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Beauty: contouring

For someone who adores makeup, I find the current craze for contouring a bit saddening. It appears that not only were our arses too fat and our mons pubis too hairy, but now our heads are the wrong shape, too, and need faceting like an emerald before we can so much as nip to the Co-op.

The basic principle of contouring is that dark, matte shades recede anything prominent, while pale shades bring them to the fore. It’s a trick born in old Hollywood and it certainly works, if you can spare the time.

Personally, I prefer contouring as an occasional novelty, not a daily ball and chain. To try it, you’ll need a matte (never sparkly) brown creme or powder, three or four shades darker than your natural skin. If using creme (I love Nars Matte Multiples), stroke across where your cheeks hollow and blend downwards towards the jawline. Narrow the nose and forehead by stroking the same shade down the sides of each, blending well, but not veering into the centre. Then take a highlighter (Clinique’s Chubby Sculpting Highlight, £19 and out 6 February, is great) and stroke on to the cheekbones above the dark, down the centre of the nose, and a little on the brow bone. If using powder, follow the same technique, but with a medium brush like Luxe Face Definer, £19, for the dark, and a narrower version for the pale, like Luxe Highlight, £13, both by Zoeva. It takes practice. If you want both shades popped into one compact, Kevyn Aucoin’s The Creamy Glow, £21, is perfect. Sleek’s bargainous Face Contour Kit, £6.49, comes in shades for everyone.

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