If you’ve ever binge-watched a season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, then you know the contestants’ ability to turn stunning looks week after week is nothing short of impressive. You also know they’re the queens of contour and use makeup to completely transform their faces for every runway and challenge. And while you might not need a runway-level beat for an everyday makeup look, drag makeup is the perfect place to draw inspiration from when trying to really sculpt your face. To help you contour like a drag queen, we’ve enlisted the help of makeup artist Kasey Spickard a.k.a. queen, Grace Papaya who shares how to take dramatic drag contour and make it wearable for everyday.
TIP 1: Layer and Blend
“Drag contouring is contouring to the extreme!” says Spickard, who recommends a toned down version of this for everyday. One of the best ways to translate drag to your everyday look is to blend and layer powder and cream products in order to lock in that sculpted look all day.
TIP 2: Contour for Your Face Shape
If there’s one thing Spickard wants everyone to know about contouring, it’s that the same placement doesn’t work for everyone. Contouring is all about playing with depth and shadow, so wherever you contour will minimise its appearance. To help you figure out what works best for you, he recommends this face chart, which breaks down the best contour placement for each face shape.
TIP 3: Want a Natural Contour? Go Cool
According to Spickard, natural shadows tend to have a cool tone, so reach for products that offer cooler undertones — but make sure they don’t show up gray or ashy on your skin. To keep the skin looking warm and radiant, he recommends following up your contour with a warm-toned bronzer.
TIP 4: Flawless Contour is a Two-Step Process
Spickard prefers to do a cream contour first before following up with a powder contour for seamlessness and added depth. For fair folks, Spickard recommends RCMA S-1, and Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette is his top pick for deeper tones.
First, Cream or "Wet" Contour
STEP 1: First, make a “fish face” and see where the hollows of your cheeks are to know where to place your contour.
STEP 2: Place [product] on the face with a large foundation brush. Then blend it out with a stiff buffing brush.
STEP 3: Draw the line from your hairline along the hollow of the cheek but do not go past the the outer corner of your eye. If you drag your contour further than that, you will look like a drag queen and it's way too dramatic for natural contouring. On the forehead you should be blending downward and on the jawline and chin you should be blending upward.
Pro Tip: Place your product with one brush and blend with a second brush.
STEP 4: Once you finish cream contouring and highlighting, set with a translucent powder like Dermablend Setting Powder.
Next, Powder or “Dry” Contour
For contour powders, Spickard’s favorites include Kat Von D Shade & Light Palette for fair and medium clients and Makeup Geek Contour Powders for deep skin tones.
STEP 1: Go back over where you placed your cream contour with powder to intensify the contour and make it last longer.
STEP 2: Additionally, go one to two shades deeper, and apply where you placed your contour to get even more depth.