YOUTHFUL MAKEUP WITH ONLY A CONTOUR PALETTE (INCLUDES BLUSH)

If you're timid about makeup, or want to achieve an enviable yet born-mostly-with-this-glow effect, here's how – and why a good contour palette is ideal.
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Youthful Makeup Look with just a Contour Palette

That a contour palette is your best route to a youthful makeup look might come as a surprise if the word "contour" conjures up an Instagram-makeup association. If you already know the beauty of a good contour palette when it comes to delivering convenience and a believable healthy glow, then let's geek out together!

My makeup aesthetic has always been on the light, natural, glowy (when that became a thing), youthful side, even when I was in my 20s. I never wanted to look older (and it shows in how I've done my nieces' makeup). Now that I'm considered "older" – well. I just want to look youthful. You'll see the difference between the "before" me in the first part of this video, and the "after" me. I look every bit my age or older without makeup. But with just a light application of the right tones and textures, I can erase a couple of years like they haven't happened yet.

why contour palettes are brilliant

Contour palettes, and really I mean the contour palettes that also include blush – so maybe complexion palettes? – aren't a new thing at all, nor is using them on the whole face, including eyelids. Actually, they don't really need to include a blush – lipstick or gloss or tinted lip balm works very nicely on cheeks as well.

Clockwise from top left: Laura Mercier La Palette Naturelle, Charlotte Tilbury Glowing Pretty Skin, Rodial I Woke Up Like This, Too Faced Natural Face Palette, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Face Palette – Ghost, Smashbox Cali Contour, Josie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Fresh Face Paint Palette, Kevyn Aucoin The Contour Book Volume 3

Clockwise from top left: Laura Mercier La Palette Naturelle, Charlotte Tilbury Glowing Pretty Skin, Rodial I Woke Up Like This, Too Faced Natural Face Palette, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Face Palette – Ghost, Smashbox Cali Contour, Josie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Fresh Face Paint Palette, Kevyn Aucoin The Contour Book Volume 3

Whether with blush or without, a good contour palette – for instance, the Smashbox Cali Contour kit I'm using in the video below – is ideal for a youth-enhancing, natural-glow look because:

  1. It's all about shades that are the most complexion-flattering, designed to enhance with healthy-looking warmth, light and shadow
  2. The shades are generally somewhat sheer to allow the skin to show through (that's also so one palette will suit a range of skin tones)
  3. Formulas often contain light-diffusing elements that serve as soft-focus filters.
  4. Mistakes are far less likely if you apply in light layers.
  5. That it's a convenient all-in-one, travel-friendly compact is a bonus.

Yes, okay, I've always been drawn to compact face palettes anyway – hello Charlotte Tilbury Natural Beauty Instant Look in a Palette. And of course, when you look at Charlotte's OG palette, you realize the shades are similar to what you'd find in a contour-and-blush compact. That's why it's genius.

smashbox cali contour palette

The Smashbox Cali Contour palette ($50 CAD and $39 at sephora.com) is aces, by the way. It launched a while back, and for me it's something of a brand re-discovery after some recent chat-time with Smashbox global pro lead artist Lori Taylor Davis. Smashbox is such a good brand, a leader in the primer game, and highly skilled at producing textures and shades that look terrific on camera – after all, it all started in a busy photo studio, and was created to deliver professional camera-ready results. No mermaid-and-unicorn fads here.

Wearing the Cali Contour on face, eyes, cheeks and lips

Wearing the Cali Contour on face, eyes, cheeks and lips

The Smashbox Cali Contour's three matte powders + one matte blush are like velvet on skin, and the 2 pearlescent powders add subtle healthy-looking gleam to catch the light. The blush shade looked deep enough to use as a lip colour, so I used the palette on my eyes, cheeks, complexion and lips, too. 

Oh, and remember the part about the shades being on the sheer side? That means that thin, fine-edged brushes like the angled brush I tried to use in the video won't work because you can't get an intense line. So I switched to a fuller, denser little brush that picked up the shadow better.

Here's the stuff-I-used rundown:

Wait, why am I talking about contour palettes with bronzers and blush when we're firmly in winter's clutches up here? Because winter face doesn't have to be pale and drawn or rough and wind-chapped. Really, a good contour palette is an antidote to grey skies and icy winds. Plus, from Dec 4th (today) to Dec 17th, Sephora is offering $25 off a purchase of $75 or more with the code 2019HOORAY....

And I have another reason for talking about this today as you'll find out in the next post. You'll like it, I promise!

over to you

What do you think about this perspective on contour palettes?

Do you have a contour palette? How do you use it?

Any questions about the application? Or suggestions?

xo

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Psst! In Canada, the Too Faced Natural Face Palette is available at shoppersdrugmart.com*

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