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How to achieve a natural looking contour

We asked L.A. makeup artist Melissa Alatorre to share her tips on creating soft, subtle contours with our best-selling Cream Contour KitABH: Getting great contour results has a lot to do with prep work. What steps do you take to ensure a flawless finish every time?Melissa Alatorre: Whenever you’re using the Contour Cream Kit, you want to make sure that your complexion is really hydrated. I also like to apply a sheer, light-coverage foundation first to even out my skintone. This allows the cream contours to glide on and give you extra coverage. When I’m ready for contour, my trick is to scoop the product from the palette and warm it up on the back of my hand instead of applying it directly to my skin. This helps break down the formula and give it a creamier consistency. It also allows the contour to adhere better to skin, and leave a dewier, more natural-looking finish.ABH: Once you’re prepped, what’s your application strategy?Melissa Alatorre: People tend to get overwhelmed by applying contour and highlighter strokes at the same time! I like to do them separately, and adjust the color afterwards. This technique enables allows you to get a more precise look. First, I use my fingers to smooth highlighter on, then I blend it out with a BeautyBlender. Afterward, I do the contour shading to define the jawline and cheekbones. For the most natural-looking finish, I’ll go back in and add more highlighter wherever I need it. I prefer to use a feathering motion with a dual fiber brush to blend contour out. Spritzing it with a setting spray such as M.A.C.’s Fix+ first helps give the formula mobility and soften any visible edges.ABH: How do you determine which shades to use?Melissa Alatorre: For a really customized look, I combine colors from the Light and Medium Contour Cream Kits. You could use the two darkest shades in the Medium (Cinnamon and Chocolate) and the two lightest in the Light Kit (Banana and Vanilla) for a summery, bronzed look. The key to using extreme shades is to make sure that you also do your neck so they’re all the same tone! I always blend color our towards the chest and shoulders to give it a realistic, sun-kissed glow.ABH: Once you’ve finished, do you need to set the contour?Melissa Alatorre: I like to sweep a little translucent setting powder over the highlighted areas, since you don’t need any more color, and use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit (the medium taupe brown) shade over contour to blend the bronze tones. It’s a great day-to-day look that can also work for evening when you want to look more refined.

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