"Nontouring" Is the Best Alternative to Contouring When You're Feeling Lazy

It includes zero sculpting products.

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While contouring can help you achieve a complexion that looks both sculpted and bronzed, the beauty practice can be a bit too much effort for people who enjoy doing a quick glam in the morning. If you're looking for a way to sculpt out your cheekbones while creating a healthy glow in one fell swoop, may we recommend the latest nontouring makeup trend?

What is Nontouring?

"Nontouring is all about the skin, where you use highlights to accentuate features of the face, thus bringing more structure to the face without using a contour product,” says celebrity makeup artist, Katie Mellinger. Different from contouring, which focuses on creating snatched bone structure and a bronzy glow, “nontouring” is all about (literally) highlighting the face's bone structure and creating a dewy and hydrated complexion.

If you feel like you’ve seen this trend before, it’s very similar to the “strobing” technique that’s also trending on TikTok, where Gen Zers spread highlighter onto the high points of their faces for a look that sculpts out their facial features while making their skin look like healthy, glowing skin. 

How to Nontour

Before you go running to grab every highlighter stashed in your vanity, skincare and skin prep are critical for achieving a proper nontour. “My favorite way to achieve a nontour look would be to prep the skin with tons of hydration and add some facial massage techniques to sculpt and contour,” says celebrity makeup artist Rachel Pagan. “Adding eye patches under the eyes can also help to de-puff as well as add more hydration to that area.”

With 10-step skincare routines still running rampant, Mellinger explains the skincare products she skips when looking to nontour. “Make sure your skin is well hydrated but not too slippery. For this reason, I like to steer away from face oils unless your skin is super dry.” Mellinger adds that using a hyaluronic acid serum like the Vichy Minéral 89 ($30) combined with a lightweight moisturizer like The Outset Nourishing Squalane Daily Moisturizer ($44) is enough to prep the skin for this dewy makeup routine. Ragan says that a lymphatic drainage massage is critical for this technique, too, stating, "facial massage would come next to help contour and release any tension from the face."

“For nontouring, you want the skin to look as natural as possible," explains Mellinger, which is why she first primes the skin and blurs the t-zone with the St. Jane Beauty Luxury Sun Ritual-Pore Smoothing SPF Sunscreen ($38). "As for foundation, I prefer to use a super light, tinted moisturizer or serum. I especially love Iris & Romeo’s Best Skin Days ($48) as it covers just enough to even out the skin tone but still looks like you have nothing on."

After evening out the complexion, you can go in with an illuminating highlighter (pick one that errs on the side of "dewy" rather than "glittery") and highlight the tops of your cheekbones, your browbones, the bridge of your nose, your cupid's bow, and just above the arch of your brow for a reflective finish.

Mellinger adds, "my favorite highlighter for a nontour look is Tower 28 Superdew Highlight Balm ($18) [because] it highlights without adding any shimmer. We want it to look natural, not too glittery." Other options include the Róen Róglow Skin Stick ($39), the Saie Glowy Super Gel Lightweight Dewy Highlighter ($28), and the Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Face and Body Gloss ($32).

“If someone is looking for a more satin finish for their skin, they can apply a mattifying moisturizer or loose powder in any areas that may be too dewy,” explains Pagan. “Another tip is using a tissue to blot any areas on the skin, leaving a more natural and satin finish.”

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