Sick of Contouring? Let's Start Using Bronzer the Old-Fashioned Way

The key to making this look work now is to upgrade your products and pray you've gotten better at blending than you were in high school.
Publish date:
March 14, 2016
bronzer, shimmer, Kevyn Aucoin, contouring

I'm bored of contouring.

Look, I get it, sometimes you want to sharpen your cheekbones for battle and get that angular-AF look. There's a reason that House Kardashian has built an empire on unnatural looks using natural colors. It's cool. But heavy contour hit mass cultural saturation like two years ago, and it's far past time to move on if I want to retain my hipster cred.

Still, contour palettes keep getting matte-r and cooler-toned for that peak don't-mess-with-me look. Meanwhile, your shimmery, orange bronzer that you overdid it with in high school remembers you, and it wants you to come home.

I've been applying contouring products like it's 2005 again, and I've gotta say, maybe we weren't totally wrong.

The key to making this look work in 2016 is to upgrade your products (and, y'know, pray you've gotten better at blending). Choose a bronzer or contour powder that's slightly warmer-toned than your skin without veering into Tang territory. I like Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Bronzing Veil in Tropical Days because it combines a matte bronzer and a champagne highlighter together in a gradient so you can blend them and control the amount of shimmer you get.

So here's how you're gonna do it: swirl a soft, fluffy brush around the entire pan, picking up the shimmer with the bronzer. Yes, with. I said WITH. Blend it across the apples of your cheeks, instead of into the hollows under your cheekbones.

Then, using whatever product is left on your brush, sweep it across the bridge of your nose — not the tip, like if you're getting cutesy with your blush — right about where you would normally get sunburned, if that's a thing that happens to you.

Then blend a little more onto your temples and neck to make it look like you're just naturally this glowy. This method of application wams up my entire face and solves that sad-gray-faced-biracial-girl look I get when I've gone too long without seeing the sun.

Last step? Revel in how fresh and glowy you look. Look how not-receding-into-the-distance your cheeks are! Remember full cheeks? Those were cute.

I'm not saying you have to give up traditional contour forever, but here's a side-by-side (OK, one on top of the other) using the same bronzer with a traditional highlight-and-contour routine, and then the application I just described. It might become your new favorite way to switch up your look, too.

  • What's your favorite way to use contour powder?
  • Who has pictures of themselves looking way too orange as a youth? Lucky for me, all traces of my terrible blending skills have been erased.