Contouring: The Rundown

Contouring and Highlighting THE FULL RUNDOWN

I made a video showing how I normally contour my own face. This is helpful to show how you apply and blend, BUT if your face is a very different shape to mine and/or you want something different out of contouring this blog post if for you.

The Basics:

Contouring and highlighting can be used to define the existing shadows and high points of your face, as well as for adding the illusion of shadows and high points that are not naturally there!

This means you can alter the shape of your face to an extent. Common places to contour (create shadow) are the jawline, under the cheekbones, the temples and forehead, the sides and tip of the nose, and the corners or bottom of the chin. You might look at your face and want to accentuate your cheekbones and jaw, and leave the rest alone. Or you might just feel like making your chin a little smaller. Any combination will work depending on what YOU want. You can contour differently depending on how you feel like looking. I’ll explain below how someone folks like to contour to look more femme or more masc- of course a combination is always good too!

Unless someone asks me to, I don’t contour noses as the norm because I don’t want to normalize it! I always highlight the nose with a concealer, and sometimes also with a shimmer.



I think the best way to learn is by practice, with any kind of makeup you need to get used to it on your face before you can figure out what you like. One way to prevent a big mess up is to keep your cheekbone contour short- d not bring it down to your mouth, but end it where your eye begins. I’ll first show you on my face the ways I do my cheekbones. My go to one is the diagonal contour which follows my natural cheekbone (only slightly higher to give a slight lift) or the bronze/contour which is a diffused look that gives a bronze and contour in one go. For this I like to use a neutral colour that isn’t too orange or too grey but a true brown (like LA Girl Toast), for any other contour I’ll use a cool tone like either of the Topshop cream contours or my Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kit’s cooler browns. In all these illustrations I’m showing you where you apply product before blending it. With cheekbone contour always blend backwards, towards the hairline to avoid your contour bleeding into your highlight or looking too low on your face.

diagonal contour
Diagonal Contour


With this diagonal contour you can see it follows my natural bone structure, just adding definition.

strong bronzecontour

This more diffused, wider Bronzing Contour will give an overall bronze to the face AND add extra cheekbone definition.


straight contour
Straight Contour

This Straight Contour gives an extra lift to the cheekbone


round contour
Round Contour

A Curved Contour makes the face look fuller, accentuating the roundness of the cheeks while also adding cheekbone definition.



Firstly, none of these are hard and fast binary rules. Many masculine have a round small chin and many feminine people have beautiful square jaws, for example, and this doesn’t make them any less masculine or feminine! You are who you are. What I’m demonstrating is the go-to ways that people tend to ‘masculinize’ or ‘feminize’ the face. I’ll be using two models: Tyson Beckford and Priyanka Chopra (because it’s much more useful to see techniques on a range of faces than just on mine, also they are beautiful people wow).


Generally feminine contouring will round out the angles of the face, accentuate the fullness of the lips and lift the cheekbones and brow bone. Here’s how I would feminize both Tyson and Priyanka

Priyanka femme
Priyanka Femme
Tyson Femme



Masculine contouring usually sharpens the angles of the face, makes the jaw look larger, the forehead squarer.


Tyson Masc
Priyanka Masc

There’s my contouring run down! If you have any questions please get in touch by commenting or messaging on my blog, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube channel!

For advice on brushes for contouring check out my video on face brushes by clicking here!




Makeup 101: Eyebrows

For a practical demonstration scroll down to see my video!

I’m always being asked about eyebrows, because they can truly transform your face. By building on your natural brow you can beautifully frame your face. If you choose to make the arch higher it can give a more feminine shape, lowering the arch and thereby straightening the shape of the brow give a more masculine shape. In the video I simply even out my natural eyebrows by lowering one and heightening the other but only slightly.

First things first you need to choose what kind of eyebrow product you’d like to use and which colour too. Here’s a breakdown of product types:

-a pomade/a pot of gel or cream is going to be the longest wearing product but easiest to go overboard with.

-a pencil is easy to be precise with but if you don’t get one with a very fine nib (like nyx microbrow or Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz or Brow Definer) then you’ll get some difficult bold lines, if the nib is thin you’ll get lovely hair-like strokes.

-a brow powder or eyeshadow will usually look the most natural, it is the most versatile option but usually has less long wear time. To keep it on use a primer and set with eyebrow gel or hairspray on a spoolie.


-Your best option is a small angled brush, sometimes labelled as an eyeliner brush, sometimes as an eyebrow brush. I like the Elf small angled brush. After dipping your brush into powder or pomade, dab it in the back of your hand or onto a tissue to get rid of any excess.


-Black: For black hair and eyebrows go for a soft blackish grey or dark brown

-Brown: There are so many variations of brown, if you want more warm auburn brows go for something with a slight warmth. Most people go for neutral to cool tones as it’s more universally flattering.

-Blonde: Taupe, or very light brown.

-Fun colours: Whatever you want! Use liquid lipsticks, eyeliner gel, cream eyeshadow, liquid eyeliner- whatever is safe to use near lips or eyes.

To fill in your eyebrow begin at the centre of the eyebrow and place your brush or pencil there, begin making small strokes in the direction of hair growth, eventually reaching the tail end. Use a light/medium pressure and build until your are happy with the the density of the colour. If you feel like you’ve gone over board, take a spoolie or clean mascara wand and comb the brow thoroughly to blend and remove some of the product.

Then (if using a brush) take what is left on the brush to begin the front of the brow. The front is usually much less dense naturally, and the hairs grow upwards so you need much less product, and you need to apply very light pressure. If using a pencil be very careful not to apply too much pressure. It is ideal to hold the end of the brush/pencil (furthest point from the nip or brush head) to minimise the pressure.

If you want to straighten your eyebrows then start at the beginning by applying product under the arch.

If you want to raise the arch then start at the top of the arch and build on that.

Look out for a video on changing the shape of your eyebrows coming soon on my channel (subscribe to my youtube channel and follow my blog)

Base Makeup 101! Corrector, Concealer and Powder Foundation!

Hello! Following on from my Makeup Cheat Sheet post I decided to do a video and blog post about different makeup products and application techniques.

Here’s my video!

As with all these posts, this is just the ways I do things and there are infinite other ways of doing things, but here is a good place to start.

Primer: I love the Nivea Sensitive Post Shave Balm (men’s product) because the ingredients are the same as many high end primers and it really keeps your makeup on, controls oil, and hydrates. If you’re someone who wants something marketed as a primer, you can’t go wrong with any primer from Makeup Forever.

Corrector: This is a product that goes on before concealer or foundation to ‘correct’ any discolouration on the face. It goes directly on the discoloured area and should not look blatantly like a patch of random colour on your face, it should even out your skin overall. What I mean by that is basically ignore most youtube and Instagram tutorials that show someone smearing red lipstick under their eyes, or green all over their face.

Mint green: good for redness, often needed for blemishes, rosacea, or around the nose. Dab it gently and sparingly on the red/pink parts of your face, adding more if you need it but starting with a minuscule amount. I recommend the LA Girl ProConceal in Green.

Orange/Peach/Yellow: For brightening dark circles and dark pigmentation that has a blue/ purple tone. I’m a bit hesitant to recommend orange because it is usually to rich and deep for the people who are keen to use it. I recommend peach for most people. Rule of thumb is that if you’re trying to lighten dark patches, the corrector should be lighter than the affected area, common sense right? Everyone’s skin is different but for most people I’ll take 70-90% yellow corrector and mix it with orange to create peach. Tap on to blend.

I haven’t actually ever used a violet or blue corrector, they are pretty rarely needed.

Application and Tips: 

-Remember that your corrector shouldn’t look strange once blended, the concealer, powder, or foundation you put on top of it should be just to even things out, not cover up this random colour on your face.

-If your foundation or concealer cover up your redness or dark patches enough on their own, don’t worry about corrector, many people don’t need it.

Concealer: A concentrated base product that comes in liquid and cream form. Use it to cover discolouration, blemishes, and under eye circles. Generally I recommend using a liquid concealer as it is more versatile, thick creams will crease under your eyes but are great for blemishes. Liquids are good for all purposes, unless you want some seriously heavy duty concealing, like for a tattoo, them check out dermacolor by Kryolan or Revlon Colorstay. The Cover Fx custom cover drops seriously increase your concealer or foundation coverage so they are amazing for concealing spots. I use LA Girl Pro Conceal which is a liquid, if I need some heavy duty blemish concealing I mix it with Cover FX drops. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is amazing but pricey.

Powder: Essential for ‘setting’ concealer to prevent it rubbing off, fading, or getting oily throughout the day. Even dry skin needs a touch of powder where you’ve used concealer. I like translucent powders because you don’t need to worry about the colour. I recommend Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot, Codi Airspun, Laure Mercier Translucent Loose Powder (good for dark skin too), Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (especially for dry skin), and RCMA no color powder (especially for dry skin and dark skin). Powders with colour for dark skin, Sacha buttercup is an amazing under eye powder, I like the Black Opal loose powder but it oxidises (gets darker once applied) so buy a lighter shade than your skin.

Powder Foundation: I have only used two, the Bare Minerals Original loose foundation powder and the Nars All Day Luminous Powder Foundation. I love both. Nars is not as good value (you get a lot less product) but less messy because its not loose, and lasts a bit longer on the skin.

I recommend a powder foundation for normal, combination, or oily skin. Dry skin can use it but needs a really moisturised base. For light coverage buff with a brush all over, for medium coverage, spray a mist with water, glycerin, rose, aloe vera, on your face then buff into damp skin. Keep doing that to add layers of coverage. This never looks cakey, it fact it gives the most natural finish I’ve had with any foundation.

More foundation types will be discussed in a future foundation post.

Bronzer: You need to really just find something that is the right level or warm for you depending on your skin tone. Makeup Forever make my all time favourite bronzer wich coms in so many shades, the Pro Bronze Fusion. Never looks unnatural, lasts forever, is waterproof?! Decent budget ones I’ve tried include NYC, Rimmel, Bourjois. Apply to the cheeks, hairline, temples, neck, forehead, nose (wherever you want a bronzed glow).

A cool toned bronzer can also be used to contour, like The Balm Bahama Mama and Benefit Hoola. I use Anastasia powder contour kit and a great cheap find: Natural Collection single shadow in Crushed Walnut. More on contouring in a later post!

Blush: Use any blush you want to be honest! Different depths of peach suit everyone, as to dusky rose shades. I like Milani, Elf and Wet n Wild (american brands) for budget options and Nars for high end. Apply to the fattest, most protruding, soft part of your cheek. Avoid going close to your eye socket or mouth. Blend in small circular motions




The Ultimate Makeup 101 Cheat Sheet

So last week I taught a makeup 101 class and today I emailed the class with this document I quickly put together for people on a budget who have no clue and are at a beginner level. Of course it was all explained further at the class but I thought a lot of people may find it useful anyway! I’ll be doing 101 videos for beginners soon, keep an eye on my Youtube channel, Umber beauty.

Here you go!


Main Points from Class and Product Recommendations
Primer- I recommended Nivea Sensitive Post Shave Balm as a primer for all Skin types, it can be found here
apply it sparingly after moisturising, and give it a minute to sink it before you start your makeup.
Eye Primer- if you want your eyeshadows to last a long time, and if you have a problem with creasing eyeshadow, or oily eyelids, eye primer is a good idea. Elf does a decent cheap one, but the best are £15-25 from Too Faced, Urban Decay and Nars. Mac Paint Pots also serve as eye primers.
We used LA Girl Pro Conceal as both foundation and concealer, usually £5 in the UK and $3 un the US (which is what I do for myself and clients), it can be found at Beauty Base (real life shop in both westfield locations, hounslow treaty centre and website), Amazon, and absolute kolor. They also have an orange and a yellow corrector, which you can mix to make a light peach colour to correct under eye circles, cover stubble, and any other dark areas you wish to brighten. You correct under foundation or concealer. Their green corrector can be used sparingly to correct redness in the same way.
Blending corrector and concealer -can be done with any domed brush of any size, depending on the area of the face. I used this large Kabuki from ebay and the real techniques buffing brush from boots to blend by tapping and pressing into the skin, not swiping. For under the eyes and on spots I used a smaller brush from ELF
Bronzer -can be use around the perimeter of the face to give warmth. My favourite bronzer is pro bronze fusion from Makeup Forever (expensive) and my favourite budget one is from ELF, they have many shades, go with your instinct in choosing a bronzer shade (if it turns out too dark use it lightly, its ok). You can use a blush brush for bronzer such as this one from real techniques
Blush -should go on the cheek, on the roundest or fattest part (no better way to say that springs to mind tbh). Be careful to not let is get to close to the eyes, nose or mouth. if blush is too bold for you, buff it with any clean brush to gently remove some of it.
Eyeshadow- For any look the easiest way to do it is to start with a base colour, usually a little lighter than your skin tone (if you have red, dark or uneven colours on your eyelids and are being a perfectionist, dab concealer on your lids and then apply your base shadow or any skin coloured powder). Then take a transition shade which can be just your bronzer or anything slightly darker than your skin and gently blend in into the crease of your eye. If you then choose to just apply mascara or liner, your eyes look nicely contoured. Or you can go ahead and put something dramatic on the lid, or darken the crease. But with these two bases, it will look blended and like you’ve worked much harder than you have.
Lips- We covered comfort vs longevity: the drier and more matte your lip colour (such as lip liner or liquid lipsticks that dry matte), the longer the wear time. To prevent cracked lips, apply a lot of lip balm on a few minutes before apply matte lip products, wipe off the balm gently, then apply. Your eyebrow or eyeliner angled brush doubles up as a lip brush to create super crisp lips if you are going for a very bold or dark colour. This a brush from ELF that is good for this
For creamier, more moisturising lip products, you will need to reapply more often but the effect is usually a more natural look, which doesn’t look bad when it fades off if you forget to reapply. Matte colours can look odd when they wear off as they tend to be more patchy.
Eyebrows- the section of hairs that go upwards, close to your nose, need a very gentle application of small strokes of colour going upwards. Strokes should go int he direction of hair growth (same goes for if you want to draw any kind of hair on your face). The arch and tail of the brow can handle stronger lines. Try to erase the arch for a straighter more handsome brow, and brush hairs upwards to make it a little messy. For the neat, femme, instagram brow, build on your natural arch and brush hairs neatly into place.
Remember- any liquids or creams should be set with a powder, translucent powder is a good multi use product and it also can mattify lipsticks, and works on all skin tones (for example if your skin changes shades throughout the seasons). One Heck of a Blot by Soap and Glory and Stay Matte by Rimmel are good options, if you’re dry, use powders by gently tapping them on your face. If you’re oily, press powder into the skin.
Good highstreet/inexpensive buys:
Sleek Eyeshadow Palettes and blushes (in boots and superdrugs)
Morphe Eyeshadow Palettes (if you really want a ton of colours of high quality), only online.
Nyx eyebrow powder or microbrow pencil (boots website) and their lip products are great and come in cool colours
Rimmel Match Perfection foundation, gimme brow (brow gel)
Maybelline Fit Me Foundation (Matte version for oily skin and normal for dry skin)
L’Oreal True Match, and True Match Lumi foundations and powders
Best for Brown/Black skin: Black Opal Stick Foundation and the Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation and Deluxe Finishing Powder (buy one shade lighter, it oxidises a bit)
NYC Liquid Eyeliner
ELF brightening powder, eye primer, blushes,  black brushes (white ones are poor quality), bronzers, prism eyeshadows, lip products, pretty much everything from ELF, especially in the black or ‘studio’ line.
Real Techniques and EcoTools- great brushes you can find on the highstreet but not as cheap as Elf which is only available online in the UK.
Clear mascara from Collection, NYC, Miss Sporty, etc, to set brows or to define lashes without adding colour. Can also use to brush hairs into place anywhere, i use it on my sideburns.
Maybelline generally has good mascaras.
A mascara that never smudges is not highstreet but its the only smudge and flake proof one I’ve found- Eyeko Sport Mascara. I use this under my eyes, but most people don’t have as much of an issue with smudging there, just my long lower lashes and eye shape probably.
Remember to throw away expired products or you risk infection- most products (including skincare) have a little symbol with says how many months to keep them once opened (i’ve attached a picture to show you the symbol). If its not on the packaging google it (e.g. how long do I keep liquid foundation?). Wash your brushes with baby shampoo- my favourite is johnson’s top to toe newborn baby wash, Dr Bronner’s Castille Soap Bars. For instant sanitising use isopropyl alcohol, No7 Brush cleanser, Elf brush cleaner, spray onto the brush and wipe on paper towels. These can also be used to wipe any makeup products you have, i spray my eyeshadows with alcohol and give them a quick wipe. Same with most of my other makeup. Exp_date.jpg

Brushes! Part one: Face Brushes

Hello Beauties!

Are all the different types of brushes completely mystifying to you? Why are there so many options?! To help you out I did an in depth video about face brushes! I even included some demos 🙂

Check it out!


Beauty Review September 2015

Hello beauties!

I’ve posted a review of everything I’ve tried in the last month, most of these were great and I would call them favourites!

The most important things for me were skincare, and the Artemis Oil at £60 is a proper splurge but it is THE BEST thing I’ve ever done for my skin. Using that along with the Boots £3.59 mask every other day, my skin has been in great shape.

Of course I had some makeup favourites too! Watch the video below to get the low down on my month, and check out the description box for full info on the products.

August Haul and Birchbox!

Hello beauties!

In August I got my first ever Birchbox! I really enjoyed receiving it, and I managed to find codes online to get a good discount on my first box so I thought, why not?

It is worth it but it is not a steal for the full price of around £12, so if you’re someone who wants to try some new things but doesn’t want to pay full price before you know you love a product, go for it. I’ve now had 2 boxes and I’m over it, it was fun but if I don’t unsubscribe I will be drowning in things to try and it’ll get overwhelming and a bit pointless. I do think it is good for people who don’t already have tons of products and want to start branching out and building up a good beauty collection. Also the customisable profile for skin type and skin tone and hair type does help because they won’t send you something totally useless.

My haul was some stuff I really wanted or needed. In my next video, my beauty review, I mention how I got on with some of these!

As always please comment, subscribe, and thumbs up the video!

Watch it here!

GRWM: Neutral Makeup

Check out my first youtube video where I take you through my makeup for that day! Subscribe, comment and please thumbs up the video, I’ll be posting videos weekly 🙂

Love Umber