We all want to look our best, but we still want to look like ourselves. This desire has driven the no-makeup makeup trend.
These days it’s all about how to contour without looking overdone. So, what are the best ways to achieve that no makeup look that will leave everyone saying, “Did you just get back from vacation?”
The first thing that you need to remember is to stay close to your foundation color. You only want to go a shade lighter or a shade darker, for the contour and highlight colors respectively.
Anything more than that will make the color change perceptible. While that might be fine for Kim Kardashian at a photo shoot— she’s dealing with 1,000-watt lighting and photoshop— your office lighting will not be as forgiving.
Choosing a subtle shading difference will give you the same effect in a less perceptible way.
Where to Apply What
Okay, so you’re ready to contour. The next question is— where does each color go. We’ve broken it down for you, but a good rule of thumb is to place the highlighter in the areas where light would hit your face and your contour color in the place where shadow would be.
Using the darker, contouring color to mimic the appearance of shadows. You want to apply it at the very top of the forehead, near the hairline, underneath the cheekbones to give you that chiseled look, and along the sides of the nose.
Now that you’ve contoured, where does your highlighter go? The answer is pretty much anywhere that the contour color is not. You want to make sure to cover your brow, a line at the center of your nose, the area above your lip, your chin, and the under-eye/cheekbone area. Be sure to apply the highlighter in a triangle under your eye to prevent that backward raccoon eye — it’s a thing.
We may all love those Instagram and YouTube beauty looks, but again, it’s important to remember that those all make use of lighting and editing. If you walk into work with a full Instagram contoured face, you’ll certainly be turning heads, but it may not be for the reason that you want.
Keep a light hand with your application to keep your makeup from feeling caked on. If you haven’t achieved your desired effect, you can always layer a little more.
This is the most important step to achieving a subtle contoured look. Blend, blend, blend, and when you think you’re done, blend some more. The harsh changed between the highlight and contour colors will be a dead giveaway that you have a full face of makeup, and they can give you a “half done” appearance.
You can use a beauty blending sponge, a blending brush, or go the old-fashioned way and use your fingers to gently blend the lines of color changes into each other.
And, For the Brave of Heart
If your makeup looks good in daylight, it will look good anywhere. You want to be sure to apply your makeup with as much lighting as possible. You can pick up daylight light bulbs at the hardware store if you’re really committed, but be warned, they are the least flattering light bulbs in the world (hence why they are the ultimate makeup test).