Contouring Tips for a Natural Summer Look

A light, natural finish is the go to look for summer as makeup can get destroyed by sweat and oil. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up contouring and defining your proudest features! Here are some tips for light yet effective contouring for a natural summer look.

Why shouldn’t I contour as usual?

Conventional contouring requires another layer of product on your face – creating opportunities for caking and turning your face into a sweating palette of colours. It’s also important to understand that in most cases, contouring requires professional static lighting to work (read on to learn more about light theory!). This means in natural and changing light, when you’re enjoying the summer outdoors, conventional contouring will look awkward most of the time!

Celebrities have multiple lights and reflectors that follow them outside of the camera lens. And even they can get it wrong sometimes…

Choose a shade that represents a natural highlight or shadow

The shade and finish of the contour is critical to a flawless look because your features naturally attract light and cast shadows. Usually this means avoiding anything with shimmers (for the highlight) and warm tones (such as bronzers for the contour). Choose matte contour shades that is one shade lighter or darker, as close to the look of a natural light / shadow on your face as possible.

A good contour doesn’t even have to a dedicated contouring product!

MAC Eye Shadow (Wedge)

Even if you managed to choose the right shade, it’s still incredibly important to layer and blend! Less is more, slowly build the colours to get the desired effect and smooth out any rough edges.

Now some of you might ask:

But what is the desired effect? How to create highlights and shadows that complement my facial features?

Light Theory

Light theory is not complicated! Having a basic understanding of light theory can help you ditch the contouring guides and create your own customized look. The below materials are drawn from the Art Instruction Blog.

I’ve never quite figured these out! What if my face is half rectangle and half round?!

Chiaroscuro, the concept of light and darkness, is what light theory is all about. Light and shadows, and how the human eye conceives objects. Here are 2 concepts that are most useful for contouring.

Contrast

The same colour looks lighter or darker depending on the background it is set in.

It’s not just about the perfect highlight/contouring shade your favourite beauty blogger recommends, but what looks the best on YOUR skin.

Intuitive Space

Intuitive space refers to the ability of artists to create depth from 2D drawings. That’s how some sketches look deceivingly real and how you can create convincing features.

The key, is to study how light interact with objects and create shadows.

Obviously you won’t have to go take an art class for everyday contouring. But it’s beneficial to stress that shadows are different. Some are solid, others are fuzzier and have less defined edges. Think about what you want your features to look like and what type of shadows it will create.

Enough theory!

PONY is a korean professional makeup artist with amazing makeup tips. Check out her video on contouring and see all these tips in action!

Used in the video: Play 101 Stick.