Remember the days when it was considered the ultimate makeup flub to apply any cosmetics darker than one’s natural skin tone, particularly below the neck? Well this “flub” is exactly what spurred the newest makeup movement. Traditionally makeup is only worn on the face to enhance the features and draw the eye to this most beautiful part of the body. However, the neck, collarbone, shoulders and chest are an extension of the face, so why not enhance these spectacular parts of the body as well? Today’s latest trend in beauty is breaking all the rules and taking makeup application to a whole new level! Behold the phenomenon of upper body contouring.
Upper body contouring is not a new concept in the spa. In fact, many medical practices have been utilizing devices and formulations to aid in giving the upper body more structure and definition for decades! But who needs plastic surgery when you can use makeup to contouring? Read on to learn how celebrities achieve a perfect red carpet neck, shoulders and collarbone without lasers, surgeries or peels!
What are highlighting and contouring?
The concept of highlighting and contouring (or HaCking as it can be termed) is fairly simple.
The act of utilizing dark, matte (or shadow-toned) makeup normally about two shades darker than one’s natural skin tone in specific areas, to enhance the bone structure and create the illusion of more depth and definition in the face and body. Contouring may be achieved by utilizing either cream or powder formulas and sometimes a combination of the two.
Highlighting works in conjunction with, but is the opposite of contouring. Highlighting is using makeup a shade or two lighter than the skin’s natural color to enhance the high points of the face, neck or body. As with contouring both cream and powder formulations may be used and utilizing matte, shimmer or both finishes is common.
Both techniques are often used together to create the perfect balance and enhance symmetry in the face and body.
Why contour the neck?
Contouring this area makes the neck appear slimmer and longer, creating the illusion of a more elegant silhouette. Application entails highlighting the center of the neck and contouring the outside in order to draw attention upward and inward. This technique may be done on both the front and the back of the neck (the back takes some talent and mirror assistance). This look is particularly beautiful when paired with an updo.
Does your client have a waddle (hanging skin in the neck) they would like to minimize? Remember that the neck is a place that tends to show age the most, so evening out skin tone with correctors and a foundation that corresponds with the skin color on the face can really downplay an aging neck.
Why contour the collarbone (a.k.a. the clavicle)?
The collarbone is one of the most delicate and feminine areas on a woman’s body. Enhancing it can really make one look slimmer and draws attention to an area that may not commonly be exposed. This type of look is particularly gorgeous for brides or formal events where the chest is bare. Collarbone contouring is a look that began with models and ballerinas, and is now used in everyday beauty regimens. Simply highlight the tops of the bones of the clavicle and then trail the contour color on both sides to really make that highlight pop and sparkle!
Why contour (highlight) the shoulders?
A bare shoulder is the new cleavage! Particularly with the new “cold shoulder” or “cut out shoulder” trend in fashion, this look is accentuated with a little shimmer on the shoulder. Adding a shimmery highlight gives the illusion of sweat enhanced, dewy or glowy skin. This look creates the perfect imitation of summer, no matter what the season. For this particular look it is best to skip the highlight and move directly into a golden or bronzy highlight. Simply rub a cream or liquid highlight onto the shoulders or sweep on a powder highlight for a luminous glow and shine bright like a diamond!
“When it comes to contouring and highlighting the neck, collarbone and chest, a combination of products may need to be used.”
Finding products that work best for body highlighting and contouring often depend on skin type (much like the face). It is so important that the appropriate skin care is used before body makeup is applied. If body makeup is applied to skin that is too dry, it appears patchy or flaky. Skin that is oily often needs a mattifier; without one the makeup may slide right off the skin!
When it comes to contouring and highlighting the neck, collarbone and chest, a combination of products may need to be used. I prefer light layers of cream contour and highlight shades, which are widely available now due to this growing industry trend. A setting powder is key as the product can transfer to clothes. Remind your clients to keep all light-colored clothing away from the areas of the body where product is applied. A light application of powder contour and highlight may also be applied after the area is set as a method to keep the skin looking like skin. Remember that while blending is important on the face, blending body makeup can mean the difference between looking fab and looking fake. Body makeup that hasn’t been thoroughly blended ruins the illusion and just looks like lots of makeup.
We have seen some crazy trends as of late when it comes to the world of makeup (you may recall trends such as clown contouring and using kitchen utensils for application), but this one is the real deal! No matter what the occasion, upper body contouring can create a more symmetrical, chiseled, tanned and toned silhouette! It’s the perfect add on service to a professional makeup application, the best way to sell body care and make your clients feel more confident in their own skin.