Contouring as a makeup technique is nothing new: artists like Kevyn Aucoin were championing it back in the 80s, it’s been quietly gaining momentum in the blogosphere in the last couple of years and where product availability had previously been very artistry-led, products like Tom Ford’s Contour and Illuminate and Sleek’s Contour Kit all point to the fact that consumer brands are on board with real women’s increasing adoption of the technique.
But arguably it was when Kim Kardashian Instagrammed that snap of her makeup artist Scott Barnes’ secret recipe for her contour and highlight routine that the not-in-the-makeup-know sat up and took a lot more notice. Suddenly, contouring is everywhere, and perhaps it’s really got to the time when we’ve also maybe got to say a little something about it.
A bit like that Portlandia sketch where Carrie and Fred “put a bird on it,” no, putting a frigging contour on it won’t actually make your makeup or face shape better just becuase you’ve suddenly drawn a brown stripe down your face and then attempted to blend it out. I mean why would it, particularly if you’ve got no cheekbones in the first place, or you’re a certain age and it’s all gone a bit south?
This seems to be the first cruel truth of Contour Club: we don’t talk about how stupid Contour Club makes us look if we have a moon face. And we definitely don’t talk about how you really can’t draw back in cheekbones if you have Deputy Dawg jowls. Sigh.
Contouring (a bit like the demon curse that is Spanx) is grand if you’ve got a good foundation there in the first place – like Kim K. She has smooth planes to her face, great cheekbones, a taut chin, large expressive eyes and basically lots to work with. Much in the way that Spanx is effective if you’re actually already slim but just want to wear a clingy dress, it’ll give you a nice smooth shilouette. This going down a size lark? My arse. Spanx make you look like a stout barrel and you can’t go for a wee.
Plus, if you’ve ever actually given contouring a go, you’ll know how heavy-handed with product you have to be in order to actually get an effect in the first place. Sure, Kim always looks amazingly flawless in pictures but I reckon it’s a super heavy-looking makeup result in real life.
And I betcha I know how that’d end up looking on the majority of us mere mortals…
How’re yeh Boy George. No, we’re grand for contouring tips, thanks very much. No, no, really. I mean, who thinks stripes of half-blended faked-on cheekbones and a pretendy drawn-in chin look good. Or convincing? No one, that’s who.
Well, possibly Stevie Wonder.
Frillseekers, I rest my case.