November 17, 2011

M.A.C Master Class: The Art of Contour

I attended a M.A.C Master Class this past weekend, Senior Artist John Stapleton teaching The Art of Contour. I've taken this class before taught my Vincent Cembellini but I always love learning from different Makeup Artists. John has been working for 25 years on countless celebrities, runway models and currently with Kelly Osbourne on the show, Fashion Police.

John first explained contouring and highlighting is "corrective makeup". In red carpet and theater makeup, it's about creating almond-shaped eyes, high cheekbones and fuller lips. Highlighting brings the area forward and contouring creates shadows to recede the area.

John, me and my friend Hyang

The model already had Lip Conditioner on the lips and then John prepped her skin with Fix + which he says refreshes the skin so you don't have to reapply moisturizer and helps products stick better. He then applied Pep + Prime Skin with a 130 Short Duo Fibre Brush. He said primer isn't always necessary but it can help to cover pores and reduce redness.  He liked using the 130 brush because the white synthetic bristles stipple on  the product and the black natural hairs can buff the product into the skin. This brush is especially great for mineralized products because the more you buff it into the skin, the more it brings out the shimmer.

John started on the base for the skin mixing Matchmaster SPF 15 Foundation in shade 3 and Pro Longwear Concealer in shade NC30. Still using the 130 brush, he started from the forehead, working downward with the grain of the hair. Working against it will show any "peach fuzz" on the face and the product will grab onto the hair. He then used a 217 Blending Brush to do any additional spot coverage on the face.

There are two formulas of contouring and highlighting which John demonstrated by using cream (liquid can also be used) products on one side of the face and powder on the other. He also applied it right on top of the foundation, saying it wasn't always needed to set your skin with powder but if you need to, use a loose translucent powder. He also sad to mix a bit of translucent powder in your brush as you apply, if it's hard to blend powder products on a non-powdered face.

For the powder side, John used Harmony Blush with a 109 Small Contour Brush and applied it under the cheekbones, temples and under the jawline. For the cream side, he used Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer in NC35 which was slightly darker than her skin-tone, with the same 109 brush. For highlighting, he used Soft and Gentle Mineralize Skinfinsh with a 168 Large Angled Contour Brush and applied it on top of the cheekbones, blending towards the tops of the apple's of the cheeks. He used Pearl Cream Colour Base for the cream side, warming it on the heel of his hands and using the 193 Angled Foundation Brush to apply and then his fingers to blend. He also applied a bit on the cupid's bow of the lip to make the lips look a little fuller.

My mom asked John how should you contour and highlight on "mature" skin and he said as you age, you lose volume in the face so don't want to contour too much. Instead, add a bit of a shimmery blush on the apples of the cheeks in a peachy-pink shade like Dainty Mneralized Blush which he used on the model, as that will flatter any skin-tone and bring a little fullness to the face.

Some of the people attending the class were asking how to contour the nose so John gave a tip that instead of dong alot of contouring as that can look unnatural, focus on highlighting. He did use Bamboo Eyeshadow with a  224 Tapered Blending Brush, connecting the brow to the bridge of the nose on both sides of the nose to slim it down and under the tip of the nose to shorten the length. To highlight, he mixed Blanc Type and Gesso Eyeshadow with a 252 Large Shader Brush and applied it to the bridge of the nose and on the tip drawing a horizontal line.

John's model wearing the finished look

Next, John worked on the eyes first using Prep+Prime Highlighter in Radiant Rose under the eyes, inner corners and brow bone. He didn't do much eye makeup but showed how to contour and highlight the eye. No additional eyeshadow base was used, just the foundation and concealer combo that he used on the skin. Products he used were:
  • Blanc Type Eyeshadow: lid and brow bone with 252 Brush
  • Bamboo and Soba Eyeshadow: applied n crease with 252 Brush, blending it out with 224 Brush
  • Gesso Eyeshadow: highlight at the edge under the brow with 266 Small Angle Brush
  • Soba Eyeshadow: under bottom lash-line with 214 Short Shader Brush
  • Blacktrack Fluidline: line top lash line with 210 Precise Eye Line Brush
  • Universal Penultimate Brow Marker
John also shared a useful tip to applying false lashes. He used 3/4 of #36 Lashes and applied Duo Adhesive on top of the lash band so that he can apply the lashes under the real ones, as opposed to the top of the lash. The result is more of a natural looking false lash, especially because the band is less visible as it appears to be growing right at your lash line. I tried it out today and find that you don't feel like you're wearing false lashes because they're under your lashes on not top weighing your eye down. It takes a few trial and error to learn how to apply it this way but  I love the overall look and think I'll be using this technique from now on.

Last but not least, for the lips John used Stone Lip Pencil to contour underneath the bottom lip and Spice Lip Pencil on the bow of the lip. He topped it off with Viva Glam VI Lipglass, just on the center of the lips.

That's all the notes I took for this class! I know it's a lot of information and products but I think the overall contouring and highlighting work looks very natural and wearable for anyone. I didn't buy anything that John used (as I already have most of it) but I did haul some things from the holiday collection which I will be posting soon. Hope these notes are helpful!

Glamour Girl


  1. The false lashes tip for under your lash line sounds very interesting, now I'll have to try it myself :)Galina

  2. Thanks for coming to my class and for being such a DILIGENT note taker!!! I had no idea you were so focused on the details! I'm glad you liked it and as always- I feel so welcomed in Hawaii. Until next time. Mahalo.


  3. @ John
    I don't know how you found my blog but I learned so much from your class! My favorite tip from you is wearing false lashes underneath the real lashes, looks so much more natural! Please come to Hawaii again soon! :)


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