If you have the cheekbones of a Roman goddess then woo good for you. Congratulations on your genetic good fortune! But if you're like me with a round face and chubby cheeks then contouring may be the best thing to slim down and/or define your face.
I'm not saying that you should hate yourself because your face is wide and/or fat. In fact you shouldn't hate yourself for anything you have or don't have if you are to be happy and productive! I for one love my face as it is, but sometimes when I'm off to special occasions I prefer a little bit of definition - for photos, more than anything. I look different in photos than I do in person, so I want to even out the odds in favor of getting a flattering shot. It's not like you can ask a blog or publication to delete a photo of myself just because I look muy terrible!
I have the impression that most girls in the Philippines aren't into contouring. Blush yes, but not contour. I can think of only three reasons this is so. Do you believe in these yourself? Here are three contouring myths that may be intimidating you - and why you shouldn't be at all!
"Contouring will make me look more tan." Bronzing can give you a tanned glow, but contour powders are usually matte and must be applied only on very specific areas of the face. They should only go on the cheekbones, temples, side of the nose, and jawline. If done correctly it shouldn't actually make your face look darker or your complexion, muddy!
Our country is very much into whitening so people might be thinking that contouring will defeat the purpose of trying to be fairer. It won't if you do it right.
"It looks too unnatural!" The trick to contouring correctly is to use as little product as possible per layer. Just build up the layers according to the intensity you're most comfortable with. If you plan to contour for everyday activities, a light touch is enough to define your face. If you're going to an evening shindig then it should be about two times heavier than what you would normally go for.
Still, the best contour is the kind where people don't actually notice it. Yes, it is very much possible. Use a powder that isn't overly orange or tan. You're looking for one that's matte and just about two shades darker than your skin color. Foundations are excellent contour powders! They have a skin finish and stay put better. I also highly recommend MAC Blush in Harmony, NARS Laguna Bronzer and Benefit Hoola - use these sparingly.
"It's way difficult for a makeup newbie! I don't want to mess it up, ergo I won't try it at all." If you know how to blush then girl, you know how to contour. You don't even need a special brush to get that perfect definition! Use your fluffy powder brush for a very diffused finished (barely there). If you want more shape, then just use your favorite blush brush. It's really not more complicated than using blush! Just bounce the brush on your face (as opposed to swiping and rubbing) and blend the edges carefully to get a natural finish.
Once you find out where you should be putting the contour powder then you're all set. Different faces have different ideal places for contouring (watch this Lisa Eldridge video for a more in-depth tutorial). But a quick way to find out is this: stand under a light then watch where the shadows form on your face. That should usually be on the hollows of the cheeks. Just look straight, contour where the shadows fall, and you'll be alright. :)
So there you go. I hope this encouraged you to try contouring more (if you aren't already doing it)!