I love the idea of contouring and how it looks but I never really do it on myself, I just sweep a bit of bronzer under my cheekbones and then put highlighter all over and think I’ve contoured. Obviously this is not how to contour properly and it’s no wonder that it doesn’t do anything to define my features and my face doesn’t look any different!
I always just use one shade from my bronzer too, but apparently you need a few shades of different depths to define your features properly and I was fed up with trying to master it myself, so I set out looking for a contour kit that would have everything I needed in one so I had no excuse but to start doing it properly!
I came across the Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit and it looked like a convenient palette with everything I’d need so I thought I’d give it a try. I was unsure about the shades at first, as I have a really pale complexion, so I did a few swatches of the tester and they didn’t seem too dark so I just trusted the kit and bought it anyway!
I love convenient palettes like this with everything you need in one place, as I love having my make-up organised and neat. I find palettes really pleasing and easy to use as you don’t have to keep getting out different products and it makes your make-up routine easier and quicker. I bought it for £6.49 and considering it contains three powders I think that’s amazing value!
The kit itself is really convenient as not only does it have all the different shades you need, but it also has a ‘how to’ guide in the lid with a three–step instruction. I found this really helpful as I wanted to learn how to do it properly and find a way that’s right for me so this was a great addition to the palette.
The kit contains three powders: a light powder to highlight, a medium brown to bronze and a dark brown to sculpt. The colours are all really wearable, especially for me as I have pale skin and worry about bronzers looking too ‘muddy’ or ‘reddish’ in tone — but these colours were all suitable for me and work really well together.
The light powder to highlight I would say is a soft ivory with a subtle sheen. It’s very light on me and although I use it to highlight, I do go over it with my own highlighters to add a little more shimmer. But that’s just because I love a really shimmery highlight!
None of the powders are shimmery, which is perfect for contouring as matte usually looks best for creating natural ‘shadows’ in the hollow parts of the face and the dark powders in this palette are perfect for this. But I prefer a highlighter to have a lot of shimmer to really catch the light and highlight the ‘high points’ of the face as though how it would look if the sun was naturally hitting it, and that’s why I like to add a little more shimmer over the light powder to achieve this.
Next up is the medium brown to bronze. This is my favourite in the palette as I just love the colour of this and it really compliments my skin tone and is also the perfect shade as an overall bronzer for me.
The dark brown to sculpt is quite a cool toned, ashy brown and it doesn’t have any reddish tones in it which I usually find is the case with dark brown bronzing powders.
I found all three powders really pigmented, bendable and easy to contour with. The main thing to remember with contouring is that blending is key; you need to spend time buffing the powder in to really work the colours and blend them into each other, so the result is seamless with no harsh lines or streaks.
But honestly, I found the powders in this kit so easy to blend and work with!
How To Use:
I follow the technique in the guide, but I actually prefer to apply the products in a different order! So I’ve wrote out the steps of the contouring process I do, using the same technique but just in an order that’s easier for me:
Step 1 begins with the highlighter in the guide, but I actually prefer to do this last. So I begin with using the dark brown to sculpt by applying to the hollows of my cheeks blending up towards my ears, along the hairline and down the sides of the nose. I also sweep it lightly on my jaw line and under my chin. This is to exaggerate the natural shadows on the face to add definition and dimension.
Step 2 Next I use the medium brown to bronze by sweeping across my cheeks (actually on the cheeks and under where the highlighter is to be put), centre of the forehead and down the nose.
Step 3 Lastly, I sweep the light powder across the cheekbones, on the chin and down the centre of the nose working up to the centre of the forehead to accentuate the ‘high points’ of the face.
Left to Right: Light, Medium, Dark
As I’ve mentioned before, the key here is to blend and I apply the medium and dark browns with the Real Techniques Contour Brush and buff and blend with a fluffy brush, and I use the Bare Minerals Flawless face brush for that.
For the light powder and powder highlighters in general, I use the Models Own Powder brush as it’s just the right size to apply and blend on the cheekbones and down the nose evenly.
I also went on the Barry M site and watched their contouring tutorial using this kit. It’s a really detailed and thorough step–by–step tutorial which I found so helpful! You can watch it here if you need a little help like I did! The tutorial also shows how to blend the dark brown colour into the eye socket to define the eye area — something I never really do but should — as it really works to make the eyes ‘pop’ even when wearing hardly any eye make-up.
I must point out that the picture below shows how I have used the product using all three shades, but I have also added my own highlighter by sweeping it across my cheekbones for added shimmer. So the shimmer you can see on my cheekbones is from my own highlighter as a finishing touch, as this is how I would do my make-up using the kit by combining it with a more shimmery highlighter.
Overall, I am just so impressed with this kit! I was so pleased with the shades and that they suited my pale complexion as that’s what I am most worried about with contouring — that it could end up looking too dark and obvious on me! But this created the perfect contoured look I was after and it’s so easy to use too — it doest become an effort to try to contour anymore — and I actually enjoy doing it!