By now, we've all seen them: the terrifying tutorials that make the people applying their makeup look like something out of a horror film. Blame Kim Kardashian, blame YouTube beauty gurus, blame whoever you want: Contouring is having a serious moment. And, women in search of their cheekbones are watching in terror as they're being told that they need to paint multiple lines on their faces in order to find them.
Because of this, there are scores of people who are either scared of contouring or have absolutely no idea how to do it properly. "The tutorials that exist out there are very extreme examples of contouring," said makeup artist Rachel Wood. "Most women who are going out day-to-day don't need all of that. It's way over-the-top." She summed it up: "When contouring is done right, it's like Spanx for your face. When it's done badly, though? It's granny panties."
To see it for ourselves, we asked three staffers to show us their best contouring skills. Then, we asked Wood to go back and correct whatever was wrong with their attempts. It turns out she was right: Most of us are totally in the dark when it comes to this feature-defining skill. Click to see the light.
Makeup by Rachel Wood; Photographed by Alexandra R. Gavillet