Although it’s not a new concept, contouring techniques have enjoyed a sort of revival lately — and for good reason. Contouring makeup defines the features of the face, accentuating what we love and disguising what we don’t.

The basic idea is relatively straightforward: Apply darker makeup to your face where you’d want a shadow to fall (hollows of cheeks, sides of the nose, top of your forehead, etc), and go lighter in the areas that you want to highlight (bridge of nose, along the cheekbones, along your cupid’s bow, etc.). If you don’t have a specific contouring palette, our first inclination is to reach for the bronzer. Unfortunately, shimmery bronzers have reflective qualities, which can be bad for your contouring game. Instead, we suggest reaching for a beauty item that might surprise you: eye shadow.

perfect contouring tool

Face Shadowing With Eye Shadow

Just how we use brown shadow to accentuate and define the eyelids and brow bone, a matte, taupe shadow works the same magic on the rest of the face. Simply take an angled face brush or large shadow brush and apply the shadow to the areas you want to contour. As is always true with this makeup technique, blending is key. To camouflage any lines, use powder or concealer that matches your skin tone to blur out any visible lines.

Product Recommendations: L’Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Eye Shadow Duos in Classic KhakisL’Oréal Paris HiP High Intensity Pigments Matte Shadow Duos in PoppyUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Pistol or Stray Dog and NYX Cosmetics Nude Matte Shadow in Bare My Soul.

On a roll with using eye shadow in new places? Use a white or light cream eye shadow (this time a little shimmer is okay) in place of a highlighter.

What’s your favorite part of the face to contour? Share your best spot in the comments below.

Photo: shutterstock


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