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Friday, September 01, 2017

It’s been about a year since the contouring trend took over the world, but if you’re still struggling with it, Purva Indulkar brings you a guide to mastering it… if you’re lazy

Contouring, a kind of magic that you can do with foundation of a few different shades, has many celebrity fans. Sometimes it is overrated, but it can be underrated. Will it make you look like selfie-queen Kim Kardashian? Probably not. Can it give your face a more sculpted appearance, enhance your cheekbones and nose-bridge, and give you a soft, warm glow? Certainly!

But, if you struggle with drawing a cat-eye with your liner — it is not as easy as it looks! — contouring can seem like an advanced and certainly impossible technique. A few wrong swipes and you end up looking like a sun-burnt orange. And if you choose the wrong beauty products, you will look like a bronze, brown mess. All of the advice and suggestions you come across on the subject can be very detailed, confusing and, frankly, exhausting.

So we’ve narrowed down the very basics of contouring, so that even on your most hung-over mornings, you can click the perfect selfies. The most important thing to remember is that you should pick makeup products that are of the highest quality, especially if you plan on contouring on a regular basis.

When contouring, always start off by applying foundation that’s the same shade as your skin tone and create a uniform layer. You don’t need complete coverage; just a good base for the contouring. See our box on ‘What you need’ before you begin.

Start with the borders
Begin from the top of your face. Take the darker stick of foundation and trace your temples. If you have a large forehead, draw the darker foundation into your hairline. This will make your forehead look smaller. Coming to your cheeks, using your fingers, find your cheekbone and the hollow part beneath it. A little above the spot where it dips is where you draw with the darker foundation. Next, turn your attention to your nose. If you have a tiny nose, you can make it look longer by drawing the darker foundation from the bridge towards your eyebrows.

Blend the borders
Once you’ve marked out the darker zones, start blending the foundation so it seamlessly mixes with the base foundation. Use a damp beauty blender or a makeup sponge to tap over the darker foundation. Use the bigger, rounder part because it covers more area and tap in small, circular motions. When blending the foundation on your nose, use the narrow, pointed side so that it is blended evenly. Continue till the boundaries between the base and dark foundation disappear. The colour should go from a lighter to a darker tone in a seamless gradient.

Get light
Once you’ve finished blending the darker shades, it’s time to start with the lighter foundation. Use those to draw underneath your eyes. This hides your under eye circles and puts more attention on your cheekbones. Also, apply some light foundation in the centre of your forehead and on your chin for a longer, more angled face. If you want to give yourself a smaller, shapelier button nose, put some light foundation on the bridge of your nose. Take the beauty blender again (make sure you wash it in warm water to clean out the dark foundation) and use it on the lighter foundation to blend that in evenly too.

End with a dusting
Once you have blended the three types of foundation to your satisfaction, move on to the end of your contouring session. Simply take a big brush with light feathers, dab it in some loose setting powder and brush it all over your face. Don’t choose a small brush though, as this will make powder accumulate in different areas of your face. A brush with hard bristles won’t be good at this either, because it won’t give you even coverage. You can pick translucent powders, which help set your makeup without interfering with its colour or shade. These work well for cream and stick foundations. You can also choose a setting spray, but powders are better at mixing up the light and dark foundations.


To get contouring like a pro and give your soft features a more defined, angular character, you should have the following items in your makeup bag:

  • Foundation that matches your skin tone.
  • One stick of foundation that is two shades darker than your skin tone.
  • One stick of foundation that is two shades lighter than your skin tone.
  • A beauty blender or a makeup sponge.
  • A fluffy brush or a kabuki brush.
  • Loose powder to set your makeup.


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