How To Get The Most Natural Effect


It’s official—contour has gone mainstream.  It used to be reserved for runway or editorial, where lighting required additional bone structure, or when someone was performing in drag. But now, contouring has made its way into selfies everywhere and you can’t enter a makeup store without seeing a wide range of contour kits. Just take a look at the last few seasons of reality TV or look on YouTube and Instagram.

In real life, if you’re going to contour, you should do it right, otherwise it can look false and awkward. Here are a few tricks to make your contour more realistic and to prevent it from looking drag-queeny or harsh.



Contour is when light and dark shades are used to mimic the effect of light falling on the face, giving shape or a spotlight to a certain area. It is all about enhancing or manipulating facial structure with makeup. The goal is to make it look realistic so it’s not noticeable. Just like filling in the brow or adding lashes, it’s all about illusion and understanding the fundamentals of color, light and texture. Where you place your color on the face will determine what the finished application looks like.



Choose a lighter shade when you want lift. A light color opens something up, brings something out or makes something look larger. The same goes for a product that has shine, sparkle, or shimmer. Lighter colors or a product that reflects light should be used on the higher points of the face or when you need to create an illusion of space. For example, if someone has a short forehead or a flat chin, adding light to an area will produce balance, width or length.

A darker color is going to pull something back and make something appear deeper or smaller. To ensure the best contour, stick with matte textures and use the shimmer shades only for your highlights.



When choosing your contour shade, stay away from colors that are too warm or too red, and avoid using bronzer. You need to choose a color that gives the illusion of an actual shadow. Think of it like the shade from a tree. You want cool tones of taupe, brown-beige, grey, or even a lighter, saturated black. From the lightest to the darkest skin, these cool shades will look like naturally occurring shadows—not makeup. For the most natural contour, use a soft blush shade or a darker pressed powder or foundation. Choosing a product two or three shades darker than your own complexion will achieve the most natural contour.


The correct formula is essential for the perfect contour. Powders will give a more matte finish, while creams will look more dewy. Try combining a powder for contour paired with a cream for highlight. This will soften the line between the shades, and will create a look that leaves everyone thinking this is your natural bone structure.

Do you need sunburns

Okay, the holiday weekend hit, you got too excited, and left the house without sunscreen. Now you’ve got a peeling, red mess on your face and it didn’t even come with a tropical vacation. Here are a few good tips for covering up and treating a gnarly sunburn you can face the next few days without looking like a freak (or worse, an irresponsible sun soaker).


Now that you’ve baked your face, you’ll need to nurse that dry peeling skin back to life– but there’s a catch. Some moisturizing options containing emollients that can be irritating to sunburns and can cause skin to actually heat up during application. Which moisturizers contain emollients? Unfortunately most. However, humectants, which increase the water content in the skin, will help speed up healing and provide relief. Look for moisturizers that contain a high level of humectants such as aloe, glycerin, and lactic acid for less irritation. Try Korres Yoghurt After-Sun Cooling Gel to heal and hydrate the skin!


Mineral makeup such as Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation is the smartest way to go when hiding a burn. Not only is it excellent at covering up uneven tone, but it often contains titanium and zinc which provide added sun protection. Extreme red areas may benefit from a yellow-toned mineral foundation or powder.


The only thing worse than pesky peeling is the lingering redness. Prime the burn with a color correcting concealer like Inglot Cosmetics Green Color Correcting Concealer which will offset the red and make it easier to hide.


It’s never too late to start wearing a little SPF, but chemical sunscreens can be harsh on burnt skin. While chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, physical sunscreens (otherwise known as sun block) create a barrier. Unfortunately, physical options tend to go on thick and leave a white residue on account of the active ingredients– titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. On some complexions, the pale cast of a physical sunblock can look obvious or unwanted, but under makeup it’s hardly noticeable. Rub your sun block in well to avoid white patchy areas, and then color correct by smoothing a liquid, or better yet, a mineral foundation over top for even coverage.


So you got a little sun? Make it count by finishing off with a non-shimmery bronzer that will give you a sunkissed glow and blend the burned areas in so they stand out less. We love the Cover FX Bronzer to smooth skin texture and add color without leaving a sparkling after effect. Now, go heal.

New Loose Eye Shadow Colors

If there’s one thing I know about Sugarpill’s intensely pigmented loose eye shadows, it’s this: you can’t have too many of them. Just hearing that Sugarpill had come out with new shades filled me with an instantaneous shadow-lust, and once I got my claws on them, you know I was in the bathroom for hours trying everything on. The color payoff is stupendous, and at $13 – $14 a pop (and vegan, too!), these eye shadow jars are more than generously sized. Check out some of the popular new shades below!

This is a 60’s pink babydoll nightgown of a color! It’s sparkly, too, but subtly so. Once on my (white girl) eyelids, Charmy looks fairly natural, if my natural state involved “glimmery angel skin.” I brushed this color on up to my crease and went about my day. No one said, “Whoa that is a crazy color, Krista!” at work, but the guy who fills the soda machine said I had “nice eyes” and he usually won’t even say hello, so I’m chalking it up to the charms of Charmy.

Goooood name. Countess is a warm, eggplant color with tiny flecks of aqua glints, and let me tell you: the color payoff is HUGE. One swipe of Countess and my lids were saturated with color. It’s a sexy, evil-looking color to wear out at night, and I used it to make a smoky eye with a purplish twist. My girlfriend stole this one from me immediately. I recognized it on her eyelids when she played a show with her band, two nights after I first tried it. OH I’M GETTING IT BACK, trust.

Hot, shimmery turquoise! Hug Life is a like a day by the pool in Palm Springs inside a little pot. It’s almost green, and the shimmer really does look like a pool on a vintage postcard. This would be fabulous if you were going for a 70’s disco after-dark look.

HOT DAMN. The moment I saw this outrageously shiny metallic copper, I yelled, “WHERE’S MY DURALINE?” and tore my makeup bag apart looking for the makeup product that could take Penelope to the next level. If you don’t already know: Inglot’s Duraline can transform any loose powder into an eyeliner, and that’s what I did with this super glimmery copper. Twenty seconds later, I had copper cat eyes that would not quit. Penelope is hotttttt.

Holy Ghost | $13 | Shop it

Master a Flawless Finish

If you’ve ever gazed at photos of celebrities on the red carpet and pined for their perfect skin, you’re not alone. Even with the priciest products on the market, it can be tricky to get the seamless, second-skin finish that we’re all after. Fortunately for us, TEMPTU has changed the game with TEMPTU Air, the cordless airbrush makeup device that puts streak-free skin perfection in everyone’s hands—no Hollywood glam squad required.

Ready to airbrush like the pros? We put together this quick tutorial to teach you how to apply foundation, concealer, blush, contour, bronzer, and highlighter using the TEMPTU Air system and Airpod Makeup. (If you need a basic breakdown of the TEMPTU Air device and its controls, see our Getting Started guide.)

  1. Insert your shade of Airpod Foundation into the TEMPTU Air.
  2. Tap the power button to set the TEMPTU Air at Speed 2.. We recommend this speed for foundation, blush, bronzer, and contour.
  3. Hold the TEMPTU Air about four fingers (or three inches) from your skin.
  4. Using a very light touch, gently pull back the SoftTouch Control as you move the device in small circular motions over your face.
  5. Check your skin between passes and continue to build up coverage in light layers if needed. We recommend:
    • One to two passes for sheer coverage
    • Two to three passes for medium coverage
    • Three to four passes for full coverage

How to spot conceal with Airpod Foundation

  1. To conceal blemishes, dark spots, or other small imperfections, insert Airpod Foundation into the TEMPTU Air.
  2. Tap the power button to set the TEMPTU Air at Speed 1. We recommend this speed for detail work and targeted areas.
  3. Hold the TEMPTU Air about ½ inch from your skin.
  4. Gently pull back the SoftTouch Control to release a small blast of makeup.
  5. Check your skin between passes and continue to build up coverage in light layers if needed.

Guide to Cleaning Your Natural Brushes

You’ve probably heard how important it is to clean your makeup brushes regularly. But did you know that brushes with natural bristles (such as goat, squirrel, or fitch) should be treated differently than their synthetic counterparts? Though natural brushes normally shed when you first use them, with proper maintenance, you can minimize shedding and help your brushes stay soft and supple for years to come. Keep reading for a rundown on the best way to clean and care for your natural brushes.

Between Makeup Applications
Washing your natural brushes too frequently can damage their delicate bristles. Keep them clean and conditioned between uses with these tips:

1. Wipe off any excess product onto a microfiber towel. Fine, natural hair is not very porous, so it should release pigment easily.

2. Spot clean with a no-rinse spray cleanser, such as BeautySoClean Conditioning Brush Spray. This step is crucial if you’re a makeup artist or have oily, acne-prone skin. BeautySoClean uses food-grade alcohol to gently sanitize your brush and emollients to keep the hairs soft between washings.

Bi-monthly Bathtime
Deep clean your natural brushes every 1-2 months with a gentle brush shampoo. We recommend Clean Apothecary Brush Shampoo, a line of solid cleansers formulated with coconut and essential oils to banish dirt, oil, makeup, and bacteria—all without stripping your brushes. (Pro tip: Clean Apothecary Brush Shampoos can also be used on synthetic brushes and sponges.) Bathe your brushes by following these steps:

1. Wet the bristles under lukewarm running water, angling downward to ensure that the metal ferrule of the brush doesn’t get wet. Water in your brush’s ferrule can eventually break down the glue holding the handle and the bristles together.

2. Swish the wet brush directly into Clean Apothecary Brush Shampoo to create a delicate lather.

3. Continue to swish the wet, foamy bristles gently in the palm of your clean hand. You’ll begin to see makeup pigment release.

4. Rinse the brush just like you did in the first step, pointing the brush tip downward under lukewarm running water. Use your fingers to gently move the hair around to ensure that all makeup and soap has been rinsed clean.

Creative Cat Eye Looks

If Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Amy Winehouse are any indication, the classic cat eye has been trending for decades. And although we love a simple, unfussy flick, there are many ways to up the drama factor and take your basic eyeliner wing to new heights. To give you some inspiration, we came up with three creative versions of cat-eye makeup using Inglot Cosmetics AMC Eyeliner Gel, a pigmented, long-wearing gel eyeliner that dries to a budge-proof matte finish. If you’re itching to break out of your liner rut, give these fearless looks a try.

Need to brush up on the basics? Check out our step-by-step tutorial for an easy way to master simple winged eyeliner. 

This look is striking in a subtle way, and it’s surprisingly easy to pull off. First, use an eyeliner brush, like Wayne Goss Brush 08, to apply basic winged eyeliner to your upper lid. Next, draw a thinner, smaller wing on your lower lashline. It should extend straight out from the center of your lower lashes. Use a pointed cotton swab dipped in Bioderma Sensibio H20 to clean up any rough edges (a handy trick to try with any of these looks).

This sultry statement look, an homage to Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, brings all the attention to your eyes. Start by tightlining your upper and lower eyelids, and then apply eyeliner to your upper and lower lashlines. Connect the upper and lower eyeliner with a wing that extends from the outer corner of your eye. It should angle up towards the end of your eyebrow. Using a fine-tipped eyeliner brush, like Wayne Goss Brush 20, trace along the inner corner of your eye to finish with a sharp point.

Highlight and Contouring Palette $30 | shop it

To the true beauty beginner, contouring can seem downright scary. The idea behind the popular technique, however, is actually pretty simple. Contouring is really just the process of using light- and dark-toned makeup to enhance your natural features. And while it may take some practice to get Kardashian-level killer cheekbones, it’s easy to add some subtle definition to your makeup look—if you have the right tools. To help you get started, we rounded up some of our favorite contour kits, beloved by first-timers and pro artists alike. (For extra help, check out our basic contouring guide.)

If you’re not familiar with RCMA, the one thing you need to know about the brand is that the products—designed for pros—are unlike anything you’ve used before. They’re super pigmented, so a little (seriously, a little!) goes a long way. This cream-based, five-color foundation palette includes a wide range of shades, so anyone can custom-blend the perfect contour and highlight shades for their skin tone. (Read our guide to the RCMA foundation system for more information.)


Anastasia Contour Kit

The Anastasia Contour Kit became an instant cult favorite the day it was released—and for good reason. This palette includes six pressed powders that, when combined, can be used to create a variety of looks ranging from simple to dramatic. Even better, it comes in three colorways (Light to Medium, Medium to Tan, and Tan to Deep) with warm, cool, and neutral highlight and contour shades, so it’s a fair bet for all skin tones. Whether you’ve been contouring for years or just a few days, this palette is both comprehensive and fun to use.

This bronzer-highlighter duo isn’t just gorgeous to look at—it’s one of our all-time favorite contouring kits. Why? The intensely pigmented, smooth-as-silk formulas work on any skin tone. The bronzer isn’t too red or orange, and the highlighter gives off a soft, subtle glow. The product may look shimmery in the pan, but once it goes on the skin, it leaves behind the most beautiful pearlescent finish. For the ultimate application, try it with the Charlotte Tilbury Powder Sculpt Brush.

Find The New Foundation Powered

If you’re a fan of Sisleÿa, the breakthrough anti-aging line beloved by beauty connoisseurs around the world, we’ve got big news for you. Sisley-Paris, the French luxury brand known for their plant-based skin care formulations, has debuted a new foundation that combines the tried-and-true anti-aging technology of Sisleÿa with lightweight, luminous coverage that looks and feels like real skin.

Sisleÿa Le Teint targets the skin at two levels to bring out a radiant, youthful complexion: instantly and over time. When first applied, Le Teint immediately blurs imperfections, evens skin tone, and imparts a natural, soft-focus glow with light-diffusing mica and hectorite. It feels noticeably weightless on the skin with a long-lasting, satin-like finish that’s never cakey or heavy.

With regular use, Sisleÿa Le Teint works like the most effective anti-aging cream you’ve ever used. Powered by the same botanical complex used in other Sisleÿa products, it targets the three types of aging (environmental, genetic, and behavioral) to visibly smooth, firm, and plump skin throughout the day. Think fewer fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, increased radiance, and bouncier, more youthful skin. A foundation that does more than just make our skin look flawless? Sign us up.

To see more before-and-after photos featuring Beauty Professor and TrendMood, check out our Sisleÿa Le Teint page. If you need help choosing a shade or want to learn more about this foundation, schedule a personalized consultation with one of our beauty advisors.

The Sensual Skin Enhancer

Kevyn Aucoin’s The Sensual Skin Enhancer is one of the beauty world’s all-stars and a serious multitasker to boot. If you haven’t heard of it, this powerful little pot contains a highly pigmented, cream-based skin perfector that can be used as a foundation, concealer, tinted moisturizer, highlighter, and more. Its incredible staying power and intense pigmentation have made it the buzz of the beauty industry for years. Hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil and honey deliver a dewy finish that’s never dry or cakey, and it’s available in 16 shades to accommodate a wide range of skin tones.

Though it’s a mainstay in many pro makeup artists’ kits, The Sensual Skin Enhancer can be a little tricky for beginners to master. That’s why we put together a tutorial to help you use this all-in-one hero product to create natural-looking flawless skin in just a few steps. Say goodbye to your usual foundation and concealer routine, and read on to discover why The Sensual Skin Enhancer is one product we’ll never be without.


Create a Sheer Foundation

The Sensual Skin Enhancer can be mixed with moisturizer to customize coverage depending on your needs. We’ll start with a sheer, lightweight base to even out the skin and blur any major texture or tone issues.

Measure out half of a pea-sized amount of The Sensual Skin Enhancer and a pea-sized amount of a creamy moisturizer, such as Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré. Mix the two on a palette or another clean surface to create a sheer-coverage base. For more coverage, you can increase the amount of The Sensual Skin Enhancer, but we recommend starting with this 1:2 ratio.

How to Create with Natasha Denonas Star Palette

Natasha Denona’s Star Palette might be one of our favorite holiday releases this year, and it’s not hard to see why. With its mix of cool and warm shades and four gorgeous finishes (Metallic, Creamy Matte, Duo-Chrome, and new Crystal), this is an eye shadow palette that truly works for everyone—no matter your style or skin tone. It’s also incredibly easy to use, thanks to a unique design that allows you to create a complete eye look with each row. Of course, you can also mix and match the shades however you choose—the possibilities are almost endless. To get the inspiration flowing, we asked Natasha to share some of her favorite looks to create with the Star Palette. See her picks and learn how to recreate them below.

Getting Started

To start, Natasha smoothed a thin layer of Lifting Primer Anti-Aging Serum over her model’s skin. She then applied Face Glow Foundation in 20 – Light Beige with #22 Large Foundation Brush, buffing in circles until the coverage looked even and seamlessly blended. She tapped a small amount of Eye Light Highlighting Concealer in Shade 2 under the eyes to conceal any darkness, and then applied Eye Shadow Base in 01 Light to the lids.


To create this crystal-tinged smoky eye, Natasha used only three shades. She blended Earth 102 CM, a dark chocolate brown, from the center of the lid to the outer V of the eye. She added Supernova 114 DC, a silvery duochrome, to the center of the lid and Polaris 116 K, a white gold with a crystal finish, in the inner corner. We’ll be wearing this easy, eye-catching look to all our holiday parties this season.

This striking, editorial-inspired eye looks like it came straight off of the runway. Natasha applied Electra 115 CM over the entire lid, blending up into the brows, out towards the hairline, and into the lower lashline. She then added Rhea 118 M, a metallic peach gold, to the center of the lid for a halo effect before smudging it into the inner corner of the eye and the center of the lower lashline. She blended Phoenix 113 CM, a matte brick red, into the crease and used Vega 111 CM, a matte tea rose, as her transition shade.