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Like all good beauty editors, our ears tend to perk up any time a makeup artist opens his or her mouth. Such was the case at a recent event where a makeup artist happened to mention that she uses a different contouring technique on her darker-skinned clients.
Ever the annoyingly curiousВ intrepid beauty journalists and contouring aficionados, we wanted-no, needed-to know more. That's why we reached out to none other than L'OrГ©al Paris celebrity makeup artist and all-around makeup guru Sir John, who counts BeyoncГ©, Joan Smalls, Gabrielle Union, and more as clients.
Sir John has long been an advocate of a subtler take on contouring-he prefers to call it sculpting. We asked him to reveal his contouring tips for anyone with darker skin, and, generous as can be, he was happy to oblige. Blending brushes ready? Keep scrolling for three major contouring tips for dark skin tones!
#1: Choose Warmer ShadesL'Oreal Infallible Pro-Contour Kit $13Shop
If you take anything away from this story, make it this: If you have darker skin and are choosing a contour shade, make sure it is warm. вЂњOpt for a cognac or any kind of whiskey or bourbon shades,вЂќ Sir John recommends. вЂњNot only are these darker colors, but they also tend to skew a bit warmer.вЂќ (He say he likes L'OrГ©al Paris's new Infallible Pro-Contour KitВ ($13) in Deep.) While those with pale skin can get away with cooler contour tones, anything in the taupe-based family will show up as ashy on dark skin tones. A warmer contour shade will sculpt and add a glow to your voice-not unlike Viola Davis on this magazine cover.
#2: Double Up on FormulasAnastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit $40Shop
Another key technique? Doubling up on formulas. вЂњI like to use both creams and powders so the final result is a more dimensional look,вЂќ Sir John tells us. вЂњWomen of color tend to be lighter in center or the face and deeper around the perimeter of their face. When using two different formulas, you can help balance the color and create the perfect contour.вЂќ Always apply a cream formula first, like the deeper shades in Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour KitВ ($40), then follow with powder lightly dusted over. (Here's our guide on exactly where you should be applying your contour and highlight.)
#3: Blend, Then LockTarte The Slenderizer Bamboo Contour Brush $34Shop
Lastly, since you're using two formulas, Sir John says it's important to remember to establish your base. How? Blend. вЂњWhen you apply cream foundation or concealer before contour, make sure you are blending and ensuring the blending process is seamless,вЂќ he says. вЂњYou should always do the ground work first before powder, because powder will lock everything in place.вЂќ So, to recap: Blend your foundation and concealer, apply and blend your cream contour, then finish with powder to lock it down.
Click here for seven genius makeup hacks for dark skin tones!