Michelangelo, El Greco, Bernini...all of these masters were able to take blocks of marble, wood, and other materials and sculpt them into smooth, chiseled, polished perfection. Human bodies may not be as smooth, hard, or even uniform as the master's mediums, but that doesn't mean we can't fake it when appropriate!
Contouring will take round, plump, curvy figures and faces, and turn them into something that is more angular and leaner in appearance. With the right products, and the proper beauty technique, you too can create your own work of art—and instantly appear svelter, leaner, and better. Here's how.
Set your surface
To contour your visage, first moisturize, prime, and apply the foundation of your choice. (I prefer liquid formulas, such as L'Oreal's True Match, which not only provides customizable coverage, but also wears beautifully.) This creates an even surface that is ready to receive color.
The No. 3 of bronzer
Next, grab a matte powder or bronzer in a shade one or two levels deeper than your own natural skin tone, and proceed to apply it on those designated spots of the face that you wish to appear "sucked-in”—mainly your temples, sides of the nose, hollows of the cheeks, under the jaw bone, and in the crease of the eye. You are essentially applying the powder in a number three pattern.
Spotlight your high points
To finish, use a shimmering, light-reflecting powder or cream product in a color that is two to three shades lighter than your own. When applied, this will 'spotlight' and draw out the high points of your face. Blend the product into the area under your brow bone, apples of the cheeks, center of your chin, above the cupid’s bow of your lip, and on the bridge of your nose.
The end result
Overall, the contrast between the light colors used to bring out and the dark shades used to draw in, is what ultimately tricks your brain into seeing sharp angles that aren't there naturally. With these steps, anyone can go from marshmallow to modelesque. Now isn’t sculpting a wonderful thing?
The same tricks that you used for your face can easily be applied to your body. To contour your abs, arms, legs, etc., grab a body bronzing cream or a water-resistant powder in a shade or three darker than your own, and again apply on spots where you want to add definition. An easy trick that I typically use is to flex my muscle in the area I want to chisel. The edge or border of my muscle is exactly where I apply my contour, while the center of my muscle is where I want to apply the highlight. Six pack abs and toned triceps never came this easily!
Have you tried contouring? What did you think?