For me, contouring has always been a bit of a mystery. The world of blogging (along with Kim K of course) introduced me to the art of this skill, but it has taken me a good while to get the hang of it. I remember doing the makeup for a shoot at Impact magazine (at uni), and one of the models asking me how I was doing her contouring. I got a bit tongue tied and sort of made something up, because I wasn't all that sure what I was actually doing. In truth, I'm still kind of not, but I think I've definitely improved in this area! This post will talk about good contouring products, rather than techniques. If you want to learn how to contour, however, YouTube is full to the brim of tutorials, so head on over.
The main problem I used to have when attempting to contour was the lack of suitable products that are available to buy. Just to give you some context about my skin; despite having dark eyes and naturally dark blonde hair, I still nearly ALWAYS have to get the palest foundation at a makeup counter. Lots of bronzers and contour powders are not exactly ideal for paler skins, as they are too brown, dark, or shimmery. It's also difficult to know which tools to use, or which style of highlighter to go for (cream, powder, shimmery, non-shimmery...the choices are endless!). The good news is if you have pale skin, I've done the hard work for you ;) After trying LOTS of products, I have finally found a winning combination for contouring.
The first product I use in the process is Mac's Prep and Prime highlighter in 'light boost'. It is a perfect combination of glow and concealer, and really reminds me of the YSL touche eclat. I use this at the very tops of my cheekbones, and create a 'triangle' shape, similar to that of the infamous Kim K style, but smaller. I don't use a brush to blend it, as I find it works best with my fingers. Next, I use a contour powder in the hollows of my cheeks. For this I have been using Mac's Harmony blush. It is a muted plum/taupey shade, which means brown or dark undertones can be avoided. I actually heard about this from Tanya Burr in one of her tutorials, so can't really take the credit for its discovery. I use this with a Mac 168 brush, which is described as a 'large angled contour brush'. I'm pretty sure if you shopped around you could find cheaper versions of this, but ideally look for an angled brush which is small enough to be used easily in the hollows of your cheeks. The last step is blush. I find that matte blushes sort of ruin the contoured look which has been created already, therefore the best type to use for this is a blush/highlighter hybrid. The one I am in love with is Estee Lauder's Illuminating Powder Gelee blush. Annoyingly, this was a limited edition product last summer (I'm sorry!) but a brilliant dupe for it is Benefit's Rockateur. As long as it's a glowy, highlighter-y blush, it should work well. I use this with my real techniques blush brush. After this, I dust a bit of NARS laguna bronzer over my face and some matte powder on my T-zone, and my face is done!
Sorry for the rambling but I hope this post may come in useful to my fellow pale folk, let me know in the comments which products you love to use for contouring.