Belfast Telegraph

Make-up masterclass: 5 top tips for perfect contouring

Paddy McGurgan is one of NI's best-known beauty experts and each week he tells you everything you need to know about the latest make-up techniques

By Paddy McGurgan

Long before Kim Kardashian and Make-up by Mario hit the headlines, contouring has always been a make-up artist's best friend.

Used as far back as the 16th century, it has evolved to be a highly sought after technique. So here are the 21st century products and know-how you need to make it work for you.

Cream dream

Cream contouring is fantastic when you need heavier coverage or want to create a more sculpted contour on the skin. If you have dry or mature skin, I also suggest you try cream bronzers.

Pro Tip: Apply a cream-based bronzer immediately after liquid foundation for a more natural finish. Dip a flat foundation brush into the cream bronzer and create a line starting under the cheekbone and working upward toward the ear. Use a buff brush or beauty blender to blend it in. Apply the bronzer to the forehead, along the hairline (make sure to blend it right up to the hairline so there aren't any visible lines or streaking) and jawline, finishing on both sides of the nose with a concealer brush. Now, blend, blend, blend!

Two of my favourite cream contour palettes are the SoSue Me Cream Contour Palette, £24.95 (Gordons Chemist) and e.l.f. Cream Contour Palette, £7.99. Rich and moisturising, they go well with fair, medium or dark skin tones.

Powder power

Powder bronzer is my favourite way to sculpt and define the face and is traditionally applied with an angled or tapered powder bronzer brush. When using a powder solution, make sure to tap off any excess product from the brush.

The main areas to focus on are your temple, then under the cheekbone, and along the jawline - this gives the illusion of symmetry and slimness.

My all-time hero bronzer is Illamasqua Pressed Foundation in shade 240 which costs £30 (Make up Pro Store). Another good buy - and cheaper one - is Bourjois Bronzing Powder Tanned in shade 52 at £7.99. Perfect shades for night-time clients, these glide onto the skin and give full definition.

Love liquid

Liquid bronzers are easy to work with...once you get the hang of them. I use liquid bronzers on clients who want to have a naturally contoured appearance.

Liquid bronzer is great as it almost melts into the skin, is easily blended and sits well on top of textured skin so works well for those with acne, rosacea or eczema. Try Barry M In the Glow Body Oil Liquid Bronzer, £7.99. (Superdrug) or Make up Atelier FLV2 Illuminating Primer, £22.50.

A word of caution - use small amounts as a little goes a long way.

5 top tips for perfect contouring:

1. For a sharper contour use your foundation product and brush and buff around the edges of where you have placed your contour, this will add extra definition

2. Be careful when choosing your shade - opt for a cool-toned contour as you want to create a shadow-like effect on the cheekbones so the shade needs to blend into the skin and not stand out. If you go for too orange a tone, you will end up highlighting the skin as opposed to getting definition.

3. When placing your bronzer product on the skin, start at the middle of the ear and do not go any further than the outer corner of the eye, to create a natural bone structure.

4. Try to keep your liquid products together and your powders together. In other words apply all your liquids to the skin together, i.e. liquid primer, liquid concealer and liquid foundation. Then apply all your powder products together, i.e. setting powder and bronzer blusher. This will prevent your make-up from turning ash-like and splitting which can happen when powder and liquid are mixed.

5. Finally, look at your own face shape. There is no one size fits all so ensure your bronzer enhances your features. The whole idea behind contouring is make the face look as symmetrical and oval as possible, so tailor your bronzing to your own face shape.

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