What’s The Biggest Mistake People Make When Contouring?

The UK’s leading tan expert, James Read, helped us weigh in on what the biggest mistakes are when it comes to contouring, and as an added bonus, he also educated us about what not to do when it comes to contouring.  While trends like non-touring and strobing are definitely having a moment right now, there’s little doubt that good old-fashioned contouring is still here to stay. Blame beauty gurus and the Kardashians if you’d like, but the trend isn’t going away. But before you reach for your bronzer again, you should know what the biggest mistake people make when contouring is.

Because of the sheer popularity of contouring, it’s become a technique that many attempt but shy away from due to its seeming complexity. With YouTube tutorials blending in what seems like endless amounts of cream products to Instagram videos of gurus’ faces taped up for the perfect placement, it doesn’t seem like an easy thing to accomplish. According to Read though, contouring’s biggest issue is just this: People seem to be going a little overboard.

When asked what the biggest mistake people make when contouring is, Read tells Bustle, “Going a little OTT [over the top]! Contouring is about enhancing the natural shadows on the face and body.” You heard it from the bronze expert, himself. Going overboard and making things more complicated than necessary is the true downfall of the novice artist.

What does Read recommend for contouring, then? According to him, it’s all about subtly. He explains, “Using a subtle matte bronzer, such as my Tantour Sculpting Duo will easily achieve this. Also avoid bronzers with shimmer when contouring — it is about creating shadow, rather than a glow.” While that bomb highlight a la Jaclyn Hill is undeniably gorgeous, for your subtle contour, you’ll want to keep things matte and natural.

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A photo posted by James Read Tanning (@jamesreadtan) on May 22, 2016 at 2:49am PDT

And what products does Read suggest using to achieve the look? His Tantour. The ultra-fine powder formulation is designed “to be layered to achieve your desired look. From natural to bold!” With a highlight and contour shade, it’s the perfect way to get that defined, but not streaky look that’s going to be completely in for Summer 2016. 

James Read Tantour Sculpting Duo, $72, Net-a-Porter

With killer celebrity clients like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Ellie Goulding, and Mariah Carey, it’s difficult to deny that Read is the true tan and contour expert. His input on the biggest mistake people make when contouring may just save the contour-curious from an overly dramatic, streaky mess. So this summer, keep things light, sheer, and defined, and you’ll be golden.
Images: Courtesy of brand; jamesreadtan/Instagram