Contouring’s always gotten a bad rap, but when I read recently that the best makeup tip Kate Moss — that icon of bone structure — has ever gotten was contouring, I decided to give it a second look. “The contour powders of today are much softer, more natural than in the ’80s,” says Filipina American celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal, creator and president of Mally Beauty. “Contouring doesn’t warm your skin like bronzer does; it just mimics the natural shadows of the face.” The secret is to blend well, “so you get that soft, shadowy effect.” We asked Mally to get us started.
ISSUE: Summer 2012
DEPT: Beauty Kit
What kind of contour powder should we look for?
Look for a product that is actually meant for contouring, with words like “contouring” or “shaping” in the name. They are less pigmented and super easy to blend, so they won’t be too heavy or dark. Never use a brown or taupe eye shadow, which will be too heavy and too pigmented.
Can we use concealer to contour?
Yes, absolutely! This is one of my favorite makeup artist tricks. On moisturized and primed skin, take a concealer one to two shades darker than your skin tone and apply it in the hollows of the cheeks, along the top of the forehead, on either side of the nose. The darkness is going make everything recede. Then, take a concealer one to two shades lighter than your skin tone, and apply it on the tops of the cheekbones, on both sides of the mouth, down the center of the nose, on the brow bone, and in the center of the chin — the lightness is going to bring everything forward. Gently blend any edges, then apply your foundation as you normally would.
What kind of lighting is best when I’m contouring?
If you can work in a room with lots of natural light, that is going to be your best bet. If you don’t have access to natural light, just make sure to avoid overhead lighting, which can cast unnatural shadows.
Chinese-Malaysian American Audrey Cleo, a reporter for the TV Guide Network, knows contouring. “Under harsh TV lights and especially under what’s called ‘flat lighting,’ the natural angles of my face get blown out and dis- appear. Not hot,” she says. Here, her own step-by-step guide to chiseled cheekbones:
1. After applying concealer and foundation, coat the top of a flat topped contour brush with a powder three to four shades too dark. Suck in your cheeks as if you’re making a “fish face.” With a light hand, apply the dark shade in a line from the highest part of your cheekbone into the hollows of the cheeks, right underneath the apples. It will look like you just drew two lines in the shape of a “V” on your face.
2. Continue applying the dark shade along your jawline and blend a little under the chin and into the throat area. This creates shadows along your face and neck.
3. Using a small powder brush, apply a powder three to four shades too light just under the dark “V” lines. Blend to soften lines.
4. Dip your small brush into your highlighter and apply above the apples of your cheeks towards the temples and above the “V” shading from step 1.
5. Finish with blush on the apples of your cheeks and soften any harsh lines by applying your regular face powder with a buffer brush in a light circular motion.