image: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw7mysen4T0">YouTube</a>
Save the bright colors, shapes, and poop-emoji face paint for Halloween.
Just when you thought the highly YouTube-able practice of contouring was on its way back into the trend vault for another 10-15 years, we’ve been blindsided by a new variation on the technique: clown contouring.
This new take on an old trend has taken the beauty world by storm in just weeks. A lot of people think it’s great, but there is a fine line between brilliance and just plain bonkers.
Contouring is a method of applying makeup to specific areas of your face to give the appearance of light and depth, thus creating the illusion of “contours.” Contouring how-to videos became popular on YouTube years ago, and this most recent version, clown contouring, shows how to apply makeup in geometric shapes reminiscent of clown makeup.
"Clown contouring" started when popular YouTuber Belladelune uploaded a tutorial rocking a look that would make Ronald McDonald proud. Her video is now being passed around the Internet, and people are going crazy for this new “makeup hack."
I have been doing makeup professionally for seven years. Makeup can be fun, and the possibilities that can be achieved with it are limitless. However, as an artist, I’ve got a problem with tutorials like these: they’re setting everyday women up to believe that this is something that they must incorporate into their makeup routines. (Psst — it's not.)
Clown contouring isn’t a totally new concept. Legend has it that it was invented by celebrity makeup artist Joe Blasco in the '60s or '70s (Ravishly could not confirm this). Individuals are enthralled by it, but most die-hard makeup lovers and artists have been "contouring" with various hues for decades: different colors of cream shades assist in reducing redness, hyperpigmentation, dullness, and dark circles.
The clown contouring craze is taken to ridiculous extremes. Even though they’re applying makeup in such a crazy, labor-intensive way, the men and women doing these tutorials do not look that dramatically different when they're done — and what’s more, you can achieve the same end result with a far less intricate regimen. Will clown contouring help improve slight skin imperfections? Absolutely, but this can also be achieved by simply sweeping on a color-correcting concealer on the area you’d like to correct. End of story. (Benefit, Smashbox, and NYX all have color-correcting products for those interested in achieving an even complexion sans the circus look, and best of all, they won’t take you more than a few minutes to use.)
Having a glamorous routine that utilizes elements of color correcting is completely realistic, but painting your face to resemble a clown is an outrageous waste of makeup and an even bigger waste of your time. I am no stranger to creating avant-garde looks on my clients or even on myself, and I'm an avid fan of pushing my creative limits. However, this process doesn't seem to serve a true purpose aside from on-camera shock value. Save the bright colors, shapes, and poop-emoji face paint for Halloween.