Fun fact: contouring was a technique used by drag queens before you ever saw it on your favorite celebrity or influencer. It’s a great way to add definition, or even change your face structure using light and shadow. We’re all used to the ‘regular’ way to contour: you start with foundation, then go in with concealer and creams or powders to contour and highlight. While that works well, theres a technique many celebrity makeup artists use that I tried out recently called reverse contouring.
Reverse contouring is basically contouring your regular way – but in reverse. You start with concealer and contour cream, then go in on top with your foundation. It’s best to use creams with this technique for a seamless blend as you buff it out and for a smoother finish with your foundation.
HIGHLIGHT: Use a concealer shade 2-3 shades lighter than your skin tone and apply it in all the places you would normally highlight – under your eyes, forehead, bridge of nose, upper lip, and chin. Starting with highlight makes it easier to see where you should add the shadows.
CONTOUR: You’ll want to use a shade darker than your normal contour shade so all the work you’ve done shows through the foundation. Apply contour to emphasize your cheek bones, around the perimeter of your forehead, sides of your nose, and jawline.
FOUNDATION: Use a beauty sponge and your normal shade of foundation. Start by applying it around the contour. As you have less product on your sponge, start to lightly bounce closer to the contoured areas, and eventually over them to get a flawless blend.
POWDER: Apply a translucent powder on all the areas you highlighted. You can even bake if you have oily skin. Use your normal contour powder to lightly go over the areas you contoured. Lastly, I like to use Becca’s Soft Light Blurring Powder very lightly all over my face to merry everything together (this isn’t necessary, but I personally think it ties everything together).
This technique is definitely not for every day makeup, but it creates a beautiful finish for an event or a photoshoot. Contouring before foundation makes the skin look more natural, almost as if that definition is coming from within. Reverse contouring helps create a more elevated look, and it’s something I think I’ll incorporate more into my makeup routine – personally and for clients.