The first time I wore foundation, I was 24 years old. Needless to say that after only five years of doing this whole “makeup thing” (and pretty much only on the weekends) I’m no beauty expert. Yet I write about beauty here on The Feisty House. I do this for two reasons: (1) I’m 100% addicted to beauty products, and (2) because makeup shouldn’t be intimidating. Everyone can learn how to apply and wear makeup. Trust me. If I can do this, you can definitely do it.
Contouring was one of those things I thought only women who were really talented with makeup could do. One day I was vegging out in front of YouTube watching video after video about “how to contour your face,” or “contouring for beginners,” and I finally decided to just give contouring a try. You wouldn’t believe my surprise when it actually worked and I didn’t end up looking like a drag queen. I mean, I didn’t end up looking like Kim Kardashian either…but that’s okay with me too.
How to Contour Your Face the Easy Way
First things first: start with a fresh face. Then prepare your skin for foundation just like you would on a regular day: a bit of moisturizer, maybe a shine-control primer, and then apply your foundation. I use Maybelline Fit Me Liquid Foundation (and probably always will) and I apply it with a $3 flat top Kabuki brush from elf Cosmetics.
Make sure you get your foundation into your hairline, around your ears and down your neck so that the color appears natural. I don’t use a ton of foundation; just enough to get my complexion nice and even. Once I’m done with my foundation, I like to fill in my brows. Some people wait until they’re done with contouring to do their brows, so whatever works best for you is fine.
I use two products to fill in my brows: an eyebrow pencil, and a little bit of concealer (to highlight underneath).
Once my brows are done, it’s time for the fun part! As you can tell from the photos, foundation evens out my skin tone, but it also makes me look a little flat. Contouring/highlighting puts the angles and curves back into your face. You create your own light and shadow. It’s pretty genius, and it’s easy to get the hang of it. You just need to put the right colors in the right place so that you get the best look.
You’re going to need a foundation that’s a few shades lighter than your skin tone, and another foundation that’s a few shades darker. The first time I tried contouring, I used liquid products, and I found them really difficult to use. Next I tried foundation sticks, and everything clicked. They have the perfect consistency. I use a Maybelline Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation Stick and a darker foundation stick by Black Opal Cosmetics that I picked up at CVS.
You want to put the highlight where light naturally hits your face, and then contour the areas that are usually hidden in the shadow. Now if you’re a sketch artist or sculptor, this probably makes sense to you. But how many of us have actually studied our own faces enough to know where the light hits and doesn’t? For the rest of us, here’s a great photo that shows how to contour and highlight perfectly. You can also watch YouTube: Jaclyn Hill has a great video on how to contour, Shirley Eniang has a video on her entire foundation routine (it includes her contouring and highlighting), and I picked up some useful contouring tips from Missy Lynn as well.
I didn’t apply the colors in a really precise manner, but I do want to get better at contouring my nose because that’s the first place I lose definition after I apply foundation. For the most part though, applying the colors is a piece of cake. The hard part is blending it all out. You do have to pay close attention during the blending phase. You want the colors to blend out so that you look natural. There shouldn’t be ANY harsh lines.
The easiest way to do this (at least that I’ve found) is to use the beautyblender. I put the little sponge under some running water and give it a few squeezes. Then once the sponge has expanded, I squeeze the water out, wrap it in a paper towel, and give it another good squeeze.
Once the beautyblender is pretty dry, I spray it all over with MAC Cosmetic’s FIX+ (this is a helpful tip I learned from Missy Lynn). Then I start blending. I use the corner of the beautyblender to get under my eyes and around my nose, and I use the little “butt” for the rest of my face. When I’m using the sponge, I’m dabbing my face, pressing the colors together. I’m not wiping the sponge back and forth on my face (I feel like that would make my face look muddy). It takes a while to blend the colors out this way (using a brush is probably faster) but I like the natural finish I get with the beautyblender. I mean, see for yourself…
Cool, right? You can really see the difference between these photos and the ones I took right after putting on my foundation. My face has a lot more definition, it has angles, and it looks bright and glowy. This is just using the two foundation sticks. I’m not wearing any bronzer or highlighting powder!
I spent hours on this post because I talk to friends, coworkers, all sorts of women (yes, even random strangers in the beauty aisle at CVS) who tell me they don’t think they can “pull off” a certain look. The truth is…yes, you can. So if you want to contour your face, go for it! Try it out at home. See what works best for you. You don’t have to do it everyday (I don’t even wear foundation during the week) but if you want to glam it up for that holiday party this weekend, by all means, don’t be afraid to try it. You don’t have to be an expert; this was only my third time doing it…and I think it came out pretty damn good!
So…are you gonna give this whole contouring thing a go?