What contouring is is basically applying a dark pigment, powder or cream (could be bronzer), to certain areas of the face to create shadow, and applying a lighter pigment on the rest to lift it. What this does is slim down the face and makes certain portions, such as cheekbones, jawline, and the nose, more defined and prominent.
So why is this trend so, well, trendy? While contouring has been around since the 40s, its popularity now is all thanks to—who else—Kim Kardshian. Love them or hate them, let’s be real, anything the Kardshians touch becomes an instant internet sensation. Anyway, Kim K’s makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, is the setter of this particular trend. His work on the socialite caught a lot of attention to the point where makeup brands have come out with contouring products left and right. Other makeup artists and beauty vloggers have helped raise this technique to the stratosphere—now everyone does it!
Another aspect of contouring which bugs me is that it not-so-subtly promotes Western beauty standards. By making the face appear slimmer, and the nose thinner, and to have that be the epitome of beauty, can be seen as a little racist. This might be a reach, as a lot of makeup techniques can be seen as an upholding of Eurocentric standards of beauty and a condemnation of the beauty of other cultures. But I stand by this, because it’s a lot harder to find perfect contouring products for people with darker skin compared to those with lighter skin.
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