Common Contouring Mistakes--And How To Fix Them

Thanks to the Kardashians, contouring has become one of the biggest makeup trends in years. It’s easy to see why: when done properly, contouring can accentuate your best features and mask “problem” areas you may dislike. Although contouring has many benefits, it’s also easy to botch. And when it’s bad, it’s bad. It’s not hard to spot cases of contouring gone wrong. Here are the five biggest mistakes people make when contouring and how to avoid them:
  • You’re not blending enough: This is the biggest contouring mistake you can make. If you can see stripes of bronzer on your face, you’ve done something wrong. When in doubt, keep blending.
  • You’re using the wrong formula: Both cream and powder contour products have their benefits. However, you need to pick the product that works best for your skill set. If you’re a makeup newbie, powder products are easier to master because they are easier to blend. Start out with a powder contour set, like the Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette ($46).  Powder products are also less extreme and allow you to slowly build up the intensity. Cream products work best with a full face of makeup, but beware of looking unnatural. Another good rule is to pick the type of product that works best with your skin type. Powder products tend to accentuate dry patches, so opt for a cream formula for a more dewy look. If you have oily skin, powder formulas are your best option because they will keep your skin matte.
  • You’re not using the right brush: If you want to mater contouring, you need to invest in the right tools. Using any old makeup brush won’t work. Contouring brushes are usually thinner and angled. According Allure, you want to pick a brush with loose bristles, so you pick up less powder, creating a more subtle and natural look. For cream contouring, use a beautyblender to apply the product and blend, blend, blend.
  • You’re using too much shimmer: Never use a shimmery bronzer to contour. Your contouring product should always be matte. Try a product like the Charlotte Tilbury ‘Filmstar Bronze & Glow’ Face Sculpt & Highlight ($68). Use the matte bronzer to create definition, and then use the shimmery product to highlight the features you want to accentuate (like your cheek bones). Check out our beginner’s guide to contouring for more tips.
  • You’re using the wrong color: If you think you can just use your everyday bronzer to contour, think again. Makeup artist Molly Leahy explained it best in our Beginner’s Guide to Contouring, “A true contour color should be a cool taupe brown (or deeper cool brown if you have darker skin) because a contour is meant to mimic the shadows of your face which have cool undertones.” Check out more of Molly’s tips here.

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