Now that the contouring craze, largely inspired by the one Kim Kardashian, has died down for a bit, it’s time to take a step back and consider: does the makeup trend truly deserve its time in the limelight, or is the hype hopelessly out-of-control? I mean, if you’re not followed around by a professional film crew and harsh lighting, is it really necessary?
We’ll answer this: yes.
Granted, it took a while — and countless YouTube makeup tutorials — to get right, but when you do, you’ll notice a more defined face, one that looks good from all angles, and especially in front of the camera (which, these days, happens to be all the time). It used to be a behind-the-scenes makeup hack, after all.
Since its early beginnings though, the trend has evolved quite a bit. Nobody wants harsh, unnatural lines! We’re all for the soft and natural contoured look, something that gives just the right amount of definition in normal light. Subtle! And the trick to master that is to first reach for a beginner-friendly product. You’ll find that in Etude House’s Play 101 Stick Contour Duo.
Now, the product already gained immense popularity when it first launched, as it was part of the versatile, multi-use makeup in the Play 101 series. And this dual-ended highlighter and contour stick fits right in! It’s especially great since you only need to bring around this one single product, say, if you’re travelling or rushing your makeup in the car. Or, just touching up in the middle of the day.
So, what can we say about the new and improved version?
We actually took a side-by-side comparison photo to show you the difference.
Firstly, you’ll notice a change in the design — instead of a rounded tip, the new contour stick features a diagonal cut, slanted at an optimal 24° for even application on the curved areas of your face. When I gave this a try, I realised that the angle also gave me more control when using the product, and the pigment glides on more smoothly.
The second noticeable change is, of course, the size: it’s now double the capacity, and at the same price too!
Next up, texture — and this is important. For natural contouring to work best, we’d recommend cream formulas that are buildable and easy to blend out. Here, the Play 101 Stick Contour Duo meets that criteria, and on first swatch, it’s unbelievably soft, while the creamy formula glides on effortlessly. The finish here though is a powdery one, which looks even more flawless on the skin.
Finally, the revamped product also comes in 3 different shades: No.1 Original, No.2 Intense, and No.3 Natural. Essentially, the difference is pretty subtle, but it really depends on the look you’re going for.
The first consists of a pearl-toned highlighter and medium-toned brown shading, similar to the original, which are just the right shades for your contouring basics. The second one’s labelled ‘Intense’ due to the pairing of the bright shimmer highlight and deeper cacao brown shading; it’s also suitable for those with darker skin tones. As for the last one, the highlighter portion’s a pearl-free beige, so it looks even more natural for light to medium skin tones.
Beauty Tutorial: How To Get A Natural Contour
You don’t have to be a beauty expert or makeup artist to know how to contour! All you need are the basic techniques, and some practice — and with the right product, you’ll get nicely sculpted cheekbones in no time. Here’s the look Etude House makeup artist Evadne did for us:
And here’s all the Etude House makeup used! Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to finish the look with the Play 101 Stick Contour Duo.
1. Beauty Shot Face Blur SPF15/PA+, $27.90
2. Dear My Blooming Lips Talk in #BE119 Dry Orange Bianco, $17.90
3. Contouring Kit Eye Brow in #2 Gray Brown. $20.90
4. Play 101 Stick Contour Duo in No.2 Intense, $24
5. Any Cushion Brush #1, $16
6. Technic Fit Sharp Contour Brush 231, $27.90
7. Lovely Cookie Blusher BL401 Pink Brownie, $12.90
8. Double Lasting Cushion SPF34/PA++ in N07 Amber, $35
9. Drawing Show Brush Liner in #BK801, $18.90
10. Dual Wide Eyes Mascara in #1, $22.90
11. Play Color Eyes #Caffeine Holic, $35.90
STEP 1: MAP YOUR FACE
Start with the highlighter end.
For the easiest way to contour, map out where you want your contour and highlights to go first before blending it all out. Here, placement is everything!
Start with your highlights. Once you’re done with base and eye makeup, place the lighter shade of the contour stick on the high planes of your face — this includes gentle strokes above your cheekbones, chin, centre of the forehead, and nose bridge. Don’t be afraid if the product looks too heavy-handed at this point, you’ll be blending it out later!
STEP 2: FINISH MAPPING
Go in with the shading end.
Next, contour! With the darker end, trace the edges of your forehead, along your hairline in order to “minimise” the width of your face. Then, go over the area just under your cheekbones, starting from the edge of your face and then sweeping the pigment towards the centre — in order to find that sweet spot, place your fingers on the sides of your face to feel that hollow, and shade the product just slightly above it.
Continue by applying the product right at your jawline too. The new angled shape, which is now wider at a certain angle, allows the colour to go on smoothly and without any awkward tugging. You should now see two distinct light and dark shades on your face, like so!
STEP 3: BLEND!
And now, time to pull the look together. Starting with the highlights, we used a smaller angled brush (Technic Fit Sharp Contour Brush 231) to blend it out until it looks seamless.
Then, with a larger, flat foundation brush (Any Cushion Brush #1), buff out the edges of the darker shade using small circular motions, working it into the foundation and blending it outwards as you go along. If you need more colour, go ahead and dab on the darker shade, then blend out too. At this stage, you’ll wanna work swiftly before the cream formula has set.
Finally, go over with a blusher, just lightly dusting over the contoured areas at an angle, for some extra dimension. A rosy shade will also add some warmth and a natural flush to your skin.
Here’s the complete look. When blended out properly, you should see a difference, though the contouring effect should be subtle and natural — after all, it’s all about enhancing the features of your face!
Etude House Play 101 Stick Contour Duo, $24 — in 3 shades: No.1 Original, No.2 Intense and No.3 Natural. Available at all ETUDE HOUSE stores islandwide, and online at Lazada and Shopee. etudehouse.com/sg
Direction & Photography by Amelia Tan, using the Canon EOS 77D
Makeup by Evadne, Senior Makeup Artist at Etude House