Contouring *Can* Look Natural – Here’s How

When you think of contouring, a certain kind of makeup look comes to mind. And it’s anything but natural. A lot of us feel intimidated by contouring, or find it to be too drastic for our personal makeup aesthetic. And there’s certainly good reason for that – after all, the whole point has traditionally been to change the shape of your entire face. But times have changed, and over the past few years, the technique has been quietly reimagined by makeup artists. Now, it’s about embracing your face’s shape and simply adding some natural-looking depth and dimension.
So, how do we achieve this 2.0 version of contouring? It all comes down to technique. Instead of relying on powders or creams, try a liquid product, which provides a much more natural effect. Plus, all you need is foundation and a blending brush. The key is having one shade that matches you perfectly, and another that’s one or two shades darker than your skin tone. Adding a highlight is always a great idea, because it enhances the face’s contour by making facial features appear more three-dimensional. You can use a foundation that’s one to two shades lighter than your skin tone, or opt for a concealer if that’s what you prefer. (Bonus tip: you can use the darker foundation during summer months, the lighter foundation in winter, or mix them as needed to ensure a seamless match when your skin tone transitions between seasons.) It’s important to make sure your darker/lighter shades stay within your undertone family. Check out our shade matching guide here if you need help identifying your skin’s undertone or choosing your foundation shades. 
Now, onto the actual application. We suggest first creating a good base with the foundation that matches your current skin tone – then layering on your highlight and finishing with the contour to add dimension.
When it comes time to contour, follow the shadows of your face. Everyone’s face is shaped differently, and it’s important to customize your contour for a natural finish. Blend the darker foundation shade along the areas you want to look more sculpted, like your jaw, cheek hollows, nose, and hairline. Then, apply your lighter foundation on areas that you want to highlight, like your cheekbones, chin, nose bridge and brow bones. Lastly, set your T-zone so your hard work lasts all day. (Stay tuned in the next few months if you’re on the hunt for *the* perfect setting powder...)  And voilà. You’re glowing, flawless, and sculpted.