I know, I know, it’s about time I did an About Face post. Well, here it goes. While contouring has been a thing that we’ve noticed on celebrities and makeup artists for the most part, it’s now becoming something that just about every beauty girl is doing. I remember when I was first learning about contouring so I bought a Cover Fx Total Cover Cream Foundation two shades darker than my natural shade and and benefit’s Watt’s Up! highlighting stick. Truth be told, I kind of played with them. I so placed the CoverFx foundation right under my cheekbones and the perimeter of my face. I dabbed a little bit of the highlighting stick under my brows and on my cheeks, used a regular powder brush and blended…and blended…and blended until my face looked like a muddy mess. I was definitely doing something wrong so I decided to just quit while I was ahead and stick to my regular makeup routine – medium coverage foundation, eyeliner, blush, and lots of mascara. That was last year. This year, I was intrigued by the number of makeup palettes dedicated to contouring. I decided that it was time to try this again. This time, I watched videos and really understood that face shape was really in order to achieve that perfect highlight/lowlight combo. I have an oval shaped face with defined cheekbones. First things first – start with a primer and then apply your usual foundation before you start contouring, otherwise you’ll be a blotchy mess. Got it – good. Now let’s get right into it. The first palette that I bought was the Cover FX Contour Kit. Clearly, I’m a huge fan of the brand. I used to use their cream foundation during the cooler months and I am an avid user of their blot powder and mattifying primer. What I love about Cover FX is that they always have a wide range of shades so that every skin tone is covered. The palette that works best for my skin tone is N Deep. The kit comes with three cream foundation shades and a soft shimmer highlighting shade that to compliment the highlight and contour shades. The first shade is two to three shades that lighter than my regular shade, the second shade is a tad lighter than my usual shade but with a dab of the third shade matches my squinting exactly, and the third shade is three shades darker than my actual shade to provide me with a deep contour. The shimmer shade (called candlelight) falls between the first and the second shade with added shimmer. The kit also comes with an instruction sheet that outlines exactly how to place each shade to contour and highlight. You can also purchase the Cover FX Double Ended Contour Brush to place and blend. I bought the brush – it’s great for placing, but I was not impressed with the blending. When I used this palette it was during the day so I didn’t want to use anything with shimmer. I highlighted with Shade 1 N60 (between my brows, above my brows and cheeks) and used Shade 3 N90 for my contours (perimeter of my face, under my cheekbones, sides of my nose, cupid’s bow and chin). The second palette I bought was the Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette. This will probably be my go-to contour palette during the warmer months. It is a powder formula with three highlighting shades and three contour shades. What I like about this palette is that it’s really universal. It works well for all skin tones and the contour shades double as foundation shades on darker skin. The highlighter shades also work well. At first I thought that the shades would be too light but then I found a trick. I mixed the highlighter shades with the lightest contour shade and effectively created my own custom highlighter. Kat Von D also has a special Shade + Light Contour Brush, but again it’s not necessary. I tried it while at Sephora, and it’s funny because with this brush I think it’s great for blending but not for placing.
Now, let’s talk about the brushes. Both the CoverFx Double Ended Contour Brush and the Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Brush are $38 each. In the world of prestige makeup tools, that price is about right but the truth is whether or not it is really worth the money. My answer to that is no. In my opinion only one end on either of these dual ended brushes really worked well with the kit that it is matched to. With that being said it would cost you $72 to get the right brush combo. Well that’s just crazy. I found a solution. I headed out to e.l.f .cosmetics store in Soho (if you haven’t been there, you need to go like tomorrow, or right after you read this post). e.l.f .cosmetics is known for their incredibly affordable makeup and makeup tools. Some of the makeup products are great, and some of them – eh, not so much. The brushes – they’re GREAT! The price range – FAN-FREAKIN’-TASTIC! Each brush will run anywhere between $3-$10 each. For less than the price of the Kat Von D or the Cover FX brush, I picked up five brushes that cover everything from foundation, to setting powder. Whatever foundation formulation you use, the Mineral Powder Foundation Brush is comparable to the SEPHORA COLLECTION Classic Multitasker Powder Brush #45 which can be used with any foundation formulation at a fraction of the cost. The Small Tapered Brush is essentially a combination of Kat Von D Shade + Light and the Cover FX small end of their contour brushes so it works well with any the contouring formulations to precisely place your highlight. The Contour Brush is perfect – it’s wide and flat surface allows you to place your contour shade with one stroke. The Ultimate Blending Brush is a dream. The tightly packed, medium length bristles glide effortlessly to buff your contours and highlight without any blotching or streaks. Now that you have completely mastered the contour look, the next step would be to apply your setting powder. Cue in the Ultimate Kabuki Brush. Wide and flat and easy to hold in your hand, it’s kind of a knock off of Becca Cosmetics The One Perfecting Brush at a quarter of the price (only $10 as supposed to $49). Two to four quick sweeps across the face and your all done.
Well there you have it ladies, soft contouring that’s totally work appropriate.