Shady business

Shady business

Shady business

First published in Lifestyle

You may have heard of the word contouring, you may even have seen Kim Kardashian's contoured selfies, but many women don't have a clue how to do it themselves.

Contouring is the professional make-up technique that women want to master for themselves at home. Little wonder when, executed correctly, you can enhance your facial features - and cleverly disguise flaws.

The process is all about using darker colours to create dimension and lighter colours to highlight. In theory, you can whip up Kate Moss cheekbones in minutes.

Care to contour? Read on for an expert masterclass in sculpting face flattery.

CONTOUR KIT

Before you choose your contouring essentials, look at how you might normally apply your make-up. You can contour with a cream or powder formulation.

Daniel Sandler, international make-up artist says: " Cream textures work well if you apply make-up using your fingers. Those who prefer traditional methods should use a pressed powder formula and soft, angled contour brush."

Overzealous beginners can blend away excess powder by sweeping some translucent powder over any mistakes. If you're using a cream, you can tone down the error by blending with a foundation brush.

Avoid sculpting powders with not-so-subtle shimmer. Sandler recommends going matte: "Go slightly darker than your skin tone, but not too dark, or it will look obvious and theatrical."

SCULPTING SOS

Contouring is the quickest way to drop a few pounds from your face without going on a crash diet. The key is the placement of the product, so familiarise yourself with the natural contours of your face, around your cheekbones and jawline.

"Sweeping sculpting powder along the jawline creates the illusion of slimmer, younger features," Sandler explains. " Blend the powder softly down onto the neck to avoid a tideline."

Creating natural looking shadow on areas that protrude will help them appear less obvious. Sandler says: "Apply contour under cheekbones to reduce the look of puffiness and gently shade around the sides of the nose to help it look slimmer.

"You can even apply contour powder through the eye sockets to set back over-hanging lids, u sing a small eyeshadow brush."

HELLO, HIGHLIGHT

To dial the contouring up a notch, balance the shading with highlighter to really make your features 'pop'. Key areas include upper cheekbone, nose bridge, cupid's bow, inner eye corner, middle eyelid and brow bone.

Sandler recommends: "Contrast against the sculpting by applying a light dusting of highlighting powder above it - this will add a subtle 'lift' to your features.

"Practice makes perfect, and always contour in even light so you can really see what you're doing."

Don't be tempted to over-highlight. Applying to the whole brow bone can create an ageing effect, for instance. Achieve an instant facelift by applying a hint of highlighter to the tops of cheekbones. This should be visible when you turn side-on, but not from the front.

SEVEN SUPER-SCULPTORS

These ready-made contouring kits should help make the face honing process a cinch.

:: Daniel Sandler Sculpt and Slim, £24.50 (www.danielsandler.com)

:: Cargo Cosmetics Contour Palette, £22 (Debenhams)

:: Illamasqua Sculpting Powder Duo, £26 (www.illamasqua.com)

:: Nars Contour Blush, £30 (www.narscosmetics.co.uk)

:: Shiseido Face Colour Enhancing Trio, £32 (House of Fraser)

:: Sleek Face Contour Kit, £6.49 (www.sleekmakeup.com)

:: Superdrug B. Sculpted Contour kit, £10.49 (Superdrug)

TRIED & TESTED

:: Gabrielle Fagan gets to grips with a hybrid health and beauty body lotion to treat bumpy skin

Summer is never my favourite season because it means my keratosis pilaris is exposed to the world. I use the scientific name, but you might be more familiar with 'chicken skin'. It's a benign, dry skin condition that's said to affect 40% of the population, but this summer I decided to wage war on the rough bumps blighting my legs with Ameliorate.

Admittedly, this isn't the most glamorous looking product on my bathroom shelf but it's the one that I reach for every morning. I apply the lotion in place of my body moisturiser, paying special attention to the dry, pink bumps on my thighs (the back of the arms are another common area). The dermatologist-approved lotion soaks in quickly and easily, without any sticky residue meaning you can get dressed immediately afterwards. I also like the fact Ameliorate has a light scent but isn't heavily perfumed, so it doesn't interfere with my signature scent.

Containing optimum levels of lactic acid (a naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acid), the formula encourages the skin's own exfoliation process, re-texturising rough areas. After 10 days, I noticed a dramatic improvement to my keratosis pilaris, and three weeks on, I'm still impressed with the results. My skin looks healthier and smoother and the bumps have dramatically diminished. With a holiday approaching, I'll be filling my suitcase with shorts, cropped trousers - and a vat of Ameliorate.

:: Ameliorate Body Lotion, £27.50, exclusively available at www.victoriahealth.com. For more information see www.ameliorate-skincare.com

BUY IT NOW

Forget the cake and candles and celebrate Nails Inc's 15th birthday with a new mani. To mark the anniversary, Nails Inc bottles have a luxe new look (from £14), and Alexa Chung has been signed as the face (and nails) of the brand. Look out for her collaboration fabric-inspired polishes, £15 each (www.nailsinc.com).

BEAUTY BULLETIN

:: COSTLY COSMETICS

Is your make-up bag worth the equivalent of an iPad mini? The average British woman carries £231-worth of cosmetics in her kit bag, according to a new survey by Hairtrade.com. A whopping 16 products make the average cut, with m oisturisers and foundations being reported as the most costly items, with foundation at £18 and moisturiser at £21. Only 3% said that they would claim on their insurance for their make-up bag if it was misplaced or stolen, despite 95% saying they would be lost without it.

:: RECESSIONISTA ALERT

Boost your anti-ageing on a budget. Aldi's bestseller anti-wrinkle Lacura Expert range has two new additions. Raid the shelves for the Expert Eye Gel, £4.99, and Beautifying Serum, £4.99. Available in stores while stocks last from August 17.

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