By Sheila Arkee
Being of Iranian ancestry with some Armenian (and other middle eastern countries) thrown in for good measure, it has been a thrill to see people with similar backgrounds represented on TV. Although I’ll keep my comments and judgment about Shahs of Sunset and Keeping Up With The Kardashians to myself, I really love that the cast members of these shows are working the smoky eyes and pretty makeup.
One thing that “Persian Barbie” Lilly Ghalichi and her Armenian counterpart Kim Kardashian have in common is a heavily highlighted and contoured face along with the aforementioned glamorous smoky eyes and glossy pink lips.
If you look closely at the photos of Lilly and Kim, you’ll notice that the highlighting and contouring serve the purpose of framing their faces and bringing attention to the centers of their faces. This is technique that is also employed by drag performers, as demonstrated in this photo of drag queen Alexis Mateo. Yes, I do take makeup notes during RuPaul’s Drag Race!
This technique is employed so often in drag because it softens up harsh angles typically found in men and adds dimension where light removes dimensions in photos. On women it makes for a totally glamorous effect, and while it’s not something you’d typically wear on a nature walk (or maybe you would, who am I to judge?). This is contouring and highlighting the extreme version.
To show you why contouring and highlighting is important, let me take you on a trip down memory’s lane to my mid-1990’s Glamour Shots experience. Oh, yes.
At the tender age of 15, I remember being so very excited to get my hair and makeup done, only to be paired with the most complaining makeup artist of all time ever. You name it, she complained about it – her feet hurting, the weather, my 5 o’clock shadow (true story). Looking back at the photos, I should have complained about her making my nose look like a potato!!! A little contouring would have made a world of difference in the finished results.
Remember these two very important things about sculpting your face: LIGHT brings forward, DARK receeds.
Apply highlighting products on the high planes of the face – the areas most likely to naturally be hit by light, such as:
– the bridge of the nose
– tops of the cheekbones
– on top of your brows
– the cupid’s bow
– the space right underneath the lower lip
Apply contouring products:
– on the temples of your forehead
– down the sides of your nose
– directly underneath your cheekones
– on your jawline
Now, let’s dive in to the step-by-step, with a little before-and-after action!
Before, not a stich of makeup on my face.
After, ready for my close-up!
Step 1: Apply your foundation as you normally would, but hold up on powdering down your face.
Step 2: Get your highlighting and concealing on! There are a variety of product you can use for both purposes. Some people prefer using powders, I tend towards using cream product that blend in easily and last a long time. The key, however, is to use shimimer-free products that are several shades lighter and darker than your skin tone.
For this tutorial I used Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer in Brightener/Illuminator for the Highlight, and Hourglass Illume Crème-to-Powder Bronzer Duo in Bronze Light for the bronzer. This would make a good online dating profile photo, no?
Step 3: Using soft brushes, blend out your hghlighting and contouring products and set with a translucent powder. Blend, blend, blend!
Step 4: Add blush and lips, and you’re set to move on to eyes! For the final product I decided to use another gloss,this one wasn’t happening for me.
Step 5: Prime your lids with eyeshadow primer, and use a flat brush (MAC #242) to pat in the lid color.
Step 6: Blend out harsh edges with a soft, fluffy brush.
Step 7: Add color to the lower lid with a pencil brush.
Step 8: Add a darker color to the crease and use a clean brush to wipe away any harsh edges
Step 9: Use a soft brush to add color to the browbone and inside of the eye.
Step 10: And you’re set!