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.
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:
- It's all about shades that are the most complexion-flattering, designed to enhance with healthy-looking warmth, light and shadow
- 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)
- Formulas often contain light-diffusing elements that serve as soft-focus filters.
- Mistakes are far less likely if you apply in light layers.
- 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.
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:
- base is Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector with RMS UnCover Up as concealer, applied off camera
- Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion on upper waterline
- Smashbox Cali Contour palette on complexion, eyes, cheeks, lips
- Maybelline Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Mascara in Blackest Black
- Amaterasu Beauty Liquid Brow Pen in Brunette
- Ardell Stroke-A-Brow Pen in Medium Brown
- Laura Mercier Translucent Powder
- brushes are a random mix of Marc Jacobs Beauty, Make Up For Ever, MAC Cosmetics, and a Quo by Shoppers Drug Mart Detail Highlight Brush recommended by makeup pro Stephen Moleski as a detail powder brush because it delivers "spot powdering ability" with a "very finessed and finished application," never cakey
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?
Psst! In Canada, the Too Faced Natural Face Palette is available at shoppersdrugmart.com*
*shoppersdrugmart.com is a non-affiliate link