If I had £1 for everyone who says to me “do you do that contouring?” or “I’m ok at makeup but I can’t do that contouring that you see them all doing”… Right, so lets start off by clearing something up – not everyone needs contouring. Infact hardly anyone needs it! It’s a trend which became popular thanks to Kim Kardashian and quite frankly it needs to fade away along with the Instagram brow trend.
What is contouring?
It is the buzz word for creating shade on your face and sharpening features. You’ll see a lot of tutorials on YouTube and other social media showing models with stripes of brown on their face and dots of light concealer/cream. There is a crazy trend for this at the moment. Now don’t get me wrong, contouring can be an amazing way to conceal “imperfections” or change features on your face. For example, if you had a wide nose, you can contour in a way that slims down the width of your nose… or if you had a high forehead you can contour to give the impression of a smaller forehead. Contouring is great for making these changes and can really boost confidence on clients who have particular hang ups. However primarily contouring was started by drag artists/tv and theatre actors. Drag artists use this technique to soften their features to make them look more feminine and actors have used the contouring technique for decades to create super sharp features on screen/theatre.
Contouring is not a new technique – its ancient!…
As makeup progressed through the years celebrity makeup artists would contour clients to subtly enhance a chiselled cheek bone or sharpen features on clients yet this was still an inside secret in the industry and not done as part of your everyday routine.
Now, going back around 7 years ago a photo of Kim Kardashian emerged and changed the makeup world forever (well it feels like it anyway!).
Quiet often clients will show me photos of Kim Kardashian and say “I want my makeup to look natural, like this” *points to Kim’s photo* but this look is actual very product-heavy and not a quick look to do.
It requires lots of makeup…layers of creams/powders for contouring and foundation. Now, Kim Kardashian is a very attractive woman with her Armenian heritage and there is no denying that she has a very beautiful face, contouring and all – but achieving this look is causing makeup disasters with us ordinary folk thanks to endless social media tutorials instructing teens everywhere to draw dark brown stripes down their face and apply thick light concealer under their eyes without emphasising the need to BLEND. Makeup needs to look seamless to achieve a flawless look – Adam Ant stripes do not look seamless, flawless or indeed attractive. We have all seen the funny meme that pops up on Facebook of when contouring goes wrong!
Like I said earlier, I am not saying contouring should not be done. Kim Kardashian pulls it off but she has a professional makeup artist who does this for her but contouring is not a necessary addition to anyone’s routine unless you are seeking to “downplay” particular features. Most people do not require any contouring at all – or at least nothing more than a very subtle enhancement of the hollow of a cheek. If you do want to venture down the contour route then practice and BLEND. What looks good on Instagram is not necessarily a wearable look in every day life.
At the end of the day, makeup is all about expression and personal choice but don’t be sucked in to fads and trends (and associated products)…. Classic beauty all the way baby!
Here are some of my favourite style icons…