The hyper-contoured look, made popular by none other than Kim Kardashian, has garnered popularity high and far. In one swift Instagram post, the TV personality-turned social media celeb, introduced the world to her makeup roadmap and the “kontouring” frenzy took off. YouTubers, bloggers and influencers alike, hopped on the contouring train, urging everyday women to do the same. But although a chiseled, super-contoured aesthetic may work wonders for celebrities on the red carpet or models walking the runway, incorporating this look into your daily routine can do more harm than good.
In all honesty, it IS quite intriguing. That pie chart of browns and whites that transforms a face is certainly a talent that makeup artists have crafted and honed. But that’s just it – it transforms a woman’s face into one that doesn’t quite look like her anymore, and the scary thing is, we’re all just a pie chart away from becoming Kardashian contouring clones. Women should be owning their natural beauty, quirks and unique attributes, rather than putting energy (and money) into completely changing their faces.
Not just that, the makeup that we use every day is laden with harmful chemicals that are damaging our skin. Over-contouring is a sure way to guarantee you’re using heavy makeup that is probably failing to let your skin breathe. Applying heavy makeup daily can lead to skin conditions, allergic reactions and illnesses you may not be aware of. Read on to find out the dangers of the over-contouring trend.
One part of the beauty world has latched on to the minimalist makeup trend, where less is more and looking like you just rolled out of bed has become beautiful. On the other hand, there is this obsession with over-contouring - the minimalist’s polar opposite, which makes the face look completely unnatural and transforms a woman into a dramatically thin-faced version of herself. Sure, the look might work for celebs who are onscreen or walking the red carpet, but in everyday life the highly contoured look just looks totally unnatural.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but we’re guessing Kim Kardashian is in no short demand. Over-contouring can strip women of their individuality, making everyone look the same. It hides features such as freckles and plump cheeks - attributes that make us uniquely beautiful. Women should focus more on embracing their own beauty than trying to emulate the Kardashian clan.
According to the Huffington Post, out of 1,000 carcinogens the EU has banned, the US has only banned 9 of them. Carcinogens are any substances that are directly involved in causing cancer. With stats like that, just think of how many carcinogens are in the makeup we use daily, especially if we’re over-contouring. Layering makeup on our skin can have detrimental effects that can lead to future illnesses. If carcinogens are banned somewhere, they should be banned everywhere…just some food for thought.
Along with carcinogens, there are unfortunately many harmful chemicals used in beauty products such as foundation, concealer, blush, and bronzer – key elements of the contouring craze. These chemicals are often referred to as ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and include petrolatum, PEG compounds, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, DEA-related ingredients, and the list goes on. According to a study done at David Suzuki that looked at how many of these ingredients were present in cosmetics, 80 percent of the products involved contained at least one of the dirty dozen chemicals.
You might not think about it too much, but makeup should have an expiry date. If it doesn’t, it’s likely that there is an unhealthy amount of preservatives in the product. Preservatives are chemicals that can react with your skin and can actually make your body quite sick. Layering on heavy makeup as done in over-contouring can be harmful, with so many preservative chemicals penetrating the skin.
Skin conditions such as eczema and inflammation can occur due to the chemical ingredients in contouring cosmetics. These chemicals can strip away the skin’s natural defenses and dry out your complexion, leading to flakey and irritated skin. The hyper-contoured look requires so much makeup that the face looks like it completely transforms. Using all that makeup cannot be good for your face.
Allergic reactions are rather common when it comes to cosmetics. The Daily Mail reported that medical experts consent that daily applications of cosmetics can lead to increased skin sensitivity and allergic reactions on the face. So if you’re prone to break outs or notice your skin reacting poorly to something, it could very well be the products in your makeup bag. Especially if painting dark makeup on your skin is part of your daily morning routine.
The hyper-contoured look has become a beauty goal and is continually promoted as a reasonable aspiration that boosts confidence and self-esteem. But, self-esteem should not be measured by contouring, and it’s unfortunate that the resemblance of a slimmer, chiseled face leads some women to bear a higher self-esteem. Celebs and influencers who flaunt the over-contoured look have placed clouded judgment and unrealistic beauty aspirations into the minds of everyday women.
Parabens are the most commonly used preservatives in cosmetics. These chemicals easily penetrate the skin and can interfere with the functioning of hormones. You may be thinking that parabens can’t be that harmful since they are naturally found in low levels in some foods such as strawberries, carrots, and onions; however, these foods are metabolized when eaten, whereas when they are applied to the skin, they avoid the metabolic process and enter the blood stream and body organs.
Magnesium silicate is a chemical that is capable of damaging the skin and is also thought to possibly lead to ovarian cancer. It is used in makeup and powders (essential in contouring) and can cause irritation in the lungs. Over-contouring means using more makeup on your skin, which heightens the risk of skin and health problems.
Contouring, and especially over-contouring camouflages your skin and highlights what is wrong with your face. In beauty, the emphasis should not be on what is wrong with your features, but what is right and how you can highlight those aspects. With over-contouring, women are literally hiding so much of their face that it doesn’t even look like them anymore. Sure your flaws may be hidden, but there are more natural ways to instead accentuate your best features rather than trying to change your face.
Plastering on makeup can make you look much older…and not in a good way. Over-contouring can result in the makeup settling into fine lines and highlighting wrinkles on your face. This can age you greatly, which is probably not on anyone’s beauty wish list. Plus, making your cheeks look extremely hollow makes one look undoubtedly older. High cheekbones or not, concave cheeks are not a good look.
As with any vigorous layering of makeup, over-contouring lends a hand in the caked-on makeup look, where the skin no longer looks that much like skin anymore. Over-contoured faces look chiseled, sculpted and actually quite fake. Previously reserved for runway models that need to stand out on the catwalk, that is where the highly contoured look should stay.
What may look good and natural on the faces of celebrities on camera, can look harsh on the everyday woman. Sure, subtle contouring and highlighting does a stellar job enhancing your features and emphasizing your cheekbones, but over-contouring can make your features look harsh and impractically bold. Harsh features are not something you want for your daily 9 to 5, and probably not beyond, either.
Let’s face it, makeup is expensive, and purchasing all the products to make hyper-contouring part of your daily routine is likely taking a toll on your bank account. Of course you want to buy good products, and with all the chemicals prevalent in a wide array of cosmetics, it’s important to look for natural and organic beauty products. But less is more, ladies. Think quality over quantity and spend your money on the right cosmetics.