If anyone's over the heavily-contoured look, it's Sir John. Not that he was ever really here for it. Case in point: His immaculately-sculpted clients, like Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn, Karlie Kloss, and, you know, BEYONCÉ. You'll never see perceptible cocoa-colored dashes, AKA V.C.L's (visible contour lines), on them and yet their cheekbones are always poppin'. His secret? A technique he calls Invisible Contouring. And trust us when we tell you, it's the future.
"Invisible contouring is the 2.0 of contouring," he told MarieClaire.com at his pop-up master class, the Sir John Beauty Gallery. "It's pulling back on the aggressive forms of contouring that don't look natural."
So toss the heavy contour stick, because it's about time we all get schooled in the anti-Instagram sculpt:
1. Make sure your skin is 💦. "I start out with wet skin, whether the skin's slightly damp from moisturizer or a water-based foundation," explains Sir John. The latter because H20-based foundations are equal parts weightless and buildable, so they're easy to blend, are easy to layer, and won't cake.
2. Toss the contour stick, reach for a matte blush. A taupe matte blush is Sir John's secret weapon, as it's a softer, more subtle pigment that works on all skin tones to shade the silhouettes of the face. For deeper skin tones, Sir John uses a cream with gray undertones, as well as powder, to increase the depth of the contour.
"With a brush, I'll start to press in a taupe or matte colored blush into the cheeks, sockets of the eyes, down the sides of the nose, and jawline to create a sense of illusion or depth of field," he explains, emphasizing the importance of the jawline, an often neglected area that's essential for fluidity. "I see these girls with all this contouring [on the face], but their neck looks flat, you know?"
The matte finish is vital because it absorbs the light. "We're part of such a selfie-obsessed generation and it's all about the photo," he says. "A cool matte recedes for that sculpted, hallowed effect." And if you're rocking a smoky eye, shading around the eyes will really make it pop.
3. Blend, blend, blend. Seriously, Sir John may be the greatest blender of all time, so there should *not* be a line in sight, you understand? After tapping the blush into the skin, he'll use the tips of his fingers to remove any excess product. To further blend, he—brace yourself for a game-changing tip—uses a squeaky-clean brush, sans color, to ensure a smooth, seamless finish. Always have one on hand.
4. Highlight to enhance your contour. "It's the icing on the cake—that bippity boppity boop," he explains. "It gives skin a three-dimensional quality, adding the luminous properties that give you a sense of realistic skin."
Your highlighter (he's partial to cream formulas) should be applied to the high planes of the face where light hits naturally: the top of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, cupid's bow, and temples. Your pinky finger serves as an excellent blender, too.