Style: Countour like a Kardashian
Contouring is having a make-up moment. It's always been around, but Kim Kardashian's devotion to the technique has cranked its appeal up to a new level. Nowadays, make-up artists insist it has eclipsed the smokey-eye as the most requested look.
But what is it exactly? "Contouring is very well-blended sculpting and shaping make-up, that's applied to areas to soften or define features," explains top make-up artist Michelle Regazzoli Stone, who was responsible for Rosanna Davison's wedding day make-up. "The most popular areas to contour are the cheekbones, the nose, the forehead and the jaw line, but the key to successful contouring is that it must be blended very well," she says.
The basic principle of contouring is adding shadows to recessed areas you want to minimise and applying highlighter to the areas you want to accentuate. The overall aim is to make your face look more oval in shape, to make your cheekbones more of a feature and to streamline the jaw. In other words, someone with virtually no-bone structure can cheat their way to Kate Moss-like chisels.
However, there's a very fine line between a perfectly sculpted, refined face and an overly made-up one that looks like it's in need of a good wash. Which is why most of us prefer to leave it to the professionals. But, according to Michelle, it need not be that way. With the right products, good technique and a little bit of practice, there's no reason why we can't incorporate it into our daily beauty regime.
The Dos and Don'ts
● Subtlety is key. Choose a contouring shade that's not too harsh against your skin, nothing too orange or too red, or shimmery - matte works better. I find matte eye-shadows or matte blush works just as well, if not better, than bronzer.
● The contour colour should be about two shades darker than your natural skin tone or foundation. Kevin Aucoin's sculpting powder works well for my pale skin, as does NYX's Powder Blush in Taupe. Tap excess off the brush before applying, it's easier to add product than remove.
● If you're very unsure about what colour to use, stick to dedicated contouring kits, which come in different shades according to skin type. Bourjois' Délice de Poudre Bronzing Duo, €10.49, which also works well on fair skin, houses a gorgeous shadow and highlighter, and is without doubt the best of the lower priced contouring palettes.
● Smashbox's Step by Step Contour Kit is great for medium skin tones, and the accompanying angled brush is very useful for application. Michelle loves Anastasia Beverly Hills' Powder Contouring Kit as it contains everything you need for successful contouring. A cult product adored by celebrities, there are a heap of online tutorials showing you how to best use this product.
● Use either all powder or all cream products. Never both. The different textures are rarely compatible. Beginners should steer clear of cream-based kits which require more expert blending.
Powder Contour Kit, approx €49.50, Anastasia Beverly Hills, cultbeauty.co.uk
This sleek little palette which is used by Kim Kardashian, contains six shades - three for highlighting and three for contouring. Everything you need to hide, lighten or brighten.
The Sculpting Powder, €41.76. Kevyn Aucoin, Space NK, Grafton Street, Dublin 2
Don't be fooled by the colour in the package, this is the perfect natural shadow colour for pale Irish skin.
Brush No. 16, €38, Callanberry, callanberry.com
Its tapered pointed shape allows for precise product placement and a soft finish.
Miracle Complexion Sponge, €5.89, Real Techniques, Boots stores Great for blending any harsh lines without adversely affecting your make-up.
Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle, €30, MAC, Brown Thomas and BT2 stores nationwide A warm, flattering, high-frost highlighter that really makes cheekbones pop.
How to Contour: Make-up artist Michelle Regazzoli Stone's step-by-step guide
1. Apply your foundation as normal, allowing it rest on the skin for a minute before contouring, as you don't want your face to be too tacky.
2. To locate the hallows of your cheeks, suck in your cheekbones. Using your preferred contour shade, work from the temples of the forehead, downwards in a large C-shape, lightly applying the product along, and just beneath, the cheekbone hallows, stopping just short of your mouth. The brush you chose to use is entirely subjective, some artists prefer using angled brushes, others favour tapered brushes. I love Callanberry's No 16 brush as it allows for precise application while the softness of the bristles allows for easy blending.
3. Apply the same darker colour directly under the jawline to make that area look slimmer and more defined.
4. If you want to slim your nose, take some of the contour colour on a clean fluffy eye-shadow brush, and work downwards using light strokes from the start of your brows, down the sides of your nose.
5. To bring light to the face and enhance features, apply highlighter in a small C-shape from the brow bone down on to the higher cheekbone. Again, lightly does it. The highlighter can also be used on the bridge of nose and the cupid's bow. Smashbox's No. 7 Fan Brush, €17, is the best I've come across for applying highlighter.
6. Apply a light dusting of blusher to the apples of your cheeks.
7. Finally, it's essential that you blend any harsh lines. Do so gently in light circular motions as you don't want to disturb your make-up. Real Techniques' Miracle Complexion Sponge is great for this. Penneys do a beauty blending sponge that's super, too.