How to achieve the perfect contour

I hope you’ve all been enjoying my new Beauty Beginners series! So far, I’ve shared my basic tips for applying lipstick and foundation. And today, we’re going to take a deeper dive as I go over my tips for how to contour. If you’ve never tried contouring before, it’s actually a lot easier than you might think. You don’t have to go to the extreme and paint your entire face different shades—you can make it as simple as you’d like. Here’s my beginners guide to contouring…

Make Bronzer Your Best Friend

Like I said above, you don’t need to go out and buy 10 different shades of foundation in order to successfully contour your face. In fact, all you really need is a great bronzer. You can use liquid or powder bronzers, but if you’re really serious about defining your cheekbones, nose and jawline, you might want to look into buying a liquid bronzer. It will also blend in a little easier if your skin type is dry. Apply your foundation as you normally would before beginning to contour (read about my beginners guide to foundation here).

Choose the Right Color

Just as choosing the right foundation is important, choosing the right bronzer color is key for a natural, contoured look. As a rule of thumb, I always opt for a bronzer that’s only about two shades darker than my natural skin tone (I love this one and this one). I find that this looks most natural and actually allows me to layer without looking cakey or orange.

Get the Correct Tools

If you’re going to use a liquid bronzer for contouring, a makeup blending sponge works best. And if you’re going to use a powder bronzer, an angled brush or a flat brush is best for giving your cheekbones that coveted depth. Layering powder bronzer over your liquid bronzer will actually give your skin a finished look—you just might have to practice a few times to get the hang of it! 

Ready, Set, Contour…

Once you have the correct bronzer and the correct makeup tools, you’re ready to contour. Start by sweeping your bronzer where the sun hits your face—on your nose, across your forehead, on your cheekbones and around your jawline. Make sure to use light, sweeping strokes so you don’t get too heavy. The darkest application of your bronzer should start from your hairline, sweeping out toward your cheeks. Then, sweep a lighter application across your cheek and back to your ears. My most important tip? Don’t use too much. Bronzer looks best when it’s understated and just gives you a sun-kissed glow.

Blend, Baby, Blend

Once you’ve swept your bronzer on all the areas the sun will hit your face, it’s time to blend. You don’t want your face and neck to be two completely different colors, so make sure to sweep a little of your bronzer downward from your jawline onto your neck to create a seamless transition. Also, if you’re wearing your hair up, make sure you blend a little bronzer onto the back of your neck, too.

The Don’ts of Contouring

Make sure you aren’t using a circular motion when applying bronzer to the cheeks, as this will leave you with a dark circle on the apples of your cheeks. Instead, gently sweep the brush in a back and forth motion. Also, don’t get too close to your eyes, as it will make your eyes appear smaller than they really are.

Well, there you have it: My beauty beginners guide to contouring. These tips are just a starting point for getting comfortable with contouring. Once you’ve practiced a bit, see if you can get more complex with your beauty skills!

What topic would you like to see me cover in my next Beauty Beginners installment?

Let me know in the comments below.

XO Lauren

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Photos: Byrdie