ASK SCB: How do I contour?

Contour blush is a wonderful product for adding definition to the cheeks and enhancing your facial structure and unique beauty. If you’re fan of a natural but polished face, it can be applied subtly or built up for dramatic contrast. I got lucky with my cheekbones so a little goes a long way… My favorite way to contour is when I do it to add drama to my daily “natural” look. I started doing this a few months ago as a way to boost my bitchstick and mascara routine when I was pressed for time and really like the way it anchors and frames a bold lip.

Also, if you weren’t aware – contouring is one of the major reasons Kim Kardashian always looks symmetrical and beautiful. Makeup artists and extreme facial contouring (Kim K tutorial) make her that way. Once you understand how and why you’re using a contour blush, it’s super easy to experiment with how you decide to work it into your looks.

NARS Contour Blush Stylized Group Shot

There’s both cream and powder contour products that you can use, I prefer powder as I’m more comfortable and find it a bit easier to use. Also, don’t think that contouring is limited to the cheeks – you can use the same logic to help shade and define your nose, chin, or lightly add overall depth to your face. Play around and see what feels good and looks best for you. I’m currently using Paloma (left) of NARS’ contour blush line, one of three “beautifully balanced duos featuring a lighter shade to illuminate the highpoints of the face and a deeper shade to enhance definition.”  Released in late March/early April, Paloma is a duo of pink beige and deep rose.

Of the three, it’s the medium shade, with a highlighting color that could be used on a wide range of tones. The deeper tone is matte and there’s a subtle shimmer with the highlighter. I’d definitely recommend Gienah for darker tones and Olympia for the fairest of them all. Below is a great video from NARS with quick and easy how to instructions – it’s far more articulate and useful than anything I could do for you. If you’re looking for good tips and tricks, their entire Youtube channel is a great resource to check out.

I’ve found their products to be consistently superior than most other lines in terms of consistency and texture. I do find there can be some variation with the intensity and color payout in other products, but this blush is super smooth with solid color payoff – a light hand is key with this. I much prefer this one to other contour powders that I’ve worked with in the past. I have a brush from MAC that I use – I would definitely recommend investing in a specific one if you’re doing this often. The artist in the video used a contour brush (left, #21) first, followed by a regular blush brush (right, #20) to finish the look off with a swipe of their infamous Orgasm powder.

Below are example contour photos of my girlfriend Sarah, a model in New York (currently in the midst of launching her own jewelry line) who tried to tell me, “I’m only one because of contouring.” This made her the obvious choice to be my demo diva… Because contouring appears beautifully on her, my textual breakdown will be easier to understand when you’re visualizing the process on her.

sarah contour 2

sarah contour 1

1. Prep your skin as usual so you’re working with an even, “blank” face. As they say in the video – you can find the hollow of your cheek with your hands – swirl your brush in there with the deeper powder. You want to create natural depth in your cheek with this matte powder, so make sure to start off with a light hand and layer up for intensity or definition. Blend well.

2. Use the light, pearlier shade to literally highlight the tops of your cheeks and blend a bit into your nose and forehead/arch of your eyebrow (just the cheeks if you’re pinched for time). If you think about where light naturally catches on the face, the subtle shimmer in the lighter powder will help give you a dewy and defined but fresh look.

3. Optional: Use a neutral pinky/peachy blush to sweep and blend across your cheeks if you want (they did so in the tutorial). I don’t always do this – it depends on my choices for eyes and lips. Use your judgment and always consider what else you’re going to be doing with your makeup – you don’t want to look like an over defined clown.

Contouring is a great tool to have in your arsenal of beauty skills. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have model cheekbones after the first try – it’s still something I struggle with, and I can do most of my makeup in my sleep. Just remember that practice makes perfect and makeup is just like face paint, so don’t take it or yourself too seriously.

Select a shade and perfect your art of contour. Please share any tips and tricks you know in a comment below!


| contour blush c/o nars cosmetics | thoughts and opinions expressed are my own | for questions, product reviews or demo requests, contact |

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