It was an exciting day when I first purchased Chanel's ever so famous 'Bronze Universal' let me tell you! I took it home, placed it delicately on my bathroom counter and cherished its very existence in my makeup collection, but there was one problem - I was at a complete loss of how best to use it. I googled it, I tweeted about it, and I googled it some more - but each time I'd receive a multitude of different answers of how best to apply it. The lady at the Chanel counter suggested I used a flat foundation brush to work it into the skin for contouring - and for a while that was the method I used. Although it worked, the method just didn't float my boat - it may have been the brush I was using but I felt as if I needed to test a slightly different approach. So, I took it upon myself to test and try all kinds of different ways of working with it until I settled upon one that worked for me and one that provided me with the best results. Mission accomplished.
As some of you may know, I'm a massive fan of contouring. I naturally have quite defined cheekbones and they're something I like to accentuate more when I can - simply because they give my face definition and shape and they're a feature I feel I need to make the best of! I've been contouring for a few years now - ever since I first learnt 'the secret' (ooo 'the secret'..) of how to make your face appear more sculpted - my makeup collection is full of all sorts of highlighters, base products and sculpting essentials. Chanel's Bronze Universal provides the most natural looking 'skin-like' finish and works very well with my skin tone. Here's my step by step for my current contouring routine I use for my cheekbones..
1. Apply your base | I use Yves Saint Laurent's 'Touche Eclat' foundation in 'B40' and buff this into the skin using my Real Techniques Buffing Brush. This is the only brush I find works with this foundation and together they are an absolute cosmetic dream team! This stage provides a flawless looking 'blank canvas' ready for sculpting (I apply a primer beforehand too - just to make sure my makeup is being applied on a clean, smooth base).
2 & 3. Chanel Bronze Universal | If you're unsure how or where to place the line of contour, a good way to find your natural cheekbone 'shape' is to simply pull a fish face. Not at all attractive but suck in your cheeks for a second and you'll notice where your natural line is (google this method if you're unsure!) You can see where I've placed my line of contour - I always begin near my hairline and apply most of the product here, as this is where I want my contour to be strongest and where there is naturally more shadow on the face. I then take the product down near to wear my inner cheek is - making sure that the line there is slightly thinner than it is near to my hairline.
I do this using my fingers or a flat foundation brush - but if I'm honest I find using my fingers to apply this works better than a brush - as the product is warmed up and can be moulded into the skin more (of course if you're going to do it this way then it goes without saying to make sure you're hands are squeaky clean before doing this step..)
4. Buffing using Real Techniques Buffing Brush | Buff the line you have just made into the skin using a buffing brush - making sure the movements you use are along the same 'line'. You don't want to be swirling the brush all over your cheeks as this will ruin the whole effect!
5. Mac Mineralise Skinfinsh Natural in 'Medium' | I then apply my Mac MSF using my Real Techinques powder brush. This sets the base I have just applied. As a general rule, any 'wet' product you apply to your face should be applied before your powder - and any powder products applied afterwards. You know it makes sense... ;)
6. Optional Step - Sleek Contour Kit in 'Light' | Sometimes, the contour I created with the Chanel is enough for me. On other occasions, I want a little bit more 'oomph' (nights out for example) - this is when I apply the matte bronzing powder from this palette. I use my Real Techniques Contouring brush to do this as i find it works well with my powder products, and simply go over the line I've just created, being careful to blend it in properly. It can sometimes look a little 'muddy' if you over apply so paler skin tones - take heed! I then apply the highlighting powder across the top of my cheekbones (just underneath the eye area) and sweep this up to my hairline.
7. Blush | I apply my blush of choice on the apples of my cheeks and take it up slightly near my hairline - this way I have the highlight, blush and contour all merged together and running the same way. I used Benefit's Coralista blush in this example - if you're wondering!
8. Contouring complete! If you're still unsure, it helps to look at your face from different angles in a mirror and realise where light naturally hits, and where shadow naturally falls (looking up into a mirror highlights the lighter areas, and vice versa). I then usually take my contouring underneath my jawline and onto my forehead using the same method (again, google this as there's tonnes of images of where to place contour & highlight - it's generally made in a '3' shape around the side of the face)
The way you work with this product depends on what kind of look you want to go for. A flat kabuki brush will work wonders for an all over bronzing base, but when it comes to contouring, the softness of the line you use is key to creating a natural looking, flawless finish. The texture of the Bronze Universal is very blendable - almost like a hybrid of a mousse and a cream. It's also very buildable and is a product that can be used in a multitude of ways. This is just how I contour my cheekbones - you might find another way works better for you but this gets the best results for me personally! Kim Kardashian - eat yer heart out, petal!
Here's a rundown of products used in this post:
YSL Touche Eclat foundation in 'B40' (review here)
Chanel 'Bronze Universal' (first impressions post here)
Real Techniques brushes - Buffing, Contour, Powder, Blush (collection post/review here)
Mac Mineralise Skinfinish Natural in 'Medium'
Benefit Coralista blush (review here)
Sleek Contour Kit in 'Light'
Benefit 'They're Real' mascara (review here)
Sleek Eyebrow kit in 'Light'
HD Brows palette in 'Bombshell'
Sleek Eyebrow kit in 'Light'
HD Brows palette in 'Bombshell'
Mac Smolder eye kohl
Mac 'Plink!' lipstick.
I also used this method of contouring in my FOTD post here - which was used for a night out! You can see the definition and line of contour more clearly!
Have you tried Chanel's Bronze Universal? Are you a fan of contouring like me?