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Soft Sculpting Is The Latest Trend On Contouring

Top makeup artists are ditching the contour palettes with dozens of shades for a simpler, more natural look that will stand the test of time.

By Ashlyn Chak
August 30, 2021

Remember when heavy-handed contouring was all the rage? Merely a couple of years ago, we looked to people like the Kardashians for “IG makeup” looks that come out great in low light settings like bars and nightclubs. We looked like hot, sultry vampires that the camera just adored.

Unfortunately, as with most fond memories, we tend to focus on the good and neglect the bad. Once we went outside in daylight, our cakey — and if you’re bad at blending, like me — and uneven-toned skin made us look more like scary zombies than mysterious vampires.

Beauty trends come and go, but one thing will always remain: to look good and feel good, not only in dimly lit rooms, and definitely not just for social media.

Photo: Makeup By Mario

This is where the latest makeup trend comes in: soft sculpting. Coined by top makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic who created Kim Kardashian’s famous, transformative contour look in the 2010s, soft sculpting is a more light-handed approach that creates a naturally defined facial structure for everyday settings.

Instead of using a whole contour palette with a series of brushes, apply bronzer just above the hollows of the cheeks. Alternatively, you can also use a foundation a few shades darker, which will blend in seamlessly with the rest of your face.

Photo: Charlotte Tillbury

We like to use a little bit of Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Contour Wand and gradually build up for an effortless effect.

It comes with a cushion applicator that dispenses the product evenly, which makes it extremely easy to use. And because of its liquid form, the more lazy ones among us may even be able to blend the lightweight and smooth formula just with our fingers. No brush involved means no brush to wash. We also love that it’s vegan-friendly and not tested on animals.

On the apples of the cheeks, use a creamy, or even liquid highlighter that doesn’t scream “look at me”, but instead lightly illuminates your cheekbones to make it seem like you are simply radiating beauty and grace from within.

Giorgio Armani’s Neo Nude A-Highlight is another liquid product that guarantees a pair of elevated cheekbones with a dewy result that looks and feels natural.

Use the pointed applicator to lighten up the high points of your face as the perfect cherry-on-top for that barefaced “no makeup” makeup trickery. We recommend placements such as the upper cheekbones, temple, brow bones, bridge of nose, as well as the cupid’s bow for a cheeky finish.