A Foundation Trick That’s Just as Good as Contouring

Whether you’ve tried it, you’re over it or you still don’t have the slightest idea where to start, contouring with makeup can make a world of difference—giving your face an instantaneous “sculpting” and “slimming” effect with the literal wave of a hand.

And, if you want to start in slowly, celebrity makeup artist Ivy Sims, owner of Ivy Leez Luxe Makeup Lounge, says it’s actually pretty simple to step up your contouring game with a couple of tips and some products you most likely already have at home—no contouring kit required.

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“Contouring can be easier than you think and you can do it with less products than you think,” she says. “You don't necessarily need the whole contour kit to get a little sculpt to your face and jawline.

Option 1: Buff & Bronze
After applying your foundation, you can buff (using a small buffer brush) either your bronzer or darkest-toned blusher into your sideburns down three inches. “Then, using the same shade, dust your jawline and sides of nose. Finish with your regular concealer for highlighting.” (Inside tip: Sims says pretty much everyone has the Laguna or Casino NARS Bronzer in their makeup bag—and that's the perfect user-friendly contour color.)

Option 2: Go for a Darker Foundation
This one sounds like the biggest makeup application no-no in the book, but listen to Sims. “You can also choose a liquid shade at the most appropriate darkest level of the foundation you use and use the same method of buffing in from your sideburn/hairline down three inches, jawline and the sides of your nose. For liquid contour, I use tiny circular buffing strokes with more blending and precision, then the powder application.”

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No matter which one of these tips you try, Sims says top it off by smiling and applying a light peach or pink to the apples of your cheeks and continue to blend the colors. (She recommends NARS Orgasm or a similar shade.) “The most appropriate contour colors are probably already in your makeup bag. It's about placement of your bronzing and darker shades and concealer. If you want to try a liquid, get the shade approximately six shades darker than your skin tone and buff and blend!”