Consider Mario Dedivanovic the man who put Kim Kardashian’s cheekbones on the map. As Kim’s go-to makeup artist, he’s become known as a contouring master who chisels and sculpts celebrities’ cheekbones like no other. Although he’s a member of Kim’s glam squad, he’s also a pro at creating more subtle versions of his signature makeup technique like the fresh look he created for Kate Bosworth, seen above. If you’ve haven’t been able to get your hands on a ticket to one of Mario’s master classes where he shares his pro-tips on creating these looks at home, we’ve grilled the pro for five ways you can upgrade your own contouring technique.
1. Go Easy on Layering Powders and Creams
Can you spell c-a-k-e-y? “You need to layer textures only if you’re going in front of a camera for 12 hours,” he says. For a subtle take, stick to powder: Dust a deeper one in the hollows of cheeks and a lighter one above the bones like the two shades in Tom Ford’s Skin Illuminating Powder Duo in Moonlight ($80; nordstrom.com).
2. Brush with a Lighter Hand in the Morning
“The technique can look heavy-handed in natural daylight,” Dedivanovic says. So unless you’re staging an elaborate selfie, think of contouring like you would a pair of Swarovski-covered Choos and save it for evenings out.
3. Work with an Even Base
Contouring on bare skin produces a severe contrast between your cosmetics and your complexion. Dedivanovic applies an ultra-hydrating, water-based foundation or tinted moisturizer like Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation ($62; sephora.com) before sweeping on contouring powder so the shadows blend and appear realistic.
4. Use Brushes Instead of a Sponge
Although he packs close to 100 brushes in his case, Dedivanovic swears by this trio for most cheek work: an angled brush for contouring, a powder brush to highlight, and a blush brush to top the apples with a bright pop of pink. Surratt Beauty’s Artistique Sculpting Brush ($90; sephora.com) is designed to subtly add definition to the angles and planes of your face for a flattering contour.
5. Pick and Choose Your Makeup Trends Wisely
Hard-truth time: Just because you spot a trend on Instagram doesn’t mean you have to do it IRL. If you already have, say, cheekbones as sharp as marquise diamonds, hold off. Contouring could end up giving you a “theatrical” look, says Dedivanovic.