Shape Up: Part 4

So you’ve identified your face shape, know where to sculpt if desired and have learned how to minimize features you don’t love. Now it’s essential that you choose the correct products and tools so no one knows what you’ve been up to. Obvious contour and highlight are about as flattering as harem pants.

The Products: Contour

Contouring products come in powder, cream and liquid formulations. You can use whatever best suits your skin type or layer them (but use restraint, please). As previously discussed, contouring makes areas recede, sometimes giving the illusion of a shadow. Because actual shadows are gray and cool-toned, you want to make sure your contour product(s) are also on the cool side. Anything too warm–think orange-y bronzers–will look off. Bronzers are for bronzing, which is different than contouring. And definitely stay away from any contour products with shimmer, as that defeats the purpose. Shimmer brings light to an area, which will make it look larger–the opposite of what contouring is supposed to do. Using a shimmery bronzer to contour can also make your skin look muddy, aka streaky, aka dirty, aka not a good look.

So, what should you use? For powder contour, I swear by Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit. It includes a matte contour and a matte highlight and comes in different shades for different skin colors. This bad boy has been my go-to for years.

If you like cream products (typically good for normal to dry skin) and have light skin, check out Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow. It’s taupe with gray undertones, so it doesn’t look obvious on fair skin. Jen, one of the AB Beauty makeup artists, uses this and swears by it.

For medium to deep skin, I use MAC Matchmaster Concealer. I know it’s not technically a cream contour, but it’s a stick concealer and works just as well. The shades I use tend to be a little more warm than I’d normally go for, but there’s a reason the rule can be bent. The kind of face sculpting I do isn’t as aggressive as current day contouring, so using something slightly warm-toned on medium to deep skin (it would be too obvious on light skin) works as long as it’s blended well.

For very deep skin–like the gorgeous blue black skin that some people have–you can skip the contour. To shape your face, you’d apply highlight on the areas you want to bring out and the contrast of the natural skin color against the highlight will create a sculpting effect.

The Products: Highlight

Highlight–particularly of the shimmer variety–is crazy hyped up right now. If I can see your cheekbones, Cupid’s Bow and tip of nose (remember–don’t do that!) glowing from across the room, then sweetheart, you’ve done too much. Subtle highlight, whether shimmer or matte, is infinitely more flattering. You can believe me, or you can regret it when your Facebook memory selfies come up in five years.

For cream and liquid highlighters with some shimmer, I like Benefit Watts Up (cream highlighter in stick form) and Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Skincare Primer (liquid). Yes, Wonderglow is meant to be a primer, but I think it works beautifully as a highlighter when applied under foundation on the areas you want to highlight.

For powder highlight, I typically reach for the highlight powder from the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow Duo. I apply it with a very light hand, as a little goes a long way.

You for sure want to avoid placing shimmery highlight on skin with fine lines or visible pores. If you want to highlight those areas, use a matte highlight. The highlight powders from the Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kits are great if you prefer a powder formulation. For a matte cream highlight, you can really use any concealer that’s lighter than your skin. I prefer ones with a thinner consistency for this.

You can also highlight and contour using foundation. For this technique, you’d use your regular foundation around the edges of your face and on any areas you would want to contour. Then a lighter foundation with the same undertone in the same formulation would be used on the areas you want to highlight (but use concealer–not foundation–under the eyes). If you’re someone whose skin color changes throughout the year, this is a great way to use your “winter” foundation during the summer.

The Tools

The type of product you are using should dictate the tools you choose. I always use a brush for powder products. For creams and liquids, I apply with my hands so my body heat–of which I have none of lately in New England, even though it’s MARCH–breaks down the product. When it’s broken down (melted a bit), that allows it to apply more evenly. I then blend it with a buffing brush if needed. My go to buffing brush is the one from the Real Techniques Core Collection.

Any contouring and highlighting you do should be blended well. That’s such a huge thing with highlight and especially contour. A foundation buffing brush is great for blending larger areas, and a fluffy-but-not-too-soft eyeshadow brush like the MAC 217 is perfect for blending highlight or contour on the eyes and nose. A sponge of your choice can also be helpful for blending out larger areas of contour.

If you want to see some pro highlighting and contour in action, check out these tutorials.

Highlighting with liquid and cream highlighters:


Contouring with powder:

That’s it! I think you’re now in good shape (pun intended) if you’re interested in sculpting your face or any features. Feel free to comment with any questions.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Very Indulgent: Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss

A girl can never have too many:

a) Shoes
b) Boyfriends
c) Lip glosses
d) Tattoos

I think the answer is C (always go with C!), but I know that may just be a preference thing. But hey, my blog, my preferences 🙂

I love lip gloss, as do many other females I know. Some people like sheer glosses, tints, or just-a-hint-of-shimmer lip colors, but I like a serious gloss. I want a fun color, strong pigment, staying power and a minimal stickiness factor. I also like it to be, if not moisturizing, then at least not drying.

Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss sounded like something I’d wear. I like and trust the English-based Illamasqua line and their slogan “Makeup For Your Alter Ego.” To me, makeup is very much about bringing out your alter egos. Why have your face look the same all the time? And seeing as though weekly cosmetic surgery isn’t a possibility (nor would I want it if it was), makeup is the easiest way to do this. Besides, a botched nose job is harder to fix than a crooked eyeliner line.

Back to the lip gloss! I tried Indulge, a bright hot pink color. It comes in a clear tube with a black cap and the gloss dispenser itself is pretty cool. It’s a slanted clear plastic piece, which is over a thin, clear tubular piece that the gloss comes out of. The top plastic piece has a small hole that brings the product to the lips, which keeps the gloss top and cap from getting too messy. With a lot of glosses, the product goes right from container to top plastic piece, and that’s when it often starts leaking out and collecting all sorts of weird stuff in its glossy overflow. The Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss is designed so that you have to squeeze the tube for the gloss to dispense, then it has to go through two channels to actually come out. Well done, chaps!

Indulge is a clearly a fun color, but does it have the pigment to make it worth it? It absolutely does. I’m often disappointed when I try a gloss and while it looks bright in the tube, it’s barely got a hint of color when it’s applied. In this department, the Intense Lipgloss does not disappoint.

It stays on well, although the color fades from bright to muted after a little while. But hey, that’s what touchups are for. It’s a bit sticky, but I think stickiness and staying power unfortunately go hand in hand. The glosses that feel like nothing tend to disappear soon after application. In general, the stickier the gloss, the longer it stays on. Good news for your makeup look, bad news for your hair strands that inevitably get stuck in the gloss-glue when the wind blows.

My one complaint about this gloss is that it does tend to dry out my lips. It doesn’t feeling drying on, but by the end of a day of wearing it, I’ve got some lip peelage going on. Maybe putting on a thin layer of Vasline or clear lip balm first would help. I’ll give it a try.

All in all, I think this is a great gloss, and it’s earned a coveted spot in my summer bag. Illamasqua is selling it for 30% off now, but there’s a waiting list. Fancy pants, huh?

As usual, I can’t link within this blog, so you’ll just have to copy and paste if you want it. Sorry!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

All I Want For Christmas Is…

I recently got a request to do a Christmas Wish List of beauty products (thanks, Erika Milliun!). Great idea, right? I’ve included essentials that I’ve mentioned over and over again, awesome products that I use but haven’t talked about, and ones that I’ve heard great things about but haven’t tried yet.

Here we go!

1.)  Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Primer: I won’t put eyeshadow on a bare lid because it usually won’t stay. I consider eye primer to be an absolute essential, and this is the one I reach for most often. It helps shadows and liners stay on, stops shadows from creasing, and covers any tiny veins or discoloration on the lid.

2.) Illamasqua Liquid Metal Eye Color in Solstice: This highly pigmented cream shadow is perfect for the holidays. It’s hard to find a gold shadow that’s pigmented and long-lasting, but this meets both important criteria. If you want to try something new and fun for a holiday party or night out, but are afraid to go for a bright color, you’ll love this.

3.) NARS The Multiple in Copacabana: Use this shimmery pearl highlighting stick on eyes, lips, or cheeks (just not all at once!) for a pretty glow.  I love doing a holiday party look with red lips, silver eyeshadow and Copacabana on the cheekbones.

4.) Make Up For Ever Lash Fibers I haven’t used this product, but I heard a positive review from a trustworthy source–and I adore this company–so I’m going to recommend it.  It’s a white mascara-like product that you apply before your mascara.  It lengthens and thicken the lashes, so the mascara adheres to that.  And who doesn’t want bigger lashes?

5.) MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack: Consider this black gel liner to be like your favorite pair of jeans.  It’s a classic that you can wear with lots of different looks. It goes on smoothly, stays put and the little jar will last you a while. Just make sure to close it tightly each time so it doesn’t dry out.

6.) Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Blackberry:  This is the time of year to go for berry lipcolors, so give it a try! I’ve found this shade to be flattering on most people and you can’t beat the price. So if darker lipcolors are out of your comfort zone, at least you can try it on the cheap (and if you buy it from CVS, just return it if you don’t like it–they accept even opened makeup returns).

7.) Tarte Cheek Stains: You know that flushed cheek look you get from being outside in the winter?  Well, you don’t have to freeze your ass off to get it. These gel blushes give you that same look, with a variety of shades to choose from. And since you only need a little bit, it lasts for a long time.

8.) Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Foundation: This is a great one for your wish list because not only is it the best foundation I’ve ever used, but it’s a little pricey and I know it can be hard to justify spending money on yourself during the holiday season. So let someone else get it for you! This liquid foundation gives amazing coverage, feels like nothing and photographs and films beautifully.

9.) Dior Diorshow: My name is synonymous with two things: Biggie Smalls and Diorshow. So for me to not include my favorite mascara on this list would be blasphemous. Basically, it’s the bomb. Long, full lashes, no smearing, flaking, or smudging.  Just get it alreadyyyyy.

Hopefully you’ve been a good girl this year and you get everything you ask for. Because if all you get is coal in your stocking, I can’t help you.  Kohl liner, however, is a different story…

Happy Holidays! Have a beautiful day 🙂