Monthly Archives: May 2015

Demystifying Facial Contouring

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I am a person of many passions. Besides wine, make-up comes pretty close in the running.  I love to wander down the aisles at Sephora, Target or my local department store and look at all the new gizmos and gadgets women need to feel beautiful. Now, do I wear make-up everyday? Hell no! My life is way too crazy to take the time every morning and put on a pretty face. For those friends who have witnessed the ridiculous amount of products I have in my make-up drawer, I know this comes as a complete shocker. Or maybe you just assumed I was buying the wrong things because I never look like super-model status. And yet, there are times when I have a chance to sneak away from the kids for a few hours and unlock my secret drawer full of blushes, lipsticks, glosses, mascaras and eye shadows. I get out my make-up mirror from my college days to help with lighting and then I go to town, using all those amazing tubes and palettes that normally stare me in the face from their dusty solidarity.

My husband pokes fun at me because I always run to the store when a company advertises a “new” product in their make-up line. Okay, so maybe in any line of merchandise I am a sucker for new stuff. I am a marketing professional’s dream client. So imagine my enthusiasm when I started seeing all these items popping up in my local Sephora and Target promoting “facial contouring!”

I said to myself, “Self, there are powders and creams right in front of your face that can give you Vivienne Leigh cheekbones! Buy. It. Now. Figure out how to wear the stuff later.”

So that is exactly what I did, and then I called a good friend of mine who does professional make-up for some much needed help. That would be the one and only Ethea Schallberger, make-up extraordinaire for Southeast Missouri and beyond. Ethea’s intellect encompasses a lot of things, and make-up happens to be one of them. She pretty much knows everything there is to know about make-up, and of course this includes my latest obsession with facial contouring.

When I approached Ethea about facial contouring, she offered to give me some great tips before working her magic on my own face. If you have missed reading about the latest trends from Hollywood or you’re oblivious to the Kardashian family on television (Kim is a big proponent of this trend), facial contouring is basically the use of various shades of powders or creams to highlight certain areas of the face and make other parts seem more “in the shadows,” thus giving you a very defined bone structure without having to go under the knife.

Still not catching what I mean? Ethea showed me a picture of a model in your basic grocery-aisle magazine. Then she flipped it upside-down and there it was-all the different shades the make-up artist used to contour the model’s face. Amazing, isn’t it?

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Ethea also explained to me about finding your skin tone. Most women have heard about being warm-toned, or cool-toned at some point in life. But how does one know which tone defines one’s skin? Ethea let me in on a little trick. She flipped my wrist over and took a look at the veins on the inside of my arm. That was the key to finding my skin tone, a simple flip of the wrist. So basically, once you look at your veins, if they look bluer under the skin, then you are probably a cool tone. These individuals need to think pink, red, or bluish shades. If they look greener under the skin, you are warm toned. So this means look at colors that tend to be more peachy, golden or yellow in color. Of course there are people out there who fall in the “neutral” category, and they can wear both cool and warm tones on their skin. Lucky Ducks. If you want to see where I found more information on the subject, visit http://stylecaster.com/cool-warm-skin-undertones/.

Once Ethea went over the basics, we got started on the make-up.  She began with a clean face (remember, I never wear make-up), and started pulling out some palettes. She recommended a NARS contouring palette, which can be purchased at a local Sephora or online.

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She also pulled out various concealers from her magic box of make-up heaven. Wait, concealer, to do facial contouring? But I thought concealer was basically to cover zits and dark circles from lack of sleep or too much wine (not that I have suffered from either of these things). Oh no, my friends, concealer has just become my new best friend. Yes, it is used to cover zits and dark circles, but Ethea also pulled it further down from the under-eye area to cover my cheeks. She also used it on the bridge of my nose, my Cupid’s bow and the center of my chin.

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Once that was accomplished, she pulled out this pretty pink little sponge. I have seen these things in Sephora, usually located near the large quantity of numbered make-up brushes. But I never really paid any attention to them.  They are called “Beauty Blenders,” and it will become your second best friend, next to the concealer. Ethea used this sponge to gently blend in the concealer she applied on my face. Then she pulled out the NARS contour palette and placed the darker shade just under my cheekbones, on the hairline towards the outer part of my forehead and on the sides of my nose. Again, she busted out the “Beauty Blender” and miraculously made all the harsh lines disappear.  From this point I felt like I could have forgone the blush it looked so good. But she wasn’t finished.  Ethea needed to do the highlighting. She used a more iridescent shade and made a “V” shape starting at the end of my eyebrow and moving towards the apple of my cheek. She said this gives a more natural look as opposed to just putting it on the apples of the cheekbones. Then she placed more highlighter above my brow line, in the arch of my brows and on the bridge of my nose. One again, it looked amazing.

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Ethea applied the rest of her wonderful expertise and finished my make-up with blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick and finishing powder. Don’t worry, I will provide a detailed list of what she put on me at the end of this article. But if this is your first time attempting to do facial contouring, start simple. Just get a basic contouring palette based on your skin tone. Ethea’s point was not to overwhelm me with all the various brands she had in her make-up box; she simply wanted to give me a general idea of what goes into doing a proper facial contour. And I have to say, I have taken her advice and practiced to make my own facial contouring look as good as what she did on my face that day in my kitchen. It is not quite perfect, but I am getting there, Ethea. It is hard to duplicate a beauty professional!

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Later that evening I did a little more research on my own and created a simple checklist you can use at home if you want to try your own facial contouring. Just play around with the make-up a couple of times before doing it for a big night out. Remember, practice makes perfect. Rome was not built in a day, okay?

First thing to remember is start with a clean, well-moisturized face. Think about the kind of foundation you use on a daily basis. If you use a powder foundation, you should look for contouring palettes that are powder-based. If you use a liquid foundation, look for cream-like palettes.

When you highlight, you want to pick a shade that is one or two shades lighter than your face. Put the highlighter under the eyes, bridge of the nose, center of the forehead, Cupid’s bow and center of the chin. When you use the darker contouring color, go one or two shades darker than your foundation tone. Put this along the hairline, hollows of the cheekbones and along the jawline/neck area. Blend, blend and more blending!!! You want this to look natural, not like someone came and spray-tanned sections of your face.

If you have a blending sponge, use a light dabbing motion until all the lines have disappeared. Then you are ready to add some blush to the apples of your cheeks and finish it all off with some type of setting powder. Viola! You have just successfully contoured your face. If you are still unsure, visit http://www.sephora.com and search “facial contouring.”  There are great tutorials and how-to’s, plus the site also helps determine your face shape and what contouring techniques work best.  Now go take your beautiful self out for a fun night on the town!

If you are curious about the make-up Ethea used on me, she was kind enough to give me a list of everything. Here it is:

Foundation: Dior Star in #20; Concealer: Giorgio Armani Master Corrector in #1 and Urban; Decay Naked Skin in Light Warm; Blush: MAC in Melba; Highlight: Becca Opal; Eye Primer: MAC paint pot in Bare Canvas; Eye shadows: MAC in Omega, Naked Lunch, Expensive Pink and Beauty Marked; Eyeliner: Charlotte Tilbury Rock and Kohl in dark brown; Brows: Anastasia Brow Whiz in Taupe and clear brow gel; Mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensational; Finishing Powder: Make-up Forever HD loose powder; Setting Spray: Urban Decay All Nighter; Lips: Estée Lauder Doublewear liner in Nude, Lorac lipstick in Duchess and OCC Lip Stained Gloss in Concubine

Because I love wine as much as I do make-up, I have to tie both together. How can contouring be connected to wine, you ask? Why, through the beautiful process of blending grape varieties. Much like that little beauty sponge, winemakers take the same care when it comes to making blends of wines from various grape varieties. In basic terms, blending is simply the process of taking different grape varieties, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, and combing them together in a manner that highlights the best points of each grape while downplaying their weaker assets.

Winemakers across the globe from California to Italy do this every year with their vineyards. For example, many wineries in Napa Valley pride themselves on buying grapes from other vineyards to make some of their labels. It gives both the winemaker and the owner of the grapes a chance to see what wonderful outcome can come out of marrying two or more specimens together. Just walk down the aisle of your local grocery store or liquor store and you will see new and upcoming labels with rather unique names. Each of these wines is made up of different grape varieties. Some have exact science to them; others are a montage of leftover grapes. But they produce great tasting wines for very low costs. Other vineyards take great care when blending wine and thus produce higher valued bottles, such as Joseph Phelps’ Insignia or Dominus.

French and Italian wine-makers do the same thing as Americans, and the wines will all range in quality and price. But what I consider unique about blends is the way grape varieties can be accentuated or downplayed, based on whatever quality they bring to the table. Blending offers the opportunity to add spice, fruit and body to wine. It can soften tannins in grape varieties that need time to come to fruition, such as Cabernet Sauvignon.

Personally, I love blends. It is like a surprise with each bottle you try, kind of like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates. So I highly recommend you go out on a limb and try a blended wine (you probably have already had one without even knowing it). But take the bull by the horns and pick one out you think will go along with that fabulous evening you have planned to show off your newly contoured face.

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