I kept on coming across this image (above) while searching for references for another project. I could not find the source but it was eeeeeverywhere. I was so taken by its use of light and dark to sculpt the face.
Whereas traditional contouring and highlighting respectively accentuates the hollows and the high points of the face to add dimension, this dark and light product placement (not to mention the beautiful lighting that accentuates it) serves to visually carve out most of the outside of the face plus key contour areas (like the sides of the nose and right below the center of the lower lip) and then illuminate just the very center of the face.
The technique is dramatic and its effect is stunning.
In the photograph.
But would it be wearable?? Without professional retouching and without perfect lighting… for a full night?
Well, I sat miss Denise down and put it to the test.
Here’s what we used:
NOTE: All makeup products were provided as samples for review or for my use as a professional makeup artist.
We started with a flawless face using It Cosmetics IT-O2 Ultra Repair Liquid Foundation applied with the It Cosmetics Hydra Sponge.
We then SERIOUSLY contoured with the It Cosmetics “My Sculpted Face” Kit. SERIOUSLY. We blended the two darkest shades and applied starting from the traditional contour mark (I like to envision a line that runs from the top of the ear halfway towards the corner of the mouth) but continued downward. So rather than buffing and blending outward to enhance the hollow (like the image on the kit), we buffed and blended bringing the color down towards the jawline (like the image on the reference pic). We added the dark contour to the temples, the sides and tip of the nose and right below the center of the lower lip. To keep the palette monochromatic like our reference, we also popped it onto and around the eyes.
We next layered on the highlight to the tops of the cheekbone, the center of the forehead, the bride of the nose and the center of the chin. To do so, we mixed the highlighters in the kit with the more powerful IT Cosmetics Anti-Aging Radiance Illuminating Powder.
We set the face with It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores.
To further enhance the eyes, we ran Victoria’s Secret Beauty eyeliner in Bright (a matte white) in the waterline and coated lashes in It Cosmetics Hello Lashes.
And to finish but not compete with the look, we glided on Maybelline Color Whisper in Some Like it Taupe.
Without much time to consider whether or not we even liked it, we ran to a party at a pop-up boutique in Soho that we were running late for. In the brighter lights of the shop, it was definitely a strong look. But yet also soft in the shades and the ways they transitioned from dark to light. The best way to describe it would probably be bold but balanced.
Denise kept glancing at the makeup in a mirrored wall and I could tell as she was getting more comfortable with it, she was really liking it.
And I was really liking it too.
We got photographed at the event and also took these snapshots at my place.
And when we looked through the images, that’s when we really started loving it.
The camera loves drama and this look gives it!
Exactly why runway, red-carpet and editorial looks are often seemingly unwearable in real life but phenomenal on camera.
So while it may be more than you’d wear regularly, it’s really fun to experiment with. As I always say with makeup, it’s commitment -free. You can always wash it off.
But I have a strong feeling Denise will recreate the sculpted look. I’m not a betting woman, but I’d put money on that.
Note: This post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased and my own. All makeup products were provided as samples for review or for my use as a professional makeup artist.