16th October 2016

To contour or not to contour

In an effort to uncover the public opinion on the topical beauty debate around contouring, Sophie Soar bares all and seeks the general consensus on the bronzed makeup phenomenon

It’s a common feature of life for many women to doll themselves up for a night out on the town with their friends. We all love to do it. There’s something great about the process of getting ready with the girls, putting on makeup and choosing an outfit to start your night before even leaving the confines of your bedroom.

I’ve certainly changed for the better in my makeup routine, fortunately moving away from piling on the Dream Matte Mousse and rimming my eyes with the thickest and blackest of kohl liner at the age of fifteen. Now, I chose alternatively to emphasise eyes or lips, adding concealer when my eye bags look less Prada and more Primark, and generally stick with the rule that a natural face works best for me.

I’ll admit unashamedly though that I am a lazy makeupper. Rather than learn the different functions of primer, bronzer, highlighter or foundation, I alternatively opt for a tinted moisturiser and powder, changing my day-to-night look by adding glitter and topping up my mascara. So I was curious as to how make-up can change your face and what the general consensus was with regards to my favourite beauty rule: less is always more.

A half-hour pamper treatment later, including excessive efforts from my housemate to turn my face into a contoured creation, I was transformed almost past recognition. I was mildly embarrassed to have to ask what half the products were that she was piling onto my face, including a quizzing on the effects of primer and where one applies highlighter. A pop quiz on these facts now would result in a very poor score.

Contrasting images in hand and keen to show off my new found cheekbones, I headed to Fallowfield’s finest hunting ground for honest, if slightly drunken, opinions on the question: to contour or not to contour?

Two glasses of wine in, I still felt too shy to approach people to ask them to judge my face. This alternatively provided two of my friends with an empowered and unashamed courage to ask the question for me. Fortunately, the sheer volume of products on my skin covered my blushes as they paraded my headshots around the pub, from which I kept my distance to retain something of my dignity and self-confidence.

During this time, my friend and I discussed the efforts some women expend to produce the appearance of cheekbones that could cut glass or a nose shape often only possible through genetic engineering or several procedures of plastic surgery. Whilst he stated his belief that heavy make-up should be reserved for special occasions rather than a regular affair, it did also only take an extra pint for the grand, sweeping statement: “I don’t know why you’re asking all these people; my opinion is worth the same as any bunch of chicks.” It’s safe to say his confidence wasn’t the one taking the hit that evening. I concluded however that I commend any woman who has the time to apply such make-up every morning or before any casual Monday night trip to the pub, even if it is seen as a tad excessive.

Fortunately for me, the scores were in and I sat smugly as I saw that whilst twelve unassuming regulars confronted with my stark face preferred the dolled up version, twenty-four opted for the natural look that consists of my daily five minute make-up routine. I breathed a sigh of relief. I don’t have to learn to contour after all.

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