Not all of us can be born with the bone structure of a supermodel and despite belief to the contrary, contouring unfortunately can’t change that. Drat. What it will do though, when done properly, is masterfully manipulate shadow and light to enhance and emphasise what you’ve already got and downplay what you’re not particularly fond of.
Cue the launch of two new NARS collections of contouring make-up and I thankfully now have all the tools I need to help chisel my cheekbones, plus feign a slightly smaller forehead too (I could actually screen movies on it). The first is the new range of Matte Multiples and the second is the trio of new Contour Blushes, £30.
How best though to master pro application? I sat down with NARS International Lead Stylist Jane Richardson to find out how a few clever sweeps of a makeup brush can hold the key to making the most of your face shape and features no matter your skin tone or level of experience. Here’s what I learnt…
1. OPT FOR MATTE CONTOURS
Forget about light-reflective shimmer, this season it’s all about no makeup makeup and keeping it rich, vibrant and most importantly matte when it comes to creating healthy, natural-looking contours. Look to create your contours as the final step of your make-up regime to warm up your complexion with a finishing kiss of colour.
2. HOW TO ANGLE YOUR MIRROR
For best results, look straight into a mirror rather than placing it above or below you.
3. THE BEST SHADE
All three shades of the new Contour Blushes are ideal for any skin tone. Which one you choose though depends on the level of contrast that you’re looking for. Jane recommended starting off with the one that makes most sense for your tone, and then to move to the next one up. I’ve started off with Gienah (a duo of honey and amber); however I also found Paloma (pink beige and deep rose) to be a great daytime alternative for darker skin tones.
4. THE BEST TOOLS
In order to ensure expert precision for sculpting, chiselling and shaping like a pro, it’s definitely worth the money investing in good quality brushes. To define and blend with ease, the new NARS Contour Brush #21, £33, has proven to be the perfect angled ally. As Jane pointed out, as the brush isn’t laser-cut it will therefore retain its shape better, won’t hurt if you push it against the skin and will pick up the optimum amount of product for even application.
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5. THE BEST TECHNIQUE
To avoid ending up with more stripes than Tony the Tiger, ensure that you tap the brush after dipping it in the compact to remove the excess. Pack and push the powder into the bristles and keep tapping until most of the colour is off to allow for greater control of the amount of pigment applied.
6. HOW TO APPLY
‘Kiss’ the powder into the skin by softly pushing and pulling it into the skin for the most natural finish. Start by applying the darker shade to the hollows of the cheek, towards the temples and along the hairline. Lightly apply to the centre of the forehead to make it look smaller.
7. HOW TO HIGHLIGHT
To highlight, take a look at the curve of your cheekbone from the lower to the middle to the top, and think about where the light naturally falls on it. As a rule of thumb, aim to sweep across the cheekbone and towards the temple. Look to provide an unexpected spotlight that’s natural, unforced, soft and barely there.
8. ADD COLOUR
Finish with a pop of colour using one of the seven new Matte Multiples. Experiment beforehand to see the effect of placing it in different places. Have a wider face? Blend it further in. Looking to take inspiration from the 70s? Apply lower down below your cheekbone. Even apply to the nose for a more youthful, just-ran-through-a-meadow flush. They’re great applied wet or dry (the former for a sheer wash of colour, the latter for more vibrancy). However, Jane suggests that if you have problematic skin, it’s best to favour dry instead. Cappadoce (golden bronze), Vientiane (copper bronze) and Altai (rose bronze) also provide a creamy sun-kissed alternative to the powder variations.
9. THINK LIKE A MAKEUP ARTIST
If like me, you have a tendency to get stuck in the same makeup routine every day, step out of your comfort zone and approach it more like a makeup artist would. By pretending that you’re doing a story for a shoot, it’ll help provide a way to overcome the most deeply set of makeup ruts.
10. EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR MAKEUP
Before bed and before removing your make-up, play around with your look and try to break your usual beauty rules. Jane recommends putting on colours and leaving them unblended to see what happens – you’ll become less afraid and feel more in control over it when you try it out for real.
NARS Matte Multiple , £30 will be available exclusively at Space NK from www.spacenk.com later on this month. 1st of April, nationwide.
NARS Contour Blush , £30 and Contour Brush #21, £33 will be available from the 1st of April, Selfridges exclusive preview. 15th April nationwide.