It’s fresher, it’s softer and it’s subtler than traditional contouring. Here’s why swapping dark contour for colour could meet your sculpting needs

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If you’ve ever been tempted to try contouring , but have been put off by the amount of effort involved, beauty’s new buzzword could provide an appealing new twist on the trend. Say hello to ‘draping,’ - a technique that swaps dark contour for sculpted colour instead.

“Contouring will always have its diehard fans, but the big trend for 2018 is to ditch the contouring, and try a technique called 'draping' using blush only,” says celebrity make-up artist, Justine Jenkins. With minimal products required, it offers a fresher, softer and easier way to sculpt, enhance and define.

It’s a technique that’s been employed by industry insiders for years, with the concept of the ‘colour glow’ originally popularised by renowned makeup artist Way Bandy in the 70s and 80s. Working on the likes of Farrah Fawcett, Diana Ross and Lauren Hutton, his skill of following the natural bone structure, or the ‘drape’ of the face was widely popular at the time. While he’s sadly since passed away, his legacy continues to live on with the likes of Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Cindy Crawford, her daughter Kaia Gerber and Daisy Ridley having all been spotted sporting the trend in recent times. “Colour is a vital element in brightening and contouring,” he’s recorded as saying. “Not only does colour give accent to the area where it is placed, but it also seems to round out, give curve and softness to the skin and bones where it is applied.”

How do you do it?

Draping can be as pared back or as dramatic as you like. “Place your blush on the crest of your cheekbone and blend out, or to counteract round faces, place the blush slightly under the cheekbone where you would've contoured,” recommends Justine. “This lengthens the top half of the face.” Soft pinks, corals and peaches work best for this in her experience for creating a healthy flush. Blending is key to making the look as soft as possible. “The best way to avoid any contouring type appearance is with a blending sponge,” says Justine.”I use the EcoTools Blending Duo , £8.12 – they’re amazing for ensuring that the overall look is subtle and natural.”

If you’re looking for greater definition and even more intensity though, you can also combine different colours for added effect. In fact, Bandy’s ‘Colour glow’ technique was the inspiration behind Marc Jacobs’ Airblush line - each provides a dual-toned palette to mix and choose from. For sculpting, simply apply the darker shade just below the apples of the cheek and swirl the lighter shade on top to blend the edges away. And for even bigger impact, apply your shade of choice over the peak of the brow at the temples, bridge of the nose, tip of the chin, along the sides of the neck and near the ear lobes. And again, BLEND. The result isn’t as stark as many would think.

What tools do you need?

An angled blusher brush comes in particularly handy for added precision, as does a blending sponge as mentioned above for softening out harsh lines. As for your blush of choice, it depends on how intense you want your finished look to be. A single soft pink, coral or peach blush will more than suffice for something low effort, placing more of an emphasis on placement rather than amount of product used. However, if you’re looking to combine colours for even greater definition, choosing a two-toned palette with a range of colours inside is the easiest option. Here are our top picks.

Marc Jacobs Airblush, £28

Available in 5 shades, this range was specifically made for recreating the luminous dancefloor-inspired flush that saw the look reach peak popularity in the 70s and 80s. Providing a natural looking radiance that’s more of a glow than blinding shimmer, its cream-like texture melts onto skin.

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Fashion Fair Beauty Blush in Pearly Paprika, £9

Available in a range of colours, this particular shade is especially great for those with a darker skin tone. A soft powder blush that applies smoothly and lasts extremely well, it’s no wonder it was the 2017 winner of the Best Blusher for Dark Skin at the Best Beauty By Stylist Awards.

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NARS Dual Intensity Blush, £30

Containing two shades that are striking used alone or together inside the handbag-friendliest of compacts, Adoration and Panic are personal favourites of mine.

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Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blusher, £30

With an outer shade for applying along the cheekbone and a ‘Pop’ shade to apply on the apples, these multitasking blushers offer both style and substance. From the peachy Ecstasy to the rosy Love Glow and pink-hued Love is the Drug, they add a healthy looking flush to cheeks.

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Marc Jacobs The Blush Angled Blush Brush, £28

This brush's soft bristles gently hug skin for seamless and smooth application.

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