Reverse Contour: Are You Contouring Wrong?

Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner better look away now, because we need to talk about the reverse contour. 

There seems to be some sort of revolution happening amongst some of the fashion week beauty experts, and they’re taking a major stand against contouring as we’ve come to know it. 

Contouring seems to have taken on a life of its own, with YouTubers and MUAs alike competing to create wilder and wackier ways of enhancing – or completely changing – their facial features. Hands up who remembers the viral sensation of clown contouring?

There’s no denying that the power of make-up is impressive, and we love to play around with the latest products and techniques as much as the next person.

kim kardashian contour Kim Kardashian has become famous for her mega make-up routines

See: Best Contouring Makeup – The LOOK Edit

But many have slowly come to the realisation that extreme Kardashian-style contour isn’t really practical for everyday trips to the office, and it just doesn’t have the same effect with the absence of perfect lighting and Instagram filters.

kylie jenner selfie Kylie loves a good selfie

See: Kylie Jenner’s Makeup Tutorial 

A number of experts have taken it upon themselves to spread the message of ‘reverse contouring’, and it has taken the front seat of many fashion week shows this season. 

Head MAC make-up artist at the Barbara Bui’s SS16 show revealed to InStyle: ‘I am against contouring.’ 

Christelle Coquet explained that she believes ‘there are two ways to do contouring, a good way and a bad way.’

Speaking of the snowballing internet phenomenon, she revealed: ‘The right contouring is when you look at yourself in the mirror and the pick out the curves of your face. You need to use a transparent ash shadow – not the warm brown that you see on YouTube, which in real life looks terrible.’

Chalayan makeup paris fashion week Reverse Contour at the Chalayan show at Paris Fashion Week


Hussein Chalayan’s show made a conscious decision to use ‘reverse contour’ on its models.

MAC make-up artist Mark Carrasquillo explained: ‘I am doing a half moon of pink blush that starts from her browbone, where you would usually use a highlighter. We’re bringing it right into the hair line and then with a little bit of a lighter foundation we’re doing a reverse contour on the cheek.’

Forget all of the darker brown splodges that you’ve come to associate with heavy contouring, Mark’s reverse contour actually plays with light instead.  

We doubt this will put an end to the contouring craze, but it’s definitely interesting to see that there’s scope to mould the art to what you want to do with your face. 

That’s what make-up is about, after all. 

By Laura Jane Turner