Google "how to contour," and at some point, you'll inevitably stumble across the man who made it so ubiquitous: Mario Dedivanovic. The makeup artist is renowned for using the technique on Kim Kardashian West, which in turn created countless copycats, followed by the "Instagram face." In the last few years, the search for "contouring palette" grew exponentially, and it's easy to understand why. The look is meant to make your face appear streamlined. Thanks to a clever application of lighter and darker makeup, your face can essentially look more sculpted.
However, we've spotted a new trend emerging. Other than the fact that contouring palettes declined in popularity last year (our trusty friend Google told us that), even Dedivanovic has said that it's changed. Instead of those thick stripes, we're seeing a much different approach: It's softer, pared back and more natural.
"The whole clean vibe I've been doing with Kim, I've already started seeing it on social media," Dedivanovic revealed to People. "I love a natural, clean look. There's something so fresh about it, and also, to do it, it's refreshing—it's not as much work."
So how do we master this new way of contouring? We've come up with six surefire tricks to help you achieve the look. Not only that, but we'll also tell you what you need to contour your face and cheeks and whether or not you need use foundation. Keep scrolling to see six simple steps that will make your contour look natural and not OTT.
#1: Skincare Is Key
Imaxtree; Pictured: Model at Conran
The truth is that to really make this look natural, you need to ensure your skin looks amazing. While we know that can be tricky, especially if you suffer from acne or the occasional blemish, you can follow some simple rules to ensure your skin always looks great with our guide on how to wash your face.
#2: Find the Right Foundation for You
Imaxtree; Pictured: Model at Altuzarra
You don't have to go for thick foundation (in fact, we'd advise against it); a light-coverage option is great for flawless-looking skin. We love BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream (£28) for full coverage that still gives you dewy skin.
#3: Don't Skip the Concealer
Imaxtree; Pictured: Model at Burberry
Both Bobbi Brown and Dedivanovic say you shouldn't skip your concealer when applying makeup. Dedivanovic says that it "always gives that perfect clean look to the skin." As for Brown, she never skips it in her own makeup routine—she starts with the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit (£26) "because after that, [you] don't necessarily need foundation." While applying foundation before you contour is optional, know that concealer is nonnegotiable.
#4: Try a "New" Contour Palette
Imaxtree; Pictured: Model at J.W.Anderson
Instead of going for the classic contour palettes that come with the requisite dark-brown and yellow shades, why not opt for a "new" palette that's much subtler? Hourglass's sheer palette and Charlotte Tilbury's bronzer are a couple great options. True, these aren't traditional palettes, but the idea is to make your skin look glossy and natural, not stripey. As for the application, you can use your fingers or a brush with a lighter approach. When contouring your cheeks, lightly dab the darkest colour under your cheekbones (once you've done your foundation and concealer) and sweep upward. Keep scrolling for the products you need to contour your face right now.
For a subtle, real-looking contour, invest in this creamy Hourglass trio.
Are you a contouring pro? Then you'll easily be able to find your way around this palette.
No one does glam like Charlotte Tilbury. This powder duo creates a luminous highlight and contour look worth of the red carpet.
#5 Go Easy and Blend!
Blending is key to making your contour look totally natural. In fact, this trick—using a cotton bud—will transform your contour application for the better.
YouTube / Byrdie
#6: Say No to Finishing Powder
Imaxtree; Pictured: Model at Michael Kors
One of the biggest things to avoid when contouring right now is finishing powder. While you might want to reach for it to stop shine in its tracks, the shine is really what you want to keep. Even Dedivanovic agrees, saying that you should go for a silicone-based spray to make skin glow. Try Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water (£22) to get that effortless look.
And there you have it! Now you can assure that your contour will look picture-perfect each time.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.