It’s no secret that I am not a fan of contouring. Here’s why: When I was starting out as a makeup artist in the 1980s, contouring was everywhere and makeup was all about changing your features. It was about trying to make your nose look smaller or your face look more narrow. You started by focusing on what you didn’t like about yourself and tried to “fix” it with makeup. Getting ready involved a ton of products and a lot of time. Instead of looking like yourself, it looked artificial. I think a lot of women started to feel like they weren’t beautiful unless they had lots of makeup on. My approach to beauty was the total opposite. Makeup should be about celebrating—not altering—a woman’s features. This is one of the reasons I started Bobbi Brown.
Today contouring is having a serious moment—it’s everywhere. Because I’ve always been more about a less is more approach, people love to ask me about it. I am always quick to say why I don’t like it, but I do have to acknowledge that for some women the major transformation of serious makeup is what gives them a confidence boost and that’s great. To me, makeup has always been about making women feel like their best, most confident selves. For some women, contouring is going to be that route. There is a reason women crave a contoured look, it’s dramatic and sexy. But, I think there’s an easier, more natural way to do it—here’s how:
I think round faces are beautiful, but if you want to thin out the face you can do it using simple highlighting. Apply a cream blush high on the cheek bone and add a highlighter to the top of the cheekbone. This will make the face appear thinner—I call it a makeup facelift.
Use a natural toned bronzing powder one shade warmer than your complexion to add warmth to a pale neck or to make the neck appear thinner.
When people think of contouring, they assume it just means accentuating the cheekbones, but you can use highlighter on top of the cheekbone, under brow, and at the inner corner of eye to accentuate your facial structure and brighten the face.
Eye shadow is often used to contour the eyes if you want to add depth. Instead of using a very dark color and blending it down, you just need an eye shadow two shades darker than your natural lid color—this looks more natural. This way, you add more depth as opposed to starting dark and trying to blend to make it lighter.
To me, makeup has always been about making women feel like their best, most confident selves—it’s about embracing and enhancing your natural features, not editing them. Instead of trying to change how you look, remember to be who you are. This will be you at your most beautiful.
If you want to watch me demonstrating some of the above techniques, check out my appearance on Good Morning America here.