As a makeup artist, I’m going to be real blunt here. Chances are you don’t need to contour. As a matter of fact, I’m 100% positive that you don’t need to contour. As fun as contouring is, it’s become one of those concepts that the general public has very limited understanding of in regards to its purpose.
To hear most people describe it, “Contouring is the art of using light and shadow in order to make certain aspects of the face more prominent or recede”. People heard this description and all of a sudden thought that contouring and highlighting were scalpels and could take the place of a good plastic surgeon. It most assuredly is not. So in the hopes of making y’all more a little more makeup literate, let me clarify some things for you.
1) Contouring and Highlighting aren’t meant to reshape your face, they are techniques meant to enhance it. The original purpose of contouring and highlighting was to reinforce the natural bone structure of a face when it was either washed out by certain types of lighting or due to the compression of an image into a 2D surface.
2) Contouring and Highlighting is not daytime friendly. Look, contouring is meant to replicate and reinforce the shadows that naturally lay on your face at any given time. The thing that people tend to forget is that shadows naturally move depending on where the light is. As a makeup artist I can cater how I add structure to the face with makeup because the lighting is being controlled.
That’s not going to work for Ms.Suzy when she has a full beat on when she goes to the local Giant to buy some radishes under those fluorescent lights. If the light moves but the shadow stays the same, that contour goes from looking like a chiseled cheek to looking like you lost a fight with a melting twix candy bar.
3) If you want a way to add a bit more structure to your face without the risk of abusing a contour shade, stick to highlighting. It’ll add luminosity to you skin and take advantage of any natural lighting. It’s a great subtle way to enhance your bone structure without having to use extra products.
4) Don’t contour your face just because you saw the way someone else did it. Like I said, Contouring was meant to enhance the natural structure of the face, and all of us being the beautiful snowflakes that we are, all have different face shapes. If you have a short forehead, you probably don’t need to contour there, if you a really strong jaw, maybe add a bit contour there if you feel it necessary. In order to effectively use contour you’ll have to get to know your face and what works best for it. The one size fits all approach doesn’t work for this technique.
Hopefully these little nuggets of info will help you make better choices when it comes to your contouring and highlighting. Then again, it’s your face, not mine. Have fun with it! Play around! Experiment! Just keep in mind that Instagram and YouTube are not the end all be all of makeup standards.