Beauty Trend: Contouring

Bluntly put: Contouring is complicated. With just one swoosh of the blush brush, it can go incredibly wrong. Like Lindsay Lohan courtroom wrong. Even Melanie Inglessis — the makeup artist who has a hand in sculpting Olivia Wilde’s ah-mazing cheekbones — admits that faking cheekbones can be quite that challenge. But the effort is worth it. “A contoured cheek can make the face look lifted and more defined,” she says during our recent chat. “I can shade the neck to create a stronger jaw or along the nose to slim it.” In a nutshell, its like plastic surgery that everyone can afford. It’s a fast flaw-fixer.

Melanie was kind enough to share with us her tips that she uses on all of her clients (Lea Michele, Kate Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Rooney Mara – just to name a few).

Step 1: Look straight ahead in a mirror and suck in your cheeks (think fish face). Where your cheeks are sunken is where you will apply color.  

Step 2: Use a small-sized angled blush brush to apply a powder or cream bronzer two shades darker than your skin tone in a straight line under each cheekbone.

Step 3. From there, it’s all about the blending. Diffuse the color by buffing up toward the hairline until there are no harsh lines. It should be soft enough to look like a shadow.

Not surprisingly, Melanie thinks that some women can benefit from this technique more than others. “Women with rounder faces can use contouring to ‘cut’ through the face to create a more defined look.”  On the other end of the spectrum, if you have pronounced cheekbones, instead of working with bronzer, “use highlighter or a light pink shimmery blush” to emphasis their shape. Apply it to the high points of your face — along the top of cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose and across the forehead — for a more subtle effect. This trick can also be used by those who think contouring will leave them looking like they just finished a Tough Mudder.

For more of Melanie’s tricks — and her go-to products — check out the gallery below and you’ll be one step closer to that bone structure you wish you were born with.