Beauty = Contouring: AAARGGHHH!


Post by AF Beauty


If you go anywhere near Pinterest it is easy to get caught up in make up trends which, of course, look pathetically easy. They show a few before and after pictures, nothing looks that difficult and quite probably you’ll find yourself in the nearest beauty store looking for the next gizmo that you’ve seen in an effort to replicate this easy fix on your face.

Cue contouring.

Contouring. Scared and Hopeless? (i.e. me)


I had seen this on Pinterest, the before and after pictures were impressive, it was just a little bit of powder here and there; et voila!

Australis AC ON TOUR Kit 21g PricelinePriceline

I had originally only seen this done with powder and this Australis palette was one of the ones recommended in the Australian market. I bought a slanted contouring brush, cracked open the palette, dipped and swiped across my face. THE HORROR!!! I’d completely underestimated how pigmented the powder is and I looked like I’d swiped my face in dirt!! No question though, this is my (lack of) skill, not the palette!

Dutifully, I went back to Pinterest, tried to give it another go, several times and then eventually just gave up and accepted my complete ineptitude.

Fast forward 12 months – maybe more. A group I belong to on Facebook and there’s a thread about contouring. I always read these things in a vague hope of finding some miracle answer. This one has a video, I often can’t be bothered to watch the videos, but I did, and I’m so glad I did!! Here’s the link for anyone interested – else skip to my experience…

Illamasqua Shadow ContourIllamasqua

The video recommends a Illamasqua Shadow Contour and a MAC highlight. I can’t find the exact colour on the MAC website, sorry.

MAC Cream Color Base in Pearl MakeUpAlleyMakeUpAlley

I dutifully toddled off to Myer to look at both products but the Illamasqua contour didn’t appeal, so I went off to find an alternative. I knew by then I wanted a cream rather than a powder – I was already looking at MAC, for the highlighter but they had no obvious contour product. Wandering around the store I went and tried the Clinique and tried the Sculpting Contour Stick which actually worked surprisingly well. So I bought the Clinique stick and the MAC highlighter and skipped home to try the daytime contouring look. I basically followed the instructions in the video and….. IT WORKED!!!

I have to admit, I am still working on the different locations of shadow and highlighter and trying different combos. It is easy to start applying and think that your face just looks like a dirty mess – but persist!!! Don’t get caught up in the small detail on your face, it’s the bigger picture, how your whole face looks that’s important.

I used a foundation brush to apply the bronzer the first time but since travelling I’ve continued with just some fingers to guide the application for both bronzer and highlighter.

I have to say, I’ve really converted to this look and now feel a little ‘underdone’ when not applied some contour to my face. It has been a real turnaround.

Have any of you tried contouring? How have you gotten on? What about other make up disasters? Any that have come good eventually?

12 thoughts on “Beauty = Contouring: AAARGGHHH!

  1. Contouring is great in photos but really hard to pull off in real life. It’s, as you found, so easy to screw up. A lot of the products are just too dark for paler skin tones. When I did makeup in the salon I would use regular pressed powders or foundations that were a shade or two darker than the skin instead of actually “contouring” products. I was able to get a look that was more subtle and shadowed and not the dirt streaks that a lot of people end up with. Subtle works better in real life I think. In pictures though the dark dirty streaks do often read as contours and shadows. Either way, it does take some practice to get it right.


    • Yes!! I completely agree, that was my failing I think, all the stuff I had seen showing how contouring worked made it look very contrasty and dramatic – the success came with the much lighter touch – you’d barely notice it on me now. It’s interesting also what you say about lighter skin tones – I am presently quite tanned on my face, so it will be interesting to see how my application needs to change to accommodate return to paler shades.


  2. Hey Alice,
    Obviously my contouring is WAY more heavy duty than yours. I do it all with my foundation and powder over the top to set and seal with a lightly opaque loose powder.
    It’s half the fun of putting make up on for me.
    Portia xx


      • Yes, 4 different panstick shades. Come over one day and watch the transformation. Maybe we should take pics and you can do a piece?
        Portia xx


  3. Hi AF,
    Since about 2008 I’ve been using IT cosmetics contour pallet (powder). I’ve tried similar and newer contouring products but this one still works the best for me. The colors in this product are dramatic so a light hand and the right brush are very important. Too much can give me a beard or simply a dirty face. I use a small, short kabuki that I squish together for contouring around the chin and neck. Lately, for daily wear, I have been using BB cushions in various shades. I don’t get as much definition this way but the result is more natural looking.
    Azar xx


    • Yes I learned the hard way about a light touch! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I don’t have a kabuki brush, one of the few I’ve never bought, but I can see it could be effective.

      I also like the BB cushions – nice effect.


  4. Hiya,

    I have tried to follow the videos, and failed miserably at both ‘smoky eyes’ and ‘contouring’. But I’d still like to improve my overall foundation technique – thank for the inspiration, will give it another try. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tina G xx


    • Hey Tina, have you tried the video in this link? I found it a lot easier than others I’d watched or picture stories I’d seen.

      I think the right products (and by right I mean the ones you are most comfortable using) are important to get a result you’re happy with. Happy to do a trial session – I have powder and now some cream options to try – if you’re free one weekend?


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