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!”