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A Beginner’s Guide To Bronzers and Contouring

We asked a makeup artist and everything.

Bronzers and contouring only became a part of our lives in the recent years – thanks Kardashians! – and now that we have them, we wonder how we’ve ever lived without them. With just a few simple strokes, those of us born without an Olivier Rousteing-level facial bone structure (yours truly!) suddenly realise that we CAN have defined cheekbones and jawlines. Oh, the joy, the joy!

But, like nailing that perfect cat eye, contouring can be tricky. It’s not rocket science, but it’s like, you know, close. Put on too little and no one can see a thing. Put on too much and you look like you have two rectangles at the sides of your face. Not cute. The last thing you want is for someone to call you out on your horrible bronzer blending skills. I’ve been there and it’s not a road I want to ever go down again.

To give all you bronzer beginners a boost (try saying that five times), we roped in our pal and makeup artist to the stars, Shaun Lee. Here, he reveals his go-to products, the easiest way to contour and the correct shade for your skin tone. He also answers the age-old question: powder or liquid? Take copious notes!


What are some of your favourite contouring products to use on your clients?
NARS’s Bronzing Powder in Casino, Cle de Peau’s Bronzing Powder Duo, Diorblush Sculpt and MAC’s All The Right Angles Contour Palette.


What would you recommend for contouring beginners?
I have been using NARS’s Bronzing Powder for a long time. They have a range of shades to match different skin tones.


Which is better: liquid, cream or powder?
For tropical climates, I’d recommend powder-based blushes and bronzers.


What is the easiest way to contour for people who want maximum effect with minimum effort?
It really depends on your face shape. Which part of your face do you want to sculpt or pop? The easiest way is to apply along the jawline and on top of the forehead to create a 3D effect on your face.


Which is better: bronzer on or under the cheekbones?
For the basics, you can apply a darker shade or a sculpting powder under the cheekbone and a light bronzer on the cheekbone.


Brush or sponge?
A brush is easier to control for beginners. Always use a big brush so it’s not so blotchy.


What are some of the common contouring mistakes?
The biggest mistake is to take shortcuts, like applying too dark a shade, too thick a coat or a single coat of dark colour. The right shade should be two shades darker than your foundation.


Image: Getty

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