Even if you’d (want to) have nothing to do with the contouring makeup trend, you will have noticed that the mere application of foundation and matte powder these days seems very “Pearl Jam & a velvet choker -90s”. It’s hilarious how we are being reminded that our makeup should make our faces look as three-dimensional as possible, in case someone had confused physical reality with one-dimensional virtual reality.
Since the advertisers tend to think we only purchase makeup to have our faces photographed and post the results online for others to judge, the market is teeming with different kinds of products to highlight, gloss and contour our various facial dimensions. Flicking through magazines it becomes very clear that most of the makeup advise is intended for people who need – or want – to look good in front of cameras. Adding a sliver of finely milled iridescent sparkle along the bridge of one’s nose might seem like sensible, benign advise, but there are extremely few people who can pull off this look in standard office lighting without looking like the Tinman from Nutcracker.
What to do, then, if we want to update our matte Vampire’s Wife-look for something that is more in tune with the current wave of glossy without going madly overboard?
- Consider using a base. Tinted moisturiser or a light cream foundation will be fine. Do your touche éclat if you must. Maybe have something around your nose, too. The point of this exercise is to even out the skin tone, not hide it. Everything else will inevitably look shit unless the base is even.
- Blusher. I cannot recommend this highly enough. A bronzer is not a blusher. Yes, I know everybody raves how we look so much better with a little bit of tan, but a bronzer is not a blusher. It is a different product with a different purpose.
- Then do your juju with the bronzer, which hopefully is not very coppery and/or sparkly. Or skip this part.
- Whatever you do with the bronzer, don’t think that liberal application on the sides of your nose will make it appear longer and thinner. It will make you look like someone who forgot to wash their face when they left home.
- Gloss/highlighter goes on the following spots once you have completed the rest of the makeup: the outer corners of your eyes (apply in an arrow shape from the outer corner of your eyebrow to the top of your cheekbone) and the top of your cupid’s bow. When you apply gloss, tap it on, don’t rub. Exercise some caution around the upper lip – the desired effect is to add dimension to your mouth, not make you look like someone who has a sweaty under-nose situation.
- Don’t buy anything that says “sparkle”. You do not need or want anything that sparkles on your face.
If you want professional advise on how to achieve the perfect three-dimensional face, check out makeup artist Gucci Westman’s website for tips and short videos (and unfortunately some highly unnecessary kale-juice recipes). Westman does the photo-shoots of fabulous people like Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Gwyneth Paltrow (including her latest wedding when she just “really wanted to look like myself”).
My favourite glosses are by Gucci Westman and Chanel, in the picture. Less is definitely more with both products. Westman’s highlighting stick is an iridescent balm, which I have in everyday use, including office. Chanel’s golden gloss is a finishing cream that is used on top of regular eyeshadow. A wet eye- look is not for everyone, also I find it difficult to get right and not crease. Chanel is a very discreet glow that can be dabbled under the brows during the day, and it gives a mean shine if applied to the entire lid for an evening look.