It may be one of beauty’s most enduring looks, but contouring remains the one tricky make-up look that most of us have tried but few of us have mastered.

From the contoured eye to that beautiful cheekbone (think Kim Kardashian for the full on effect), what always looks so easy on a super model on the catwalk rarely translates into reality for those of us who try it at home. So for the real low down on how to get this look right, here is our guide to fool-proof face contouring.

The One-step Contour:

Take a tip from the make-up pros and forget about all that tricky shading under the hollow of the cheekbone (the truth is it works for evening but rarely for daytime) and concentrate just on highlighting your face. A favourite A-lister Red Carpet trick (they always want their skin to look naturally fresh and dewy), the ‘Hollywood Contour’ is about only using a glitter-free sheen or light shimmer in a C-shape from the brow bone, around to the top of the cheek bone. The secret is to then bend it in (a fluffy brush works best) so it looks like glowy skin, not glittery make-up.

Try: Dior Skin Nude Shimmer Illuminating Powder or Benefit High Beam . Daniel Sandler’s Contour Brush is great.

TIP: Don’t bring this highlight too far into the face (it adds years fast). Looking straight on into the mirror, blend it on so it comes no closer in than the iris (the coloured part) of the eye.
Need to Know:
Use your fingers to actually feel where your brow, cheek and temple bones are – you won’t always see them in the mirror.

The Easy Face Sculpt:

Equally easy to master, make-up artist Daniel Sandler’s super simple face contouring trick is one anyone can do. “I just use blusher (or bronzer) and highlighter to get that beautiful 3D effect on the face,” he explains. “First apply your blush from the centre of your cheek, up towards your ear – using a bronzer gives a slightly stronger look. Then blend the highlighter along the cheekbone but just above the blusher , making sure to blend it well.” The effect should be a great cheekbone, not strips of colour and shimmer.

Day to Evening: Unless in the hands of a pro, leave this to night time wear only (the light is less forgiving on any mistakes). Use a tiny dab of darker concealer blended in the hollow under the cheekbone, but only close in by the ear (don’t take this too far out under the cheekbones – it’s not a good look).

TIP: Use much less, not more, as you can add to it but the result should be a sculpted effect, not obvious colour.
Need to Know:
“Don’t mix textures; use blush and highlight in a powder or a cream, not one of each,” advises Sandler.

The Easy Eye Contour:

Now you’ve mastered the intricacies of the cheek contour, the final touch is on the eye to get that beautiful up-date on the Sixties inspired look (think everyone from Marilyn to Twiggy). Daniel suggests choosing a matte eyeshadow , one to two shades darker than your skin tone so you get that natural shadow rather than eye shadow effect.

“Find the area just above your eye socket (the bone above the eyelid creases) and using a small eye shadow brush , blend the shadow working from the outer corner inward,” explains Sandler, across the bone.

Tip: To finish add a tiny bit of highlighter on the brow bone and, using a small, tapered brush, in the inner corner of your eye to really open them up.
Need to Know:
Blend the contour just above the eye lid crease, not directly in it to avoid drawing the eyes down and piling on the years.

Your Comments (1)

  1. Zehra wrote on Nov 26th, 2012 ...

    Zehra on Nov 26th, 2012 at 10:12 am

    A really great tutorial with great tips, easy to understand, simple instructions. I am relatively new to makeup, and have tried contouring before, but failed miserably! If only I had read this article beforehand.. I’ll definitely give this look a second go, especially for that bronzed, sculpted summer-glow.


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