The Reverse Contour: Make-up Artists Urge Women To Revolt Against Contouring

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The Reverse Contour at Chalayan SS16

The sun is certainly setting on contouring’s urm… day in the sun.  Its hypnotising hold on the general public is beginning to wane as women realise that those broad stripes of brown and cream only look good under the selfie lens and about 10 filters.  Make-up artists have been out in force this season, campaigning for the eradication of #contouring despite the fact that they have been using cosmetics to change the appearance of face shapes for centuries.

So why ditch the contour?

‘I am against contouring’ reasoned Christelle Coquet, the lead MAC make-up artist at Barbara Bui.  Coquet was playing with the shape of models’ faces but she wasn’t using the Kardashian methods. ‘I think there are two ways to do contouring, a good way and a bad way.  I have seen so many Youtube videos and I think to myself ‘Oh my god!  Is this possible?’’  Coquet was using a transparent highlighter to contour and contrasting it with the natural skin texture. ‘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.’

Barbara Bui SS16


Ok, so you can contour with transparent shine alone? 

Oh yes, says fellow make-up artist Terry Barber, who spoke out about contouring mania at several of his shows in London and Milan.   At Marco de Vincenzo he too promoted the use of shine to contour – ie contouring with light rather than colour.  ‘It’s basically strategic powdering.  We’re powdering places but we’re purposely leaving others with a moisture.  I have mattified the sides of the nose in between the eyebrows, the centre of the forehead but left a little halo of sheen around the edge of forehead.   This is much quieter than internet contouring.’



“Refined rawness” is how M·A·C Director of Makeup Artistry Terry Barber described the pure look at @marcodevincenzo #SS16. #MACBackstage #MFW

A photo posted by M∙A∙C Cosmetics (@maccosmetics) on

Sep 26, 2015 at 2:02pm PDT



A photo posted by Marco de Vincenzo (@marcodevincenzo) on

Oct 1, 2015 at 3:01am PDT


But things started to take a turn for revolution at the Hussein Chalayan show yesterday where MAC make-up artist Mark Carrasquillo painted the “Reverse Contour” under models’ cheekbones. ‘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.’ 
Wait, so you’re putting a LIGHTER foundation underneath the cheekbone? ‘Yes, we made a clean triangle of foundation underneath the eye and then another hit of it underneath the cheekbone.  So there is no contour colour but we did it with light instead.’


The Reverse Contour at Chalayan SS16

And so there you have it, the reverse contour.  It’s time to take a step back from contouring say the  make-up artists of Paris Fashion week.


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