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Why You Don't Want to Contour Your Face

Why This Makeup Artist Says "Stop Asking Me to Contour Your Face"

If I had a dime for every time some gum-snapping postmillennial with 15 pounds of mineral powder on her skin requested that I "contour her face," I would be a very rich woman.

As a working makeup artist, I will contour your face, but I will do it the way I was taught by some of the very best makeup artists on the planet. As a freelance artist for Laura Mercier cosmetics in New York, I learned tips and tricks from Laura's global artists on how to create Laura's "flawless face." She perfected it in the 1990s on celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna.

YouTube and Kim Kardashian didn't invent contouring. It has been around since the beginning of time. In the old days of black-and-white films, actors and actresses contoured using green, red, and white swatches of color to create contrast and highlight their features on film. Before Kim showed us a "before" and "after" of her "contoured" face, it was commonly known as bronzer and highlighter.

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Try this at home 😜

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

But now here we are.

Every makeup brand has succumbed to the beast, and they are peddling palettes dedicated to striping brown and yellow makeup all over one's face. Users are meant to blend these hideous stripes with a little sponge.

For those of you who are not up all night watching makeup tutorials, you might hear of this trend on the Today show or in a magazine at the hairdresser. You then innocently come wandering over to see me at a makeup counter or on your wedding day and casually say, "Maybe I should try contouring."

No. No, you shouldn't.

You should wear bronzer and highlighter like a normal person. Because — let us be honest with ourselves — we are not Kim Kardashian. We are not followed frequently by the bright flashbulbs of the paparazzi. We do not take millions of selfies a day. And if I may be so bold, you are quite possibly spending your days in a cubicle or in a medical building or at school. The editorial makeup that might be appropriate for the cover of Vogue does not always translate well into real life.

There are two major reasons I believe women should not hinder their lives with "contour palettes." The first and most important reason is we do not have this type of time.

Most people I know in America are tired and weary and enjoy sleeping as late as possible in the morning. Most have jobs or children or other duties that require them to set an alarm that will force them to wake up at an ungodly hour. They will wish (as they groggily push the snooze button) that they had more time to sleep.

Makeup was invented to hide imperfections and to accentuate the beautiful angles and features on the face that you were born with.

So, to think that you will now add a good 15-20 minutes to your beauty routine is quite unrealistic. It's not just the striping on of various "greige" shades to your skin. You then have to spend laborious time BLENDING the heck out of these stripes with your little blender.

Do you have this type of time?

If you do, then God bless you, but I have a hunch that you are in the minority.

The second reason I am against this contouring trend is that if I am being honest, everyone is just wearing too much makeup.

There. I said it.

I said it and I make a living off of putting makeup on your face. It is way too much.

Those of you who think you are doing a great contouring job, I have some unfortunate news. We can see it from a mile away. We don't see you and say, "Wow — those cheekbones that she was born with are amazing!" We say, "Wow, her flesh is hidden underneath 20 layers of foundation and banana powder."

Makeup was invented to hide imperfections and to accentuate the beautiful angles and features on the face that you were born with.

I consider myself quite good at this task. I accomplish this using makeup that is usually found in tones that resemble human skin or rich bronzers. I use creamy blushes and highlighters that will make your skin glow and reflect the light in just the right way.

So, if you think that I am going to stripe tribal art all over your face with yellow and gray swatches of color from some weird palette, you are barking up the wrong tree.

I will give you deep beautiful bronze in the hollow of your cheek and a radiant sheen on the high point of your cheekbone. You will look like a bombshell. It will take a mere two minutes.

Embrace your face, people. There is no reason to stripe it up.

After 12 years of people sitting in my chair begging me impolitely to "not make them look like a clown," I am now politely begging all of you: stop asking me to make you look like a clown.

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