I'm convinced contouring wouldn't be as big if it weren't for the instant gratification. That and the fact that you can literally contour with anything in the brown family. Merely whipping out your brow palette and drawing a few strategically placed lines creates the illusion of a new cheekbones. Even a taupe eyeshadow will do you in a pinch. I've even seen it done with self-tanner before. Which brings me to my next point: Some people never contour because they believe there are too many steps (but as self-tanner very clearly proves—do it once, and you're set for the week). On the whole, manipulating your face for a lovely evening of date manipulation requires no more than a couple of minutes. Observe:
My preferred product for contouring is brow powder. For my skin tone, I look for an earthy-taupe shade to create the effect of gentle shadows being cast on my face. I'm using Chanel's Le Sourcil De Chanel palette in Brun, which has three universal colors you can play around with. For my olive complexion, I use the taupe powder in the middle. I find that, for myself at least, it is much easier to create a contour and control product on a made-up face. Having your foundation and/or concealer in place along with blush is almost like a faint road map on where to contour next.
For instant cheekbones, look into the mirror and pose like you're about to take a selfie (you know that look you give) and bite in your inner cheeks. I start with a small, stiff, yet soft eyeshadow brush. Use this indentation as a guide to trace product through the hollows of your cheeks. Follow the flow of your jawline and temple—all of our lines will be different. Study your face to know where exactly you would like a little more definition. I like to make a check mark on each cheek—I don't know why. Anyway! Take a Q-tip and erase away the line you created, leaving a whisper of a line. Brow powder is resilient and has great staying power, so go ahead and give it a good rub down. Blend the lines until there's just a faint shadow left. I finish the look with a thin veil of loose powder on my face. It's that easy.
Photos courtesy of the author. Highly saturated custom lip color— no filter required.