The Ultimate Guide to Contouring Your Body with Makeup

The Ultimate Guide to Contouring Your Body with Makeup
AKM Images / GSI Media
Shop This Post

While we've pretty much mastered contouring our faces, there's still a lot to learn about chiseling our body's. Believe it or not, the same techniques that are applied to highlight cheeks and slim the nose can also be used on your neck, chest, and abs. We turned to airbrush tanning and body makeup expert Katie Quinn of Kona Tans to get the lowdown on sculpting your figure into shape—no sit-ups necessary.

"I prefer liquid makeup when using an airbrush, and with a makeup brush I prefer powders," says Quinn, who has worked her magic on stars like Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosia, and Doutzen Kroes. "They’re easier to blend," she explains. "With contouring and manipulating shadows on a palette as large as a body, sometimes it’s easy to get too focused in the process and realize that you need to downplay some areas. This is when blending powders really comes in handy."

Besides choosing the right formula it's also important to make sure you have the right tools for a natural contour. Quinn continued by saying, "I feel that the smaller the brush, the less likely the overall look will appear realistic. So, I stick with MAC blush brush 116 for the base contouring, and then I go through and blend using MAC large powder brush 150. To cover bruises, I like Chanel’s foundation brush 16."

RELATED: Keep Calm and Contour On- The Best Contouring Kits for Every Skill Level

If you're looking to slim your neck Quinn has tips that are also anti-aging: "A bronzed neck provides a very youthful look! Apply a bronzing powder evenly to the entire neck, blending up to but not past the jaw line." Contrary to popular belief, "it’s ok to have a slight border of bronzer under the jaw line, because it will look like a contoured jaw bone, helping to minimize the appearance of double chins," Quinn says. "Add a little extra bronzer under the chin, in the triangle of skin where double chins usually exist – between the chin and where the jaw meets the neck. Next, apply two “V” shapes of shading to either side of the neck, to the trapezius muscle areas."

Unlike contouring your face, molding a perky bossom is the same for everyone. "We all go for a “firm and separated” look here – so the key is highlighting the tops of the breasts and collarbone," says Quinn. "Then shade in two parenthesis shapes between the breasts, and on the outsides with bronzer or self-tanner. Next apply shading above and below the collarbone, in horizontal lines."

RELATED: Go Bronze: The Essential Guide to Self Tanner

If you're still trying to burn off those calories from Thanksgiving, contouring your abs will give instant definition (along with a trip to the gym). Per Quinn: "Using a makeup brush and bronzing powder or self-tanner, add a straight line from the center of the cleavage to the belly button, and then a parenthesis on either side of the belly button from the rib cage to the hip bones. This hourglass shape is very easy, and adds a very natural looking shadow that never looks fake. Continue overlapping the lines, getting wider and wider as you overlap, for a rounded effect."

Lastly, but certainly not lease, the pro advises, "Less is usually more – it’s fun to contour, so restrain yourself and try not to overdo it!"

 
Back to Top