Contour can seem daunting and down right scary if you’ve ever seen those youtube makeup tutorials. You might get lost as soon as they tell you to use a concealer 3 shades darker and one 2 shades lighter, but with this article, you’ll learn to do a simple, fast, easy contour with only 3 products. In 10 minutes you will have achieved a natural looking contour that isn’t obvious but will dramatically improve your face tone and shape.
The History of Contour
Contour is now everywhere from the kits that they sell at every makeup store to the girl you went to high school with who is now a self-proclaimed make-up artist on Instagram. When people think of contour, they usually attribute it to celebrities like Kim Kardashian, our obsession with selfies and everything red-carpet but contour was invented long before any of these things or people existed. Contouring is actually as old as makeup itself.
Starting as early as the 1500s, contour was used by stage actors in Elizabethan England. These stage actors would apply chalk and soot to their faces so they could more easily be seen from stage. As artificial light was was invented, performers began using pancake makeup and greasepaint on their faces but makeup was only worn by stage performers and prostitutes as it was deemed “vulgar.”
Soon, contouring made its way to the film world and make-up artists taught contouring techniques in school as early as the 1930s. Makeup artist Max Factor of the early 1900s is credited with coming up with the term and concept of contouring. In 1915, Factor released the first ‘tutorial’ on how to contour for different face shapes.
Contouring is basically using cool tones on more prominent areas of the face and warm tones to slim and shade areas of the face. Familiar faces like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor all had contour when on-screen.
Made popular by drag-queens and movie stars, contour wasn’t mainstream until recently. Up until the 2000’s contouring was a beauty industry secret until celebrities like Kim Kardashian revealed their make-up routine. Now there are millions of contouring tutorials all over Youtube and Instagram which has doubled over the past decade. Everyone wants to have a camera-ready face now due to the influx of social media and the need to document everything.
The once natural-looking subtle-shading contour turned into full-fledge face sculpting and transformation.
Everybody now contours from movie stars to news casters. Not only the face, contouring has spread to being used on the body to simulate lifted breasts and sculpted abs. Some have even gone as far as to call the contour of today “clown-paint” and no one wants to be accused of looking like a clown when doing their makeup.
You could say we’ve gone a little crazy with contour and that it is intimidating to anyone whether you’re new to makeup or have been wearing it your whole life.
With the birth of the make-up tutorial and the viral contouring everyone has become a make-up artist and expert but even Kim Kardashian herself has said she’s done with contouring and is going for a more natural look. As the trend of dramatic contouring is dying down and more people are opting for that “no make-up” look, a simple contour will give you the look of a 1960’s movie star as opposed to a current Instagram celebrity.
This 10 minute step-by-step contour gets more in-tune with the original purpose of contour and is more similar to the contour you’d see in 20th century movie stars as opposed to the rigorous contour of Instagram celebrities today.
Using bronzer instead of a darker shade of concealer makes this contour much more natural and attainable. This form of contour is great if you’re new to make-up or don’t want an obviously contoured face. Plus it’s easy and super achievable. With this step-by-step contour, you’ll be contouring your face everyday and for every occasion!
Step 1: Base
This contour can be achieved with a foundation, BB cream or CC cream. I recommend using Samshbox’s BB cream for a more natural look but you can opt for your favorite CC cream or foundation for a fuller look- just make sure to use a primer if you’re using a foundation. Smashbox also carries some great primers for all skin types and complexions.
Apply a dab of your cream or foundation on both cheeks, chin and forehead. Blend your foundation or cream with your fingers or a sponge all over the face and nose avoiding the eye area.
Step 2: Eyes
Use a concealer a shade lighter than your foundation or cream- I recommend using a thick concealer like Tarte’s Creasless Concealer. Put a dab of concealer on eyelids and 3 dots under the eyes and blend with finger.
Step 3: Contour Pt. 1
Now for the contour part:
- put a line of concealer under the cheekbone on both cheeks and blend.
- Put a line of concealer down the bridge of the nose and a dot on the tip. Blend both but don’t blend together.
- Place three lines of concealer starting at the nose and spreading out on the forehead to make a triangle shape.
- Lastly, place a dab on the protruding part of the chin and blend
Step 4 : Contour Pt. 2
You will need a dark matte bronzer for this part. I recommend Bronze Lights by Samshbox. You can use any blush or bronzer brush for these steps:
- Spread bronzer over bridge of nose
- Suck in checks and spread bronzer along sunken part of cheek bones-stoping an inch away from the mouth,
- Spread bronzer along hairline area at the top and sides of forehead
- lastly, spread bronzer along sides of your jaw bone.
Add mascara and some lipstick and you have a full natural face! You should have a very natural looking contour and the best part- people won’t even know you contoured.