The Art of Contour at Make Up Forever

Over the weekend I attended MakeUp Forever’s “The Art of Contour” Seminar instructed by Erin Mc Carthy. Erin is also a sculptor who attended the Make Up Forever Academy in France with Dany Sanz.

She really approached her model from an artists’ perspective; applying her base shades with dot and slash strokes to focus on defining specific facial planes. She made tons of references to Plato, Michelangelo and Picasso when measuring symmetry and balance.

I took so many notes on my phone. I learn best by being present during classes, taking notes and hands-on practice. I’ll try to summarize some of the highlights below:

  • To Elongate areas use vertical strokes
  • To Widen areas use horizontal strokes
  • Best to work while in front of a mirror. Keep looking at model straight ahead. Step back. Really take time to evaluate the face
  • Fill in/highlight for volume
  • Better to use extreme contrast than medium shades
  • Medium shades will be used to blend after base
  • Anywhere you put a highlight, contour
  • Tap products into the face with a brush or sponge don’t blend. Blending will move the contour/highlight
  • She used the pan stick for base; but, blended with Face & Body
  • Everything was set using the Sculpting Kit and Loose Matte Powders

Main Products Used (all Make Up Forever Products)

  • Pan Stick Foundations (Oil based)
  • Lift Concealers
  • Face and Body
  • Sculpting Kit #2 (Most Neutral)
  • Aqua brow (for eyebrows and eyeliner)
  • HD Primer (blue for brightening)
I remember a long-time ago someone told me that male makeup artist are often sought after because they are better at contouring. You are more than welcome to disagree; but, I think that can be a fair statement. Contouring and highlighting are theater makeup techniques; but, when done in moderation can offer a slight but impactful change to a face.

To say the class was great, would be an understatement. I observed Erin transform her model by using some new approaches to contouring. After class, I started researching art classes in my area. Studying balance, symmetry and shadows will definitely aid me in becoming a better professional contour-er.