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14th October 2015

Instagram’s biggest beauty trend: Contouring

Whether you love it or loathe it, you can’t ignore it. Sarah Kilcourse discusses contour

I can’t profess to be a makeup artist, but I would like to think that I’ve got a pretty good grasp of the basics. Recently however, a new trend has come along which is testing my abilities, and probably yours as well. I’m referring to contouring. The fundamental idea is to reshape your face, to give the ideal symmetrical proportions, using darker and lighter shades of makeup.

In an article devoted to contouring, it would be impossible to ignore the high priestess of contouring herself—Mrs Kim Kardashian West. She first brought the trend to public attention when she began sharing selfies of herself mid-contour. The makeup artist who helped to create the infamous sculpted look is Joyce Bonelli, who claims to have learnt to contour from the drag community and then altered the intensity to suit her female clients.

Beauty enthusiasts everywhere have admired the skill and effect of this technique, then attempted to replicate it—easier said than done. I love the effectiveness of contouring when celebrities wear it on the red carpet, in an editorial, and especially on Instagram. But in real life? Not so keen. Contouring can easily become very heavy handed. Troops of women are now walking around with a triple-striped cheek: highlighter, blusher, and bronzer. In my opinion, reshaping your face is supposed to be subtle, and walking around with tiger stripes defeats the object of contouring. Until Kim K revealed her secret, no one was aware that she was even attempting to enhance her face shape with makeup.

Thankfully, makeup companies have jumped on the success of contouring and now offer an array of different products to help you achieve the perfect sculpt. From lower price point palettes like Maybelline’s Mastersculpt, to the more high end options like Charlotte Tilbury’s Film Star Bronze and Glow, and many other options in between. All of them offer shades that make contouring easier, and should hopefully prevent striped cheeks. The one key part of contouring which is often forgotten is blending. If you blend your bronzer and highlighter you are one step closer to looking like the sixth Kardashian sister.

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