Contouring has been the in makeup trend these last few years thanks to Kim Kardashian West. Who doesn’t want to minimize features they don’t like about themselves and play up the ones you do. Contouring is like spanx for your face, it is absolute magic if done right. Strobbing tried to replace contouring for a while, but eventually faded, and contouring is still going strong. I will personally never give up contouring. I will be 80 years old still contouring, probably my jowls and raise those cheekbones. I don’t have a problem with my looks where I feel the need to change myself or depend on makeup. I use contouring, and makeup in general, to enhance what I am already working with. Unfortunately what I am working with are chubby cheeks, a big nose, and a weak chin. Contouring fixes all my “problem” areas. The secret to contouring is to not to look contoured. This can be hard when you are extremely pale like myself. I am going to share what I’ve learned over the last few years for how to tweak contouring to work for me, when there are no products on the market made for my coloring.
Contouring is playing up highlights and shadows on the face or anywhere using a shade 2 levels lighter than our base, and 2 levels darker than your base. You do need both shades, not just lighter or darker. It is essential to have both to blend them together and create the most natural chiseled look that matches perfectly.
Contour products on the market come in cream and powder kits. It really is a matter of preference for which one you choose. Many people say the powder is easier for a novice makeup user. Contouring is considered a bit of an advanced makeup technique so being simple to use is a must for most makeup users.
The places you want to play up or highlight is where you place the light color. The places you want to minimize you place the dark color to create the illusion of a shadow. You are actually placing the light in the area your face creates a natural shadow and placing a faux shadow beneath your natural shadow. It really is like facial shape manipulation.
If you just want to use a bronzer to contour before investing in a contour kit, make sure to stick to a matte shade and avoid shimmer and sparkles.
The secret to contouring is to blend blend blend!
So when I first ventured into the magical world of contouring armed with the basic knowledge, I ran into a major problem. I am the lightest foundation shade with every single makeup company. Often times, the lightest shade is still too dark on my pale skin. I went out in search of my highlight shade and realized how am I supposed to use a shade 2 levels higher when I am already the lightest shade available?!? Well unfortunately I don’t have the answer you are looking for, but I do have my tips and techniques I’ve learned through personal trial and tribulation.
Always use the lightest concealer (like Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly) to try and highlight with before. The key word here is try. You will get maybe 0.5 - 1 level higher, but nowhere near 2.
Beauty Guru Mykie (Glam&Gore) recommends using actually white face paint makeup to highlight. I avoid this to not look even more like a corpse, but have a similar alternative coming up.
When I first started contouring and couldn’t find shades that worked with my skin, I used a light cream and taupe colored eyeshadows to highlight and contour with.
For my cheekbones, after highlighting with the concealer, I take the lightest cream color from contour kits and the tiniest bit of the yellow banana powder to set my under eyes and try to brighten my eternal black eyes. I am too pale for banana powder alone so mix it with the cream to dilute it.
Try to stick to light to cool toned contours for us pale girls. Taupe shades are a really great color to look for. Either way we will have a bronzed look added even with the cool shades, so avoid anything that will look extra orange.
Word of advice though, if you go too cool or gray ish you can look even more like an ashen corpse. It is a tough life for us fair skinned glam’s trying to contour in a world with no products for us.
BLEND BLEND BLEND! The key to a good contour is for it to look natural and not like you have stripes on your face or a big faux lamb chop sideburn/5 o’clock shadow. Blend your contour on your cheeks up into the cheekbone instead of down. If you go too low… well you already know.
Kat Von D Shade and Light Contour Palette is more pale girl friendly than most powder contour kits on the market.
City Color Cosmetics Contour Effects 2 Palette is also very cool toned pale girl friendly kit on the market. Avoid the contour shade all together and use the bronzer shade to contour with.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit in Fair. So this contour kit is your best bet color wise for us pale ladies. I put it down below here because it is a cream kit instead of powder. Some people have stated cream kits are harder to use. This kit has very very light shades and a white ish shade for highlighting. The shades are:
Fair - Pure sand
Fawn - Café latte
Lustre - Sheer porcelain
Mink - Toasted almond
Shadow - Caramel latte
Soft Light - Pale peach
Last but not least, is for us ultra fair women, I prefer frosted shimmering highlight shades to layer on top of the initial color highlight. I find this to be one of the most helpful tips. There are many more options available for us to use here. I prefer Becca Pressed Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone.
I hope this has helped any other pale girls struggling to conquer advanced techniques in the makeup world. It is unfortunate that in 2016 on both ends of the spectrum, there still isn’t color options for not only pale women like myself, but also for women of color. As a makeup artist when building a kit, it is recommended to not buy every foundation shade, but to get every other shade and from there you can custom mix to create any shade possible. How are we supposed to create and produce shades for the ultra pale girls that all have different undertones, to darker women of color who also have different undertones, when we don’t have shades light/dark enough?
The makeup industry is constantly evolving and improving. The latest being most brands switching to being cruelty free after outcry from a more aware generation. For decades we have been waiting for the makeup industry to diversify in terms of color options. I hope more awareness is brought to the limited color ranges available in makeup. Typically when it comes to foundation shades for women of color, there are anywhere from 2-4 shades available. That is absolute bull shit. This issue doesn’t affect me directly but I do believe in equality, and if there are 20+ shades available for lighter skinned women and only 2 to cover the full range of darker women. If enough people draw attention to this issue, hopefully the makeup companies will be forced to include more color options.
If you liked this article, please comment and subscribe below! Please also share it with your friends, family, or any pale girl in your life. Let me know if you have any specific tips you’ve tried that you want me to try out in terms of contouring for pale ladies. Let me know if you want “A Pale Girl’s Guide” series. Alright, I hope you enjoyed the new direction I am going with Glitterati Glamour Beauty. Thank you to my Glam Fam for your continued support. Stay Golden XOXO.