter with a flat foundation brush.
Next, apply your darker hue. “Apply the darker formula in the hollow of your cheekbones, down the sides of the nose, underneath your chin, in the depth of the temples, and along your hairline,” she says.
Once you have your darker color in place, gently blend the edges, working section by section with a blending brush. Try Make Up For Ever’s Blending Brush ($48).
Gently blend the color on your forehead up into your hairline to create a halo effect.
Contour applied on the side of your nose creates a shadow effect, which makes your nose appear more angular.
After you blend with a brush, you’ll want to soften any edges—contour should be subtle! “Take a clean, wet sponge, and gently press over your foundation to pick up any extra product,” Andersen says. “The pressing motion will give a seamless finish.”
Dry skin can skip powder, but if you tend to get oily, you’ll want to set your work with a translucent powder. We like Laura Mercier’s Translucent Setting Powder ($48).
And you’re done!