Contouring and highlighting can make or break a beauty look. It’s all about creating that Goldilocks combo of a well-defined, yet utterly natural-looking bone structure. But how do you do it? We’ve all been there – from stripy contour to under eyes with serious flashback – and sometimes it just seems impossible to get it right. So we asked professional makeup artist Thembi Mkandla to show you how to nail your contour and highlight every time. Oh, and she did it using vegan-friendly makeup – so welcome to conscious contouring 101.
1. Back to basics
It may sound obvious, but laying down a flawless base will make your contour look better and blend more easily. Prime your skin with B. Priming Soufflé, then apply B. Flawless Matte Foundation in a shade that matches your skin tone, building it up to your desired coverage.
2. Feel your face
Everyone’s face shape is different, so there’s no universal contour map that you can copy. The best way to decide where you should contour is to get a feel for your face. Study it and decide where you’d like to create shadows. Feel around your cheeks and jawline to find out where your bones are, as these are what you need to define.
3. Carve it in
Once you’ve decided where you’d like to contour, use B. Cassie Lomas Whipped Bronzer to mark out the areas.
Forehead: Applying a little bronzer directly under your hairline can help give the appearance of a shorter forehead. For a narrower forehead, apply the product to your temples.
Cheeks: For catwalk-ready cheekbones, start in the centre of your ear and sweep the bronzer across your cheek, stopping in line with the outer corner of your eye. Use your bone structure as a guide, and make sure you can feel your brush pushing up against your cheekbone.
Jawline: Some people are blessed with chiselled jawlines, but for those of us who aren’t, contouring can add great definition. Apply the bronzer directly underneath your bones, contouring from the bottom of your ear down to your chin.
Symmetry is key. Make sure both sides of your faces match before moving onto the next step.
4. Blend, blend, blend
To avoid that freshly toasted panini look, you’ve gotta get your blend on. Contouring is all about creating shadows that look flawless and natural, so take a B. Blending Brush and get rid of all those harsh lines. Always blend the jawline down into the neck, and be sure to move your hair out of the way, to avoid product-clogged baby hairs.
TOP TIP: Use some of your base colour to help with the blend if you’re finding it tricky.
5. Colour correction
If you have dark circles, this is the time to get rid. Steer clear of overly pale shades… we’re going for seamless, not two-toned. Use a good coverage concealer with pink or orange undertones to cancel out any purple under-eye circles – the B. Flawless Concealer Duo is perfect for this step.
6. Catch the light
Now you’ve created the shadows, it’s time to make them pop with a cheeky bit of highlight.
Under eyes and cheekbones: Use a B. Pro Contour Stick to draw a V-shape from the inner corner of your eye, down onto your cheek and then up across the top of your cheekbone. Fill in the area inside the lines to give your face a lift.
Forehead: Apply the contour stick to the centre of your forehead, starting between your eyebrows and fanning upwards.
Extra definition: Put a little product underneath your cheekbone to make your contour pop.
7. Blend again
Once you’re happy with your placement, it’s time to blend again. This time use a B. Concealer Brush for more precision.
8. Lock it in
To make sure your contour stays all day, set it with powder. Apply B. Pro Makeup Setting Powder to the areas you highlighted and B. Matte Bronzer to the places you contoured. For an extra glow, sweep B. Radiance Powder in Peachy across the top of your cheekbones.