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Long gone are the days where a lick of mascara and a splash of lipstick were considered a job well done in regards to make up – now it’s all about light reflecting, highlighting our best features and using the right colours to bring out our inner beauty. Lucky for us, there are very few secrets that make up artists are able to keep under wraps, thanks to celebs instagramming their make up applications before they’ve even left the salon!

Ever since that picture of Kim Kardashian’s face covered in white and brown stripes surfaced, we have been a teeny tiny bit obsessed with contouring. Once upon a time this technique was reserved for catwalk models and fancy photo shoots – but not anymore! This is a technique where different shades of makeup are used to define facial features such as the cheeks, brows and lip line, as well as giving shape to areas of the face. Long gone are the days where drawing severe bronze lines in the cheeks was considered contouring!

For a matte finish, you should use powder based products; or for a fresh, dewy summer look then opt for cream based products. Brushes are very important when doing this technique; a couple of brushes should ideally be reserved in your brush set for contouring and highlighting. If you ever only buy one brush, it should be MAC #217 – this blending brush changed my make up application completely.

Application for cream contouring:

(Remember, this is a follow on article – refer to “Make up Masterclass: Base” at www.thewriterri.com for the previous steps – thus we are following on from foundation etc.)

1. Apply a light reflecting primer all over the face.

2. Apply your normal foundation (ensure this is as close to your skin tone as possible).

3. Apply a cream highlighter (i.e. YSL touché éclat) to the forehead (roughly between the brows and just above in a ‘tree’ shape), down the centre of the nose, under the eyes, on the top lip line, and then, from the lips, draw a thin line out towards the jaw.

4. Apply a much darker foundation in the line of your cheek bone, down the sides of the nose (this gives the nose a smaller appearance), just under the lip (only if you want a fuller look) and then apply a small dab on the temples. To hide a double chin you can contour around the jaw line, bonus! Finally apply the contour to the hairline, but if you have a small forehead use a little amount. You will literally look like a make up bag exploded and landed on your face, but don’t panic, it’s meant to look like that!

5. Next, blend the highlighter using a sponge. Then using a round, small duo fibre brush, you blend the contouring around the nose, lips and temples thoroughly so that you don’t notice any lines. Now, switch to a large duo fibre brush, such as MAC 187 face brush, to blend the cheeks and hairline. At this point you may want to add in some more foundation to help it blend easier. Sounds like a lot of blending, but this is what makes it look seamless instead of obvious.

6. Once this is completely blended you should have a natural, but stand-out look. You can set this with translucent powder to keep it in place. Who needs a make-up artist when you can do all of this yourself!

Application of matte contouring:

Follow steps 1 & 2 from above.

1. Set your foundation with pressed powder.

2. Find the correct product. Bronzers tend to be incorrect to use, as the undertones can destroy the natural intention of this technique unless it is a matte bronzer with no shimmer. Instead, you could use a pressed or loose powder that is a few shades darker than your normal choice, or you could buy a contouring product such as MAC sculpting powder £15.50. You want to have a highlighting product also, but again this has to be matte. Many contouring kits will have this product included.

3. Using a contour brush and your darker powder, trace the cheek bone (use your fingers to determine where your cheek bone is). Trace this almost down to your lips to create a hollow, and then create a ‘C’ curve motion up to your temples. Then frame the face using this dark powder along the hair line, under the jaw and down the sides of the nose. For a fuller lip look, trace the powder just underneath the bottom lip.

4. Use a duo fibre brush to soften out the lines all over the face.

5. Using your highlighting powder, brush this right into your cheek and up to the cheek bone. Next apply some on the bridge of the nose, just above the lip and on the forehead.

6. Blend all of this thoroughly using a duo fibre brush, and you’re done!

I’d personally recommend doing the cream contour technique first, as it’s far easier to blend and manipulate, and also gives a gorgeous, glowing finish.

Blusher

When it comes to blusher, skin tone and hair colour are equally important. Your skin tone should determine how pigmented your make up colours should be – if you have tawny, tanned skin you can experiment with a huge range of colours; but it’s safe to say that there aren’t many of us on the island that fall into this category, so I’d advise to opt for slightly less loud-and-proud colours!

For blonde hair, opt for muted pinks and pale peaches. Recommended shades:

· Mac powder blush in Pink Swoon £18

· Bobbi brown blush in Desert Rose £19

· NARS blush in Nico £22.50

For brunettes, deeper shades such as warm pinks, rosy browns and bronzers are complimentary. Recommended shades:

· Mac powder blush in Dame £18

· Bobbi Brown blush in Tawny £19

· NARS blush in Dolce Vita £22.50

Red heads should choose coral, apricot and peach tones. Recommended shades:

· Mac powder blush in Melba £18

· Bobbi Brown blush in Nude Peach £19

· NARS blush in Orgasm £22.50 (the best selling blusher of all time – own it!)

Also, if you have opted for the mentioned contouring technique, it’s a great opportunity to experiment with cream based blusher. A lot of women are a bit intimidated of cream blushers, but often it can be because the wrong shade has been chosen. It is a great make up choice if you have dry or aging skin, and is said to be good if you live in a cold climate. Yep, ticked a couple of those boxes!

Recommended cream blushers are Illamasqua Cream Blush (£21.50), Clinique Blushwear Cream Stick (£21) or Bourjois Little Round Pot Cream Blush (£7).

Apply a very small amount of the cream blusher to the apples of the cheeks using either a brush or your fingers, then manipulate into the skin until you are happy with the placing of the blusher. Note: don’t do this on top of pressed powder as it won’t blend as naturally.

So it’s time to get in tune with your inner make up artist and start experimenting! Remember though, make up that suits your friend will probably not suit you – pay close attention to eye colour, hair colour and skin tone when you are making your choices, and when in doubt, just ask, or even better, get yourself booked in for a make up lesson!

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