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Photo: Imax tree

: What are the best products for contouring?

Answer: Before sharing which products are best for contouring, it’s important to understand how to create this highly sought-after look:

The purpose of contouring is to create shadows in certain areas of your face, which in turn helps to sculpt and define. Contour should be applied on your cheek bones, temples, top right and left of your forehead, just underneath your jawline, and on the sides of your nose. If you have a long or pronounced nose, contour the tip of your nose and it’ll appear smaller.

Another important component of contouring: blending. Blend, blend, and blend some more every time you contour. Those harsh lines that you create need to be softened to help you look more natural (rather than puppet-like).

It’s also important to choose the right shade for your skin tone–contouring colors are not a one-color-fits-all kind of deal, so follow the same rules you would with your foundation and pay attention to the undertones of your skin. For example, if you have fair skin with red undertones, you’ll want to avoid anything with yellow undertones, as you’ll look too orange-y and the contouring effect will be lost.

For application on your cheeks, forehead, and jawline, use a brush specifically made for contouring such as the Pro Contour Brush by Sephora. For your nose, you’ll need a smaller, firm brush such as the Pro Shader Brush also by Sephora.

Now, on to the products:

If cream formulas are more your thing, try the Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Palette . This palette comes with 5 different shades of concealer in 3 different sets, so matching your perfect shade is a cinch. Colored concealers can be used for contouring because they blend well and offer the perfect amount of pigment.

For those of you who are powder buffs (no pun intended), try the Hoola Bronzer by Benefit Cosmetics. The saleswoman at Sephora described this powder to me as being “grayscale”, which is perfect because there are no orange-y undertones, but rather a natural shadow that works on most complexions. This powder also comes with a slim, rectangular brush that’s absolutely perfect for contouring — it allows you to easily buff on a line into the hallows of your cheeks for more defined cheekbones.

Lastly, always remember to apply even just the slightest amount of blush when you’re done contouring. It’ll give your cheeks a natural flush that will balance out the shadows of the contour makeup. I suggest the Sephora Double Contouring Cream Blush for a soft, rosey glow.

Do you have any favorite products to use for contouring? Please share!