Contouring; according to the online dictionary is defined as – an outline of a figure or body; the edge or line that defines or bounds a shape or object. Perhaps a term more commonly used in the art and design world, contouring has recently become a massive phenomenon.
It’s been one of the biggest beauty trends since last year; everyone is talking about it, everyone is attempting to create it, it’s the structured look we’re all longing for. But, the fundamental question here is, how easy is it to achieve?
I will give a brief outline of how to achieve the ”contoured” or ”structured” look. And then compare a Chanel contoured make-up look against the humble MUA brand retailed in SuperDrug.
Being a self-confessed avid make-up addict I could go into intense detail here (believe me, just this weekend I spent £320 on Chanel make-up, the addiction is real). Here are my top tips;
You need the correct tools for the job
Like anything in life without the appropriate equipment, you will end up with a half-done job rather then a professional looking one. For contouring you need a decent primer, concealer, foundation, powder (usually darker then skin-tone for highlighting). A good foundation brush, powder brush, blending brush…and yes, you guessed it, blusher brush. For the ultimate in contouring purchase a fixing spray to keep your make-up in place.
Base to basics
You need to start with a smooth base. To ensure your skin is in the best condition, always cleanse, tone and moisturise thoroughly. Especially before applying make-up, if you wear it everyday inevitably it dries the skin. Drinking plenty of water will keep your skin nourished from the inside. After moisturising apply a primer which is suited to your skin type (for example a mattifying one for oily skin).
Layering is key
After priming start with concealer, cover all blemishes. Next layer would be highlighting, you can use a darker tone to highlight cheekbones, hide nose shapes, hide dark circles. After these layers apply your foundation, then powder (before foundation you can also use bronzer to highlight cheekbones, or after foundation application)
Blend, blend and blend some more
Each layer needs to be dry before the next layer is applied, and needs to be blended in properly. Make sure you have sufficient lighting, and good quality blending brush. So that you don’t end up with the dreaded orange foundation line around the bottom of your face, it’s not pretty, it’s not classy, and it definitely isn’t successful contouring.
Most of the beauty industry would have you believe that the most expensive products are needed to achieve the best looks; but I don’t believe this. MUA, possibly one of the cheapest brands in the cosmetic industry, has coincidently taken the industry by storm. With prices starting from as little as £1 who could argue!?
Now I’m not saying I’m about to abandon my Perfect Lumière Chanel foundation just yet…But MUA gives healthy competition for the more prestige brands, (for any brand with those prices) and I am going to review it against the French fashion, beauty and perfume powerhouse that is Chanel.
Price range – Products start from £18-£80+
Quality rating- 10/10
When you think of Chanel, several connotations appear within the mind; I always envisage a dreamy black and white setting, a classically beautiful woman with curves and flowing hair sitting in a Parisian café, sipping a latte sporting cat-eye sunglasses; her hair effortlessly blowing in the wind, and her nose high in the air. Chanel is classic, classy, up-market everything a woman aspires to be. And Chanel products, despite the huge price tag are a great investment. The foundation provides a great coverage for contouring, its light and not cakey as full coverage foundations often can be. Chanel face products are also perfect for contouring as they have developed a new technology which allows them to be light resistant; consequently you don’t look different colours in different lights. The products create a radiant, flawless finish. All in all, I can’t fault the products in regards to creating a contoured look. Only advice I would give is that the bronzing powder is highly pigmented so apply sparingly.
Price range- Products start from £1-£10
Quality Rating- 9/10
Comparing a much cheaper, but still great quality brand to Chanel is difficult. I can’t decide which brand is better for contouring;but rather advise that you mix and match, taking the best of both and combining (better for your purse strings as well no doubt). MUA has an extensive range of products when it comes to contouring, from £1 face powders and highlighting palettes, to brilliantly helpful hydrating fixing sprays. As you can see the look created is not any less flawless to the one created using Chanel. The quality of the actual contouring kit leaves a little to be desired, the concealer has great coverage, but overall quality is lacking. However, it’s perfect for a base, as it is slightly greasy you can cover with a mattifying foundation/powder to give a less shiny finish.
In conclusion this proves my theory that no matter the price tag every brand has its staple must-have beauty buys. And amazing looks can be achieved on a low budget! Main piece of advice here is: invest in expensive products because they do last longer, however cheaper alternatives could also equally turn out to be some of your favourite products. It’s all about mixing and matching.
*For full details of products used please check out my next post.