But Seriously, Though — Should You Be Contouring with a Cool or Warm Shade?

We'll let my boyfriend decide for all of makeup-using humankind.
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Publish date:
March 29, 2016
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contouring, Makeup Geek, Contour Powder

I feel like the beauty industry has driven contouring into the ground. Like, how many more tips and tricks and how-to videos can be made without rehashing the same things in different ways?

So, don't hate me — we're going to talk about contouring today because there actually is something new. Warm vs. cool-toned contour. The general concept is if you are warm-toned, use a warm contour color, and if you are cool-toned, use something cool.

I'm more accustomed to contouring with a cool-toned color because I've always been in the shadows aren't orange camp — which is still a really good reason to not contour with a sparkly, oompa-loompa-orange bronzer. But what about a product made with contouring in mind that isn't a cool, gray-toned brown?

Let Makeup Geek Contour Powders enter the ring: eight contour powders in porcelain, light, medium, and dark with a warm and cool for each.

I was particularly interested in testing warm vs. cool contour on my face because I've always gone for cool, but I have more of a neutral to warm undertone. Let's find out which color will reign supreme!

Makeup Geek was kind enough to send me most of their contour powders to show you the range of colors, which is great because DIFFERENT SKIN-TONE COLORS. Like, YES. Obviously there should be more options of contour colors for people across the whole skin-tone spectrum that want to get their Kontour on.

I decided to half-and-half my face with the warm and cool-toned contours in the lightest colors, obviously.

For reference this is my face with makeup done, a bit of highlight and blush, but no contour or bronzer.

I applied the cool-toned contour first. I whacked it on with the Real Techniques Contour Brush way heavier than I would on your average day so you can see what's going on.

When applying a contour, I do a pretty short line starting from the center of my ear, which is right under my cheekbone, and end it to match up with the end of my eyebrow. Like, if I were to draw a line straight down from the end of my brow that is where I want my contour to end. This emphases and slightly raises my cheekbones but doesn't carve out the apples of my cheeks because my cheeks do that just fine on their own.

I apply more contour powder to my forehead because there's more space, a tiny stripe on the sides of the end of my nose, and under my jawline to sharpen things up and so that the end result isn't uneven with just cheekbones whacking out at you and nothing else.

Here, I have both contour colors on without blending; you can really see the difference in color. The warm color seems much more obvious to me right off the bat.

All blended, in it is much harder to tell the difference from straight on.

The cool side seems to give a more realistic look at carving out my cheekbone. But I'm also biased because I'm just used to the way that a cool-toned contour looks on my face because that is what I've always used.

The warm side is less dramatic; the color seems to blend seamlessly into my skin giving a more natural look. I'm surprised (and glad) that it didn't look like I tried to contour with bronzer.

I asked my boyfriend which side of my makeup he thought looked better. Right off the bat, he chose the warm side. But apparently it was a really stressful decision because he took it back and then I had to say, no it's not about my eye makeup, no it's not about my blush, etc. After he was done having no clue what I was talking about, I gave him the gist of the whole thing and he still chose the warm side. He said it looked brighter and healthier than the other side.

As for me, I say warm contour works on warm skin tones. I think for daytime, with my neutral to warm skin tone, a warm-toned contour is much more subtle, but I do feel like it would look weird on someone with a strong cool undertone. I think I'll keep my cool-toned contour for night or for when I'm feeling particularly dramatic anyway because mega-dramatic cheekbones are always cool in my book.

Do you have opinions on contour color? Because before trying a warm toned contour I had some OPINIONS. Let me know in the comments and I'll just eat my humble pie.