For the advanced crossdresser, femme or drag queen able to apply a good facial makeover, now may be the time for you to consider a more complicated technique to achieve stunning skin appearance as if you have been photoshopped. By using the simple technique of light and shade (highlighting and contouring) it is possible to change your natural facial shape into a more feminine shape. If you can apply foundation, you can, with a little practise learn how to contour.
WHAT IS CONTOURING?
Contouring is a makeup technique that uses cosmetics to define, enhance and sculpt the structure of the face or other body parts, such as breasts. Although commonly known as ‘contouring’, the technique includes the use of contour (darker shade) and highlighter (lighter shade) that are a shade darker than your regular foundation and a shade lighter inorder to use light and shade to change facial shape, for example. Using a dark shade of contour helps minimize less desirable facial features whilst lighter highlighter will emphasize more desirable female shapes and features. A critical part of male contouring is blending so that you end up with a seamless finish.
This technique is also widely used to create the illusion of having cleavage either with or without breast forms. Again, all are needed are darker contour and lighter highlighter to create this simple yet very effective visual.
WHAT PRODUCTS ARE NEEDED?
For such an important technique there are only a few products you need and then it’s just practice, practice, practice and blend, blend, blend. We would advise you have ready:
- Contour Kit with choice of darker contour and lighter highlight colors than your regular foundation color
- Blending Sponge
- Setting Powder and/or Setting Spray
We would recommend you use either cream-based or powder contour and highlighter. You can of course use a blending brush but our in-house makeup artist prefers the sponge application for blending.
TIPS FOR CONTOURING
Where and how you contour and highlight will depend on the natural shape of your face since different shaped faces require different areas contouring to achieve more feminine features.
As a general rule highlight should be applied down the bridge of the nose and center of the chin and beneath the eyebrows. Also highlight under the brow arch, under the eyes and the middle of the forehead.
Because contouring/shading depends on the actual shape of your face it is not as straightforward as applying the highlighter. For the most common facial shapes we would recommend the following areas for contour (dark shade) application:
- Square Face: Generally the width of your jaw, cheeks and forehead are the same and give an overall square shape impression with a very prominent strong male jaw-line. The use of a dark contour on the edges of the face will help add depth in those areas and create a more rounded/oval facial shape. In particular shade the sides of the jaw at approximately 5pm and 7pm on a clock-face and also 11pm and 1pm on the sides of the forehead.This in technique softens the corners of the appearance of the square shape.
- Round Shape Face: Generally the face is widest at the cheeks but the length and the width of the face are equal and so give the impression of being round. For a round face the opposite application is needed than for a square-shape face so we need to create a more angular shape. This can be done by applying a darker contour underneath the cheekbones, and to the sides of the forehead.
- Long Face: Usually exaggerated length between the forehead and lower jaw often appearing to have a very prominent chin. Dark contour application needs to be applied along the jawline and the forehead to create the illusion of shortening the facial length. Make sure to extend the dark contour actually into the hairline.
- Heart Shape: Typically you will have the forehead as the widest part of the face and with a longer pointed chin. By applying a darker shade to the temples you narrow the forehead and again adding the darker shade to the chin tip softens the point to give the illusion of a more feminine oval shape face.
- Oval Shape: Those born with the oval shape face are naturally blessed since there is not a lot you need to do with contour. All we would recommend is applying the darker shade down the sides of the nose. Together with the lighter highlight you will have applied to the bridge you now can manufacture the perfect feminine nose shape.
For cream-based contour and highlighter use a blending sponge for application but if using a powder-based product then use and angled makeup brush for contouring.
The final part of our contouring tips is blending out the hard lines you may see between the darker contour and the lighter highlight so that you end up with a seamless appearance.
KEEPING MAKEUP IN PLACE
When you have finished blending seal everything in with a good application of our translucent setting powder. You don’t want to lose the effect you have created so apply the powder to help it last. Going out ot think you may heat up a little then minimize makeup meltdown with our setting spray to keep everything locked in place all night long. Take some blotting pads in your purse in case you get a little perspiration or oily moment.
As a technique, contouring for men is really for those crossdressers who have mastered at least one makeover look. If you can apply a cream-based foundation then learning how to contour will just take a little more practice and technique but won’t take long to do it well. The results are worth the extra application time since you can dramatically change the shape of your face to that of a more female shape and certain facial features like a prominent nose. The quickest way to learn how to contour is to choose our simple Contouring Kit (less than $15) that comes complete with step by step instructions and diagrams for easy-application.
For more beauty tips for crossdressers, drag queens and those going en femme check out our crossdressing tips blog.