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Everything You Need to Know About Soft Sculpting

September 7, 2021

News

Everything You Need to Know About Soft Sculpting

Contouring is one of the biggest trends within the beauty industry. In recent years, we’ve gone from dramatic Kim Kardashian worthy contour to a mora natural look. Even Mario Dedivanovic, the go-to makeup artist for the Kardashians sisters, has switched to a light-handed approach for contouring. With beauty trends all pointing towards a ‘natural’ look, it’s no surprise that “soft sculpting” is the makeup trend that everyone is talking about.

How soft sculpting has become the ‘it’ trend


Where has this trend come from?


It finds its origins in the sudden shift from ‘social media makeup’, the OTT looks that we see on our feeds every day, to a more everyday look. You’ll rarely find the Instagram beauty influencers wearing their dramatic looks in everyday life. Soft and buildable sculpting that focuses on blush, contour, and highlighting, has become the go-to look for influencers and celebrities alike.


Contour used to be a secret of celebrity makeup artists, before social media opened up the industry and everyone could learn how to contour with just one YouTube video. Contouring has gone from being ‘special occasion’ makeup to an everyday look. With the right technic, you can now achieve the sculpted look without having to use a dozen makeup products.

Soft sculpting and skincare


The shift to soft sculpting is to do with more than just the growing admiration for natural looking makeup. Since the pandemic, we’ve all turned out focus to our growing obsession with all things skincare related. With this focus on skincare, people are less reliant on makeup to cover imperfections. A ‘dewy glow’ is the look that everyone is going after.


Millennials and Gen Z are the driving force behind the change to natural makeup, including soft sculpting. It’s a refreshing change from the days of 25-part makeup routines that dominated the industry in the mid-to-late 2010s. If you want to start with applying blush like a professional makeup artist click here.


Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to perfect the soft sculpting look.

Softly on the cheeks


We often think of contouring as focusing on the hollows of our cheeks. While this was the original style of contouring, it leads to a heavier and more unnatural look. For a softer look, apply your bronzer or contour to the area slightly above the hollows of your cheeks. Using a bronzer brush, blend the power upwards through the hollows of your cheek to help lift your skin.


You want to make sure you choose a soft colour that adds a natural warmth to your skin to give you a natural-looking sculpting effect. The secret to achieving this look is to start by applying only a small amount of product. You want to use a bronzer or contour that is buildable, making it easy to stay in control of your look.


For daytime makeup, you want to think about how your makeup will look in the daylight. We often do our makeup under artificial light, making it look different to how it will outside. If you’re sculpting your jaw or nose, this could appear harsher when you’re outside. Instead of focusing on what looks good on your Instagram stories, think about what looks best in the real world.

Shading with foundation


A contour stick is every makeup lover’s best friend, but foundation can give you the same effect. The trick is to find a foundation that is half or a full shade darker than your everyday foundation. You can apply it as a contour using a brush or a beauty blender if you want more contour over your look.


This style of contouring is ideal for sculpting your cheekbones, forehead, nose, and jawline. Using a slightly darker foundation will help to give you a natural look as it mimics the appearance of your real skin.


The next time that you’re buying your go-to foundation, make sure to pick it up in a slightly darker shade to create this look. If you prefer a more natural look or to work with liquid products, choosing this style of sculpting can help you achieve this look.

Experiment with a pop of blush


What makes soft sculpting different from traditional contouring is that it focuses on creating the most natural look possible. It’s not all about contouring – it also focuses on highlighter and blush. The one product we all reach for when we want to give our skin a healthy glow is blush. All you need is a few strokes of blush to give your skin a natural and healthy appearance.


The secret to applying blush is to make sure it lifts your face. You want to avoid applying it too low on your cheeks. The easiest way to place your blush in the correct place is to smile naturally and apply it to the apple of your cheeks. It will help naturally lift your face. If you want a more contemporary look, you can blend a small amount of blush across your chin, forehead, and nose.


The best products to use for a glowing look are blushes with a cream or liquid formula as they mimic your natural-looking skin. If you’re planning on layering your blush with other products, keep your powder light and focus it on your t-zone to keep your skin’s dewy glow.

Use your favourite highlighter


The third component of the soft sculpting look is highlighter. What makes your highlighter different for soft sculpting is that you don’t want it to look obvious. You want to give the appearance of being lit-from-within by avoiding applying your highlighter too heavy or by adding texture to your skin.


Illuminate your skin and add to its natural radiance. You want to avoid the stripe of highlighter along your cheekbones that is overly visible. If your skin is older, there’s a helpful trick to correctly apply your highlighter. Just like when applying blush, you want to smile softly when applying your highlighter. Smiling means that you can avoid applying your highlighter on the fine lines and wrinkles that form around your eyes.


The same rules apply when choosing your highlighter as they do for blush. Avoid powder formulas and instead choose a liquid highlighter to give you a more natural look. Liquid formulas naturally absorb into your skin, giving you that naturally illuminated look.
When you’re aiming for a soft sculpting look, you want to avoid using a powder highlighter. This type of highlighter sits on your skin and gives an artificial look, especially as it sparkles in the sun. These products can give your skin a shiny or greasy texture, instead of the dewy glow that you’re aiming for.


You can place your highlighter near where the blush has already been applied. You want to create a ‘gleam’ on your skin by applying it above your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, brow bone, your inner eye, and your cupid’s bow. The secret is to focus on the parts of your face where the sun would naturally hit.

Sculpting your face


Makeup is something that is highly personal. No two people apply makeup the same way and everything looks different on different people. A smoky eye might flatter one eye shape and not another. You might find a lipstick that is your perfect match, but that doesn’t compliment the skin tone of your best friend. It’s all about tailoring makeup and trends to suit your face.


If you want to master the art of makeup, you need to get to know your face. It’s not just about recognising your reflection, but instead knowing how your skin works and what flatters your face.


Just like any makeup trend, soft sculpting isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of makeup. It’s not a trend that works for every occasion – or even every face. You want to break the soft sculpting trend down into a step-by-step process, focusing on each step individually.
Start by learning how to apply contour to your face and understand which products to use when. While powder works for more dramatic looks, you want to focus on cream and liquid products for a softer look. Apply your chosen product with a light hand to avoid an unnatural finish. It’s best to start small and build the product until you achieve your desired finish.


When you’re working on your blush, make sure to apply it in a way that lifts your face. Chose a cream or liquid blush and smile so that you can apply it to the apples of your cheeks. The same rules apply for your highlighter. Keep it natural and apply it on the spots of your face where the sun naturally shines.


When you learn how to do these three steps in a way that suits your face, you’ll master the art of soft sculpting. It’s a way of helping you learn the difference between the makeup we see on social media and ‘real life’ makeup.

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