Contouring after 40 — should you do it?
Contouring promises to ‘reshape’ and define your facial features. Want your cheekbones to look more prominent, your forehead to look less square, or your round face to seem longer? Some beauty experts will tell you that facial contouring is your answer.
Contouring works its magic by using darker shapes of make-up to emphasize or de-demphasize your features. Typically, if you are contouring, you are also highlighting, or using lighter make-up to mimic an “under the lights” look on the top of your nose, chin and above your cheekbones.
Have you heard of painted-on abs? Well, facial contouring is like that, but for your face.
The Promise of Contouring after 40
The idea of chiseled, refined facial features is compelling, particularly for the older women. After all, we 40-somethings (and up) are coping with the natural loss of facial definition that happens with age. We are presented with many solutions for aging — from surgery to serums — but contouring is one of few that’s both instant and temporary.
Contouring Gone Wrong
Even so, facial contouring is controversial. Bobbi Brown says no to contouring at any age, and she makes two solid points. For one, most of us aren’t as skilled in makeup application as the professionals. So chances are, our contouring efforts aren’t going to come off that great.
Even celebrities, who have their own glam teams, can experience huge contouring fails. Just take a look at StyleBlazer’s hilarious collection of contouring mishaps.
Brown’s second anti-contouring point is even more compelling: There’s nothing wrong with the shape of your face, so why try to change it with make-up? Heavy stuff, I know. I mean, who decided that prominent cheekbones are the standard of beauty anyway?
My Contouring Experiment
I’ve never tried contouring, mostly because I’ve been indifferent about it. I don’t *love* for the look of contouring. The other-wordly glow and sunken cheeks are perhaps stunning under the right lights, but outside, in the sunshine? Not my thing.
I’m also pretty low-maintenance about beauty. If it takes too long, requires too many tools or any specialized skills, I’m just not doing it.
For the sake of experience, though, I decided to give contouring a try. Truth is, I found an Ellen Tracy contouring kit at TJMaxx for $3.99. The kit included five shades of makeup, plus brushes and even instructions on what to do. Perfect for a first-timer experiment!
I applied the light contour to my forehead, near the temples. I followed that up with the medium tone (second from the top in the tray above) underneath my cheekbones. The dark color went to the sides of my jaw and the sides of my nose. Then, came highlighter, which I applied to the top of my nose, the middle of my chin, underneath my eyebrow arches and above my cheekbones.
Lastly, there was a lot of blending involved. I blended until I didn’t have stripes and circles on my face anymore.
Can you see the difference?