Speak of contouring and the first celebrity that comes to mind is always Kim Kardashian. Yup, this Instagram picture started it all. There’s a whole lot of YouTube tutorials based on this one look.
The effect is pretty, yes. But let’s face it – there’s no way we’re doing that amount of “painting” and blending every morning. The look is great for the television and movie screens – bright lights do wonders – but not so much for the office.
So we’ve asked makeup artist Rina Sim to give us a few tips on the most natural way to contour your face. You’d be glad to know that K-Idols do this too – living proof that you don’t have to go through that much trouble for a V-shaped face.
Here are Rina’s tips and tricks:
TIP #1 ONE TO TWO SHADES LIGHTER
When you’re out looking for a contour powder, choose one that’s one or two shades lighter than your skin, advises Rina. “If it goes any darker, it’s no longer natural looking – it’ll be harsh and the look will only work for photoshoots,” she says.
Try Make Up For Ever’s Sculpting Kit in No. 2. Rina says it’s a good universal shade with no orange undertone. (Just so you know, you don’t end up looking like you had a bad fake tan.) There are four shades in the line to suit all skin tones.
You can also use a darker tone foundation – cream, powder or liquid, whichever works best for you – to “shade” your face, too.
TIP #2 CREAM FOR DRY SKIN, POWDER FOR OILY SKIN
All sorts of contour products are available on the market, so how do you choose between a cream or a powder product? Well, follow this – creams for dry skin, and powder for oily skin. Sounds instinctive, but trust me, it’s a pretty legit concern.
If you have oily skin, watch out for shimmer particles in your powder – it’ll sink into the pores. “Hence amplifying pores and oiliness,” says Rina. Yikes.
Too Faced Soleil Matte bronzer is one you might want to look out for.
TIP #3 MATTE TO CONTOUR, SHIMMER FOR A GLOW
While the terms contour powder and bronzer are used interchangeably to describe these “shading” powders (the term in Korea) these days, traditionally, contour powder is matte, while the other has a bit of a shimmer.
To slim the face, use a contour powder. Matte textures create depth. A shimmery powder will reflect light and create glow, giving a “plumped” appearance at where it’s applied instead.
TIP #4 SOFTEN WRINKLES WITH A HIGHLIGHTER BEFORE CONTOURING
Here’s how you do it: Apply a liquid or a cream-type highlighter product – think YSL’s Touche Eclat or Clinique’s Airbrush concealer – to the highest point of your cheek bones. This will soften and blur out wrinkles or fine lines. Then, apply your contour powder after and blend the two products to avoid any harsh lines.
TIP #5 SET YOUR FOUNDATION BEFORE CONTOURING
Don’t apply your contour powder while your face is “wet” with foundation. Dust on a little bit of loose powder to set it first. Your contour product will glide on easily after that.
“Skipping this step may result in patchiness. The [freshly applied] foundation will “grip” onto the powder before you can start blending,” says Rina.
TIP #6 BLEND, BLEND, AND BLEND
Make sure to blend your contour powder properly – you don’t want harsh demarcations. It’s all about playing tricks on the eye – did she or didn’t she? An obvious line that’s darker than your skin lying just under your cheekbones will give a clear answer to that question, and it’s not a good one. Unless of course, it’s the edgy look you’re going for.
Now here’s how to get the V-shaped face in just under a minute. Start light, so it’ll look as natural as possible, just like your favourite Korean idols.
Step 1: Find the highest point of your cheekbone
Step 2: Lay your brush below that area. The part where your brush first touches will be where it’s going to create the most depth. So start slowly and build up the intensity as you go along.
Step 3: Blend the remaining product in your brush over your hairline, your forehead and temples.
WATCH: See how light-handed this Korean makeup artist is with the contour brush at 1:05
Bonus tip! You can hide protruding cheekbones with this method too. Just apply it on the highest point of your cheekbones and feather it off below the hollow of the cheeks.
Photography: Vernon Wong; Art direction: Eugene Quek and Sabrina Tiong; Hair and makeup: Rina Sim using Guerlain (9762 6084); Model: Sherena Ng / Basic Models