No matter how many YouTube tutorials we watch, there are still plenty of us who struggle with doing our makeup. Why? Simply because everyone’s face and skin tone are unique and different. In short, the how-to video that’s claiming to help you achieve the right contouring technique may not be the best learning guide. All you really need is to know your exact contour shade. Now, you might be thinking, what does contour shade have to do with contour technique? Per Allure, without the right shade, you can’t get that desired look. “For simple contouring, you only need one shade; but for more elaborate sculpting you need two: a deeper shade to define the lines of the bone structure that you’re creating, and a lighter shade to create the shadow,” makeup artist Benjamin Puckey told the outlet. “When people hear the word ‘contour’ they instantly think of heavy Instagram-style makeup, but it’s supposed to be very subtle,” he added. “Cream formulas are the best for this.”
In order to find the right shade, Byrdie first advises knowing your undertone. NYC-based professional makeup artist Caroline Baribeau told the outlet that lighter skin can stick with cooler contour, while olive complexions require a golden tone. As for those with darker skin tone, your best bet is finding a more neutral color. Users can test the product on the inside of the arm to ensure they’ve found the right shade.
Once you find the right shade, then it’s all about the technique. Technique begins with your tools — in this case, your brushes. If you’re going for a softer look, then a light and fluffy blush will muddle the contour, making your cheekbones look more natural and less defined, as Byrdie advises. However, if you’re looking for those razor-sharp angles, it’s better to grab a smaller, denser brush.
After the brush comes either the cream or powder. Both a cream contour and powder contour will alter the shape of your face, so it’s best to know which one works better for your overall desired look. According to Allure, a powder contour will help provide a natural, everyday look. “The powder formula is light on the pigment load so you can’t over do it, and the colors were designed for the most believable contour,” makeup owner Fiona Stiles told Allure of her personal powder palette. But just because powder is more natural-looking doesn’t mean that cream contour is bad! Rather, it just does different things. If you’re going for full glam, complete with glitter, smoky eye makeup, and a killer lip, then cream contour is a must. But for those everyday errands, say hello to your powder palette.