studio-lush-cincinnati-nicole-stenger-make-upI have to say, there is no better way to spend some fun ‘girl’ time other than with one of your best friends playing with make-up. It kind of reminds me of when we were little. Because I’m pretty sure I could find a photo us doing this same exact thing 25 years ago. It’s funny how life works out. 

Regardless, we thought it would be helpful yet fun to share a face contouring tutorial. I’ve always been so fascinated with the before and after photos I’ve seen of contouring, that I was curious to see what it’d look like on me and learn a few makeup tips along the way. 

So Nicole Stenger, owner of Studio Lush, took me through the process. She’s been doing makeup professionally for years and was happy to share some of her insider tips. 

Let’s get to it!

First things first, she informed me that it’s always good to start with a ‘blank canvas’, meaning the only thing that should be on your face is a light moisturizer. 

Having only moisturizer on my face made it a lot easier to apply the primer, which is the first thing Nicole started with. 

The next step was fun. Well, I mean fun as in this picture below would be fun to gawk at?contouring-tutorial-eyebrowsNicole stated that eyebrows, generally speaking, are oftentimes the most neglected part of the face, so in order to make sure they stand out during the contouring process, she likes to over emphasize them before going in later to lighten them up. Using the NYX Brow Pomade in Brunette, she achieved her desired results. conouring-with-concealerNext she used a little L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Creamy Beige on areas of the face she wanted to lighten and brighten. Nicole says that by creating ‘upside down triangles’ under the eyes, it eliminates any imperfections. 

As we went through the makeup process, I was curious as to why she chose the products she was using. Nicole said that why she’s used other more expensive brands in the past, she found that using NYX gave her the same results as some of the higher priced makeup lines. 

And because that ultimately ends up saving her money, she will then pass that savings along to her clients. Which who wouldn’t want to pay less, right?

After adding the all over primer, playing up the brows and adding highlights with concealer, the next step was to highlight my eyes.

Starting with NXY’s ‘Honey Do Me Up‘, she applied the base on my eyelids. This product not only helps keep your makeup in place, but it prevents it from creasing over time. Then using a dense bristled brush, Nicole applied shadow to my eyelids using one the eye shadow palettes by Anastasia Beverly Hills. 

A few tips: Nicole said she prefers to use eyeshadow palettes because the colors in the palette she uses tend to run in the same color family, which makes blending them an easier process.

Also she suggests using a denser brush because it will allow for you to ‘pack in’ more color, which ultimately allows for more control.how-to-contour-make-up-studio-lush-cincinnatiNicole also says that some makeup artists prefer to work with the darker colors of eye shadow first, but she prefers working with lighter colors first.

“It’s a lot easier to go from light to dark then vice-versa.”

After getting the perfect gradient on my upper lids, she used an angled brush and used dark eyeshadow as a liner for my bottom lash line.

“Using dark eyeshadow creates a much softer line than if I were to use liquid liner, ” Nicole mentions. 

And if the eyebrows weren’t enough, there’s this picture of the process. You have to love it!countouring-make-up-eyes-before-and-afterAfter stopping to snap the above picture, Nicole then lined my bottom inner eyelids with a white pencil.

Nicole says a lot of makeup artists tend to shy away from white eyeliner, but she suggests using it to line your inner lower lids (also known as your water line) because it helps brighten up the eye area. For this she used the NYX Waterproof Retractable Eyeliner in White. 

Then to line the top lids, she used the NYX Epic Black Mousse Liner.make-up-brushes-for-contouring-allIt was then time to focus on applying foundation. Nicole suggests using one that is one to two shades darker than your actual skin tone because there are always undertones you have to take into consideration. Think pinks and yellows. 

The trick to make the darker foundation blend into the skin is to take it past the face, blending it into the neck. Nicole used Skin Tint Crème III N by Mirabella. 

To apply the foundation, she used around a 1″ brush. It’s literally like painting. When I asked her why she didn’t use a sponge, she said it’s because they’re almost too absorbent. With a brush, a little foundation goes a long way. She also noted that if you’re going to splurge, it should be on foundation because just like using the make-up brush, a good foundation will last you a lot longer because you don’t have to use much to get wonderful coverage. contouring-with-concealerAfter applying the foundation, Nicole went back in and added concealer to the areas that would normally catch light and added another layer under the eyes almost like an upside-down triangle again. The forehead above the eyebrows and top of nose were also highlighted. 

Then she used NYX HD Finishing Powder in Banana to add additional highlights on my cheeks and under my eyes to bake. 

If you’re not sure what baking is (it’s okay, I didn’t know either!), it’s where you allow finishing powder to sit on the skin and then it gets dusted off 5-10 minutes later. Not only does it set your makeup, but it adds highlights to the areas that should appear lighter and brighter. 

POPSUGAR wrote a nice explanation about it if you want more details.contouring-shadows-how-toFor the next step, Nicole used a darker contouring cream by NYX and starting at the hairline, she drew lines that would then be blended into the rest of my makeup using a beauty blender bud to help define the cheek bones. 

After, she dusted a little of the NYX ‘Strobe of Genius’ Illuminating powder from the palette  over my face. 

The next product she used was blush by NYX  — which she suggests sweeping from the apples of your cheeks up to the hairline in an outward motion — keeping in mind also that a little goes a long way.
contouring-using-blush-how-to-nicole-stenger

Hang tight, we’re heading for the finish line! Following the application of the blush, Nicole then moved back up to the eye and applied mascara to the bottom lashes before applying some falsies on the top.

Her preferred mascara is Cover Girl’s Super Sizer Fibers Mascara in Black and for the fake lashes she prefers using Blooming Lashes by Kiss. false-lashes-KISS-blooming-lashesShe recommends this particular style and brand because they appear to be more realistic than most false eyelashes and because of their varying lengths, they appear more fuller and natural.

And then the final (or almost final step) were to play up the lips. She used Mirabella’s Rosey Rouge, then added a touch of gloss on the center of my bottom lip. 

Now here’s a great before and after to really show you how all the steps came together to  create one incredible transformation!Contouring-makeup-with-nicole-before-and-after My eyes! I’m in love with how they pop in the picture below. 
before-after-contouring-with-make-up-cincinnati

side-view-contouring-after

KISS-false-eyelashes-on-looking-down

And a few more photos from our completed contouring tutorial. 

before-after-contouring-studio-lush-cincinnati

countouring-side-angle

contouring-after-how-to

I think this last one is my favorite. 

final-contouring

So there you have it. I definitely learned a lot and hope you did too!