Contouring: It’s like magic, and very few people are able to do it right the first time. Like all the spells in Harry Potter, you need to practice it in order to get good. While some people are Hermiones, able to polyjuice potion their way into a whole new look easily and without trouble (no matter how advanced the spell), others are like Ron when he’s struggling to get his wingardium leviosa off the ground. Fortunately, like Ron, practice makes perfect. These people are in the Ron Weasley stage of their makeup attempts, but they won’t be forever… We hope. While Ron got through it with hardwork and a little help from his friends, not all of us are going to be so lucky.
By the looks of it, very few of these people have those benefits. It’s definitely for the worst, as we’ve found few cases that are more concerning than these contour jobs. Not only do we have folks who don’t seem to understand what the job of contour is, we’ve also got people who’ve gone way too far in the other direction. Over-the-top contour is almost as bad as messy blush contour. While we’re not saying that they’re the worst at makeup (it takes a certain level of skill and confidence to even attempt contour, after all) we are saying that they’ve got a few more swish-and-flick practice sessions to get that blending down.
16 "If They Stare At My Eyes The Whole Time No One Will Notice My Contour"
We’re going to start with a contour job that isn’t the worst, but definitely isn’t the best. When a superstar has access to a stylist, makeup team, and the best products out there and can’t get contouring right, you know that it’s a tricky thing to master. While we’re sure that it doesn’t look quite so bad from far away, when we’re looking at it up this close, there’s some blatant issues we need to point out. Firstly, the colour. It’s just a little too orange toned to actually work. You might remember this trend from popular TV shows: a little bit of spray tan and a foundation that’s a shade too dark for pale skin can heed some orange results.
If that’s the look you’re going for, great! Keep it up! But overall we’re willing to bet that that wasn’t the goal here. Not to mention how the highlights on her face are too white compared to all that bronzed contour. It’s just missing the mark on a few different levels, which is why we put it closer to our “acceptable” end of the contour mishap spectrum. Don’t get us started on the eye makeup, though. Those lashes pop, and we’re absolutely in love with how mesmerizing her eyes are!
15 Looking Less Chic and More... Streak
Let’s talk about the truly dangerous risk of contouring: streaks. This contour job looks like the before photo in a contour how-to. It’s not wrong, and it’s certainly not bad, but it’s absolutely not anyway to step out of the house. Contouring is best done by adding colours to your face using various shades and tints of products, and then blending them together in a way that captures and accentuates the highlights and shadows of your face. This makes you look more angular, and gives you the ability to show off your beautiful bone structure a little more. We’re pretty confident that she didn’t get the memo on that, though. Her cheeks are popping, but only because they’ve got some very dark streaks on them. That’s definitely not the type of accentuating-shadow work we were thinking about! Not to mention how we’re pretty sure the contour is supposed to go under the cheekbone, not on the cheekbone. While this could just be the angle of her head, we’re pretty sure that that contour is being used in place of blush. Which is a definite no in the world of contour! This is surprising, as we’re sure we’ve seen some good contour looks on this woman. Maybe it was just an off day…
14 This Looks Like A Snapchat Filter Gone Rogue
Oh no. Oh, no no no. This is definitely an exaggerated example of contour. The way that those colours just feel a little too dark and a little too light to be regular makeup is a sign that this photo is probably edited, making the contouring stand out even more. It’s definitely a bit of a mishap to photoshop contouring of your face on top the contour you already did on your face. Not to mention how the contour is just a little bit too dark.
While contouring doesn’t exactly look natural, it is supposed to accentuate what you naturally have.
It’s just not possible to give yourself a new nose using makeup and have it look natural. This person doesn’t quite get that, as they’ve decided to restructure basically everything. Not to mention those eyebrows! While the shaping of them is good, they’re a little too dark to look like they fit properly. It’s overpowering those beautiful eyes, and making that lip colour lose its pop. If you want our advice, we’d recommend going lighter on the contour, adding some highlight on the jaw, going lighter on the brows, and making those highlights a little sparkly. Not only would the sparkle add some depth, but it would accentuate those gorgeous eyes too!
13 These Look More Like Sideburns Than Contour...
Remember that first contour jobs we saw on this list? Slowly they’re getting farther and farther away from that semi-reasonable job, and these next few are eyebrow raisers. That is, if this person can raise their eyebrows. It looks like those things are painted on, which could make for a difficult time raising them (especially if they’ve been painted above the natural brow area). We’re not here to talk about eyebrows, though. We’re here to talk about that wild thing known as contour. That magic spell that seems like it takes forever to master. Honestly, it really doesn’t. But when you’re in the learning stages, it might be beneficial to go lighter… Especially if you’re planning on leaving the house in your contour experiment, like this person did. It’s just not working for us, which isn’t necessarily this person’s fault. We’re sure that they did the best they could, and we all know contour has a steep learning curve. This contour did not end well, though, and doesn’t do the job it could have in terms of accentuating their face. Stopping the contour earlier would have helped, as would making sure it hits under the cheekbones. Right now… We’re really just looking at sideburns.
12 Bold Choices Get A Bold Response
Very few people can pull off bedazzled brows, and we’re definitely not any of them. We’re not entirely sure this person pulls them off either, but they certainly are trying. While the blue was a good choice to accent their eyes, adding blue eyeliner and an orange/red lip wasn’t the best addition to this makeup look. Not to mention the contour! While they’ve got it in all the right spots, it’s just not quite hitting home for us. Contour needs to be smooth. It needs to look like a subtle addition, not a splotched-on set of spots.
Unfortunately, that’s what those brows and temple areas look like: splotchy, sponged-on, and not blended enough.
The cheekbone contour is good for a first time, with it hitting in just the right spot and being light enough to accentuate without drawing attention to itself. The nose, however, needs a little bit of guidance. The place of the contour lines are right, and the highlight is absolutely awesome, but the contour itself is just too harsh. It looks unnatural, and only adds to the curve of the nose (rather than focusing on smoothing it out). If that was the look they were going for, great! But we wouldn’t hesitate to guess that more blending would have been useful here.
11 When You Run Out Of Bronzer So You Use Your Lipstick...
“I want to make my cheekbones pop,” this person thought as they stared at their makeup bag. "What could I use so everyone will notice the fact that I’m wearing makeup?” Spoiler alert: the correct answer is never going to be lipstick-as-blush. Which is what you’re seeing in this photo, which seems to be a promo for a mascara that we actually would consider buying; those eyes are amazing! The lashes are long and luxurious, and we’re surprised that that’s not a fake lash look. They’re so even!
Unfortunately, after getting over the majesty of those lashes, we’re stuck looking at some contour that’s more not than hot. The lipstick is so incredibly bright, which isn’t bad. However, because it’s so pink-toned, it blends in with the blush situation that’s happening across the rest of the face. This blush situation makes it hard to think of anything but a clown, with its big extended lips and bright pink face paint. While the person underneath the makeup is gorgeous, the colour palette is just a little too one note to work for us. A good rule of thumb is to never contour with blush, and never use the same lipstick that you’re wearing on your mouth, on your cheeks.
10 This Look That's Been Thrown In A Time Machine
If you look closely at this photo, you’ll find that there’s some actually great skill in this makeup job. Not only are the lines crisp and the colours strong, it’s a definitely look. Sometimes makeup jobs can feel like a bunch of stuff smeared on someone’s face. You’re not really sure if they used a bunch of colours just because they liked them, or if they were running out of their regular colours and slapped whatever was left on. This look, however, is cohesive. It’s strange, but it definitely is a look. Not to mention how all the components are sitting in the right spots—they’re just a little more crisp than people usually go for.
The way the streaks get smaller as they go back makes us think about all those cartoons where people are travelling through time. The colours seem to lag a little behind the person, and the get stretched through the waters of time. This is a makeup look that reminds us of that. Not to mention how it’s also a little reminiscent of the '80s, with those lashes and cut-crease eyeshadow choices. The blush is also very angular, which (for some reason) makes us think of a power suit. Talk about a blast from the past!
9 Not Even Blending Could Save This
We’re firm believers in the fact that blending can fix even the most cringeworthy contour jobs. Often, as long as the colours are in the right places, contouring is just a matter of blending things out so they all look natural. Or at least, so they all look like they’re meant to be there. By blending everything well, you’ll avoid the pitfall of having patches of skin that are too light or too dark, and you’ll find that the shadows don’t look as striking in photos if they fade out at the edges. It’s just part of secret of making your contour successful.
Unfortunately, not everyone commits to this step. They think that by having the colours there and ensuring that all the right parts of the face are highlighted, they’ll have picture-perfect contour. Not to mention how some people aren’t on the beauty blender train yet. Real talk: you need to join that trend if you want to have some truly exquisite contour. While this look isn’t the worst in terms of contour, it really does need a little more blending to make it look proper. The lines are too stark right now, making us concerned that they’re going for a nutcracker look rather than an accentuated-jawline look. Hopefully, but utilizing their brushes and sponges a little more, they’ll be able to take this contour to the next level!
8 Blush Is Supposed To Give You A Healthy Glow... But She Just Ran A Marathon!
So much about this makes us raise our eyebrows in a questioning way. Firstly, that eye makeup. We’re not sure if she’s going for a smokey eye or a cat’s eye liner line… Or maybe it’s a hybrid of both? We’re just not confident enough to say. The brows aren’t giving us much of a clue either. Sometimes people will opt for a more subtle brow if they’re doing a smokey eye, and a bolder brow if they’re keeping the shadow subtle. This seems to be a strange combination of both, with a colour that’s not exactly standing out, but a brow that clearly looks purposeful and painted.
Don’t even get us started on purposeful mistakes when it comes to this contour. Did she mean to put blush on her nose? That’s like… Rule number 7 of contour magic: blush flushes the cheeks, not the nose. You get a little Rudolph-y if you don’t stick to your usual blushing spots. Even if your nose does go a little red when you blush, don’t accentuate it! Now all we’re thinking about is saving the holiday season when we look at this makeup look. Not that that’s the worst. After all, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer gave most of us some very happy childhood holiday memories. Those don’t have any place when we’re going out on the town, though.
7 This Person Contoured Everything To The Sides Of Their Face
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when contouring is pulling everything too far in. Like some of the streakier contours we saw earlier, people are prone to adding their bronzer and the depth far into the creases of their mouths. It pulls everything too close, and you end up losing the accentuation of your cheekbones. Instead, you’re dragging lines across your face and making it look like you’ve got some amazing sideburns going on. It’s an easy fix; just don’t make your lines come too far in!
This, remarkably enough, isn’t the issue that this person has.
They have committed the totally understandable mistake of making their lines too forward. Instead, they went too far in the other direction. They’ve kept all of their contour spreading out! It’s all kept to the sides of their face, rather than on the nose and chin (which is what a good contour also highlights). Instead they’ve hit the cheeks and the temples, keeping the blush higher than we thought possible. This gives the plane of the face a flat effect, making it lose the angularity that the contour wants to give. Not to mention those eyebrows! That vast expanse between them is definitely not helping give depth to that face.
6 Even The Best Of Us Have Bad Days
This is a contour job that we will name names on: Miley Cyrus is so incredibly skilled at makeup. She’s not only got a gorgeous natural face, but she’s able to highlight it well using contour, lipstick, and those strong brows. Whenever we’ve seen her in her instagram photos or on red carpets she’s got a distinct look and a strong makeup job. She’s a fan of being bold and standing out, but we need to be clear that this is not necessarily what’s meant. Standing out is a general term that can have positive and negative connotations. In these photos she’s standing out in the worst possible way: splotchy highlight.
Maybe it’s the lighting, or maybe it was just a bad day for Miley’s makeup. Normally she looks fabulous, and you can see that the rest of her makeup is on point. Unfortunately, whatever she tried to do contour-wise just wasn’t hitting right. While her temples, cheeks, and nose look good, that chin situation is just a whole lot of mess. Not only is it too pale for her, but it’s also looking like she hasn’t blended it at all. Sigh… We all have bad days, but we don’t all have them immortalized in red-carpet photos. Sorry, Miley!
5 Contouring Is Basically Modern Magic. Spells Take Practice!
This person does NOT look happy. They’re definitely in the Ron Weasley phase of their contouring-conjuring. They’ve got the concept of it down, and they’re not afraid to commit to their choices. It’s just not working out for them. Like Ron Weasley, we’re guessing that it’s just the mechanics of the skill that aren’t working out. The action can be difficult to master, especially when you’re doing a dramatic and in depth contour like this photo shows. This map of colours and makeup is great as a cheat sheet, but you still need to study to know the information!
That swish-and-flick isn’t going to do any good if you can’t remember what the spell is. The reverse is true, too, which is this person’s issue: it’s great if you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, but if the how-to mechanics are off, it’s not going to end well. You can see that example here, where this person has tried to follow the picture… But it’s just not working out. While we’re hoping that they’ll be able to fix it with our tried-and-true fix-all of blending, it might be past the point of saving. It’s worth a try, though! Practice and commitment are the only things you need to get good at something.
4 And Sometimes What We Think Looks Good...
Where’s an eyebrow pencil when you need it, right? More than that, where’s a sponge when you need it?! While this skin looks smooth and blended, you can see that they’ve only blended the edges. Nothing has made the highlight look less light, and there’s definitely a wash across that forehead that could use a little help. Maybe it’s the fact that everything looks too perfect. Humans aren’t meant to be perfect. We’re meant to be beautiful individual, uniquely flawed, and perfectly imperfect.
This is why the secret to contour is one simple trick: always contour to your bone structure, not just what a contour map tells you.
If your cheekbones are higher, move your contour higher. It’s all about making sure that you’re working with your face shape. This contour looks like it’s fitting onto their face, but it’s not quite as individual as it could be. For instance, due to the way the light is hitting their face, we’d probably suggest blending the bronzer into that highlight just a little bit more. We’d also definitely recommend making those brows stand out a little bit more, just to add some definition to the top half of the face. While that eye makeup is amazing, we wish the contour was on the same level!
3 Doesn't Exactly Work Out
Thank goodness for YouTube tutorials, Instagram makeup artists, and makeup charts. There’s no way mere muggles like us would ever be able to make contouring happen on ourselves if we didn’t have all those resources available to us. Unfortunately, resources are only as useful as you make them. If you’re not embracing the resources and practicing with them, you’re not going to do very well… No matter how hard you try! While you can get the gist of contouring just by looking at the finished product, there’s a lot of steps you need to take to get there. For this person, it looks like they got caught up in trying to jump some steps.
Following the chart only got them so far until they realized that it definitely wasn’t going to work out the way the box promised. “Appear instantly slimmer… More energetic!” the box promises. The box promised lies to this person, who looks to be feeling a little lost. This might just be the way their face is scrunched, but it seems like they started blending the forehead out and then lost their way somewhere around the bridge of the nose. It’s okay! Contour wasn’t learned in a day. It takes a little time to learn, and the best advice we have is to absolutely not judge it until you’re done blending. It’s just such an important step.
2 While We Might Never Look Like Kim Kardashian
See?! This is what happens when you don’t blend! We’re just as guilty as you are when it comes to makeup tutorials on YouTube. Jumping from step to step and not properly watching the application (or the final step) never ends well… And yet, we never learn. We see those titles on YouTube promising “Kim K glow in TWO STEPS” and “Cardi B Contour!! Easy how-to!!” but it’s never as easy as they promise. These folks seem to be professional makeup artists… Or maybe they just practice more than we’re willing to. Or, maybe (what a shocker this one is) they follow the steps properly.
It’s not our fault; if we’re looking up quick how-tos it’s usually because we need to get ready sooner rather than later. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, though. Skipping steps can have terrible consequences. When you’re dealing with an art form that’s as temperamental as makeup, this is especially true. Makeup will smudge, run, stick, and splotch more easily than paint. It’s just not fair! This person was aiming for Kim K, but ended up stuck in a bad cartoon. Those lines are everywhere, and we hope she went back and watched the rest of the how-to. The last step is the most important after all. And you now understand why!
1 At Least We're Trying Our Best!
We do need to applaud these people for taking the risks they did. Few of us are brave enough to go out into the world wearing our first contour attempts, and cringe when we look at selfies of those dark days. Luckily, we live and learn. We’ve embraced the magic of makeup, and understand that you need patience to master the contouring spell. There’s only so much we can do when it comes to helping those that are still in the learning phase, but we’re hoping these tips helped.
Remember: you’re not going to be Hermione right away.
We’re all going to be Ron Weasleys for a little while. Swish-and-flick might be an easy move to remember (like blending!), but it’s hard when you’re trying to put it into practice. As long as you keep your end goal in mind, you’ll end up with something that looks like what you’re trying to achieve. And if not, you can always wipe it off and try again! That’s the beauty of makeup. You never know what you’re going to end up with until it’s done, because every application is different. With practice, though, you can hone those skills. Now, go forth, young makeup magicians, and begin your study. Even if you mess up, you’re still doing your best; that’s the only thing that matters.