Luxury Make-up Tutorial: Contouring 101

Jimmy Choo (UK)

5 Star Wedding Directory is welcoming make-up addict and blogger, Alex Howell, to write exclusive, monthly beauty tutorials for our blog. This month, we asked Alex to run through the art of contouring the face, an essential part of any wedding day make-up routine…


Before you start

Contouring is about shaping the face, creating shadows and highlights, and adding depth. If you want to try your hand at contouring, the first place to start is with a good base. If you’re planning on using a liquid bronzer and highlighter, it’s best to use a liquid foundation, likewise with cream or powder – although, you can get away with powder bronzer if you’ve used a powder to set your foundation. Once I’m all prepped and primed (that’s a post for another day…) I’d choose something smooth and flawless, like Georgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation or, for a softer and more natural look, Charlotte Tilbury’s Light Wonder Foundation.

Choosing your Contouring Products

Next, select your contouring products carefully, based on your skin tone or the tone of your preferred foundation. Cooler-toned products can look ‘dirty’ on warmer skin tones, and vice-versa. Note how the two Charlotte Tilbury contour palettes below are completely different tones! Make sure to check your skin tone against a few colour swatches.

Sculpt and Highlight Palettes

For contouring, you’ll need a good bronzer, highlighter, concealer, a little blush, and some blending brushes. I personally love the Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder and the Diorskin Nude Tan Matte as both of these products have a soft to medium warmth, and are both matte, leaving a flawless finish.

Highlighters will not only add to the contour effect, they’ll add a little extra shine to your look, too. Choose one with a gold shimmer for warmer tones, like this Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick or silver or blue-tinted highlighter for cooler tones, like this Météorites Compact from Guerlain.

Concealer, like Yves Saint Laurent’s Touché Éclat is often used to highlight when creams products are being used – this allows for greater coverage and the ability to blend – but feel free to use your gorgeous shimmery powders once all the harsh lines have been blended away.

Creating Shadows and Highlights for a slimmer face

Contouring, as I previously mentioned, is to give depth to the face. This involves darkening the parts of the face you wish to detract attention from, and highlighting the parts you wish to, well, highlight! Bronzer is typically applied to 4 key areas – the underside of the cheekbone, the side of the nose, the jawline, and the top “corners” of the forehead. Darkening these areas makes the face appear smaller, and more chiselled. Highlighter is applied to the prominent areas of the face – the cheekbones, between the brows, the straight line of the nose, the chin, and sometimes the cupid’s bow (that’s the little peak between your top lip and the bottom of your nose).

This might seem a little scary when you first apply it, but grab yourself a Beauty Blender or Kabuki Brush and blend, blend, blend!

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Blushing Bride…

Last, but by no means least, add a little colour back into those cheeks with a light dusting of blush – this Pure Colour Blush from Estee Lauder is particularly beautiful, and comes in a variety of shades.

And there you have it! If you think you look more clown than Kardashian on your first try, never fear! With make-up, as with life, practice makes perfect.

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