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A Lesson in Colorless Contouring at Nina Ricci

Photo: Gianni Pucci /

Photo: Gianni Pucci /

There is no shortage of contouring tutorials on YouTube, or of palettes, crayons, and creams designed to sculpt Kardashian-esque cheekbones. But for those of us who prefer a more pared-back approach in lieu of a makeup road map and an hour of blending, I suggest taking your cues from maquillage master Aaron de Mey. Backstage at Nina Ricci, the face painter contrasted freshly washed and blown-out strands with strategic shine, keeping it concentrated on the top half of the face. After prepping catwalkers’ complexions with a light moisturizer (his favorite formula is from La Roche-Posay) and covering dark circles and the edges of the nose with YSL Touche Éclat or Givenchy Mister Light, he used a fine-tipped brush to camouflage any blemishes with concealer. “The secret is not to use foundation,” de Mey noted. Lids were topped off with MAC Crème Brillance, a clear gloss that looks like “oil on water” but doesn’t feel sticky. “I want it to be really shiny, which makes the eyes come forward and gives you an automatic contour in the crease without having to use any color,” he said. Next, he dabbed a cream highlighter onto cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and inner corners of the eyes before layering it with a rich cream, like Weleda Skin Food or the French pharmacy staple Effadiane Crème, for a dewy effect. To brighten tired eyes, the pro rimmed the waterline with a beige pencil and lacquered lashes with three to four coats of mascara, using a fan brush to concentrate the inky formula at the roots. As a finishing touch, a clean spoolie was spritzed with a travel-size can of L’Oréal’s cult-classic Elnett hair spray and brushed through arches. “Pushing the brows up makes the girls look more wide-eyed and awake,” de Mey said. And on day five of PFW (not that I’m counting or anything), who doesn’t want that?

—Amber Kallor,

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