Does Cleavage Contouring Actually Work? I Took Makeup To Boobs To Find Out

Thanks to the Kardashians' unavoidable posts from our Facebook friends, we've all probably been exposed to the face contouring phenomenon by now. If you haven't, let me fill you in. Contouring is the subtle art of strategically using makeup to contour your face. It's a method used to highlight your features that's been around forever but has only recently become a lot more mainstream. What once seemed like a beauty trick that only the most skilled makeup artists could accomplish is now a lot more accessible thanks to tutorials on the likes of Pinterest and YouTube. That all sounds great, but I want more. If we can highlight our faces, why can't we also use makeup to accentuate other parts of our bodies? Specifically, could I create the illusion of a bigger bust using careful shadowing and blending? Determined to find out if I could create the cleavage of my dreams without shopping for new bras or getting plastic surgery, I attempted contouring my boobs.

Just so you can fully appreciate my forthcoming boob transformation, you should know that I wear a size 34A bra. Without going into a whole history of my bra size, I feel like I should mention that prior to losing a significant amount of weight a few years ago, I wore a 38C, so I've had the rare benefit of being on both the moderate and small points on the boob size spectrum. I'm a fan of my lady lumps at any size because they're mine, and while I sometimes wish they had a little more oomph, I'm not actively looking for the miracle solution that gives me back the cleavage I once had. But when the Internet tells me that makeup alone could make my boobs look bigger, how could I not take on that challenge?

I reviewed a few tutorials, and eventually decided to use the method used in this YouTube video that explains step-by-step how to contour your boobs. Regardless of what method you choose (they're all fundamentally similar, anyway), there are a few supplies that you're definitely going to need.

What You Need To Contour Your Boobs

  1. Concealer lighter than your skin tone for highlighting.
  2. Concealer darker than your skin tone for shadowing.
  3. An angled brush (or any smaller brush) for precision cleavage etching.
  4. A big power brush for blending.

I've never contoured my face before, so I needed to buy some light and dark concealer. Because I'm not sure how often I'll be contouring in the future, I went to a local drug store to pick up some affordable (less than $10 each) light and dark concealer. This is where I ran into my first problem: It's tough enough finding makeup for fair skin, but it's close to impossible to find a shade that's actually lighter than my ghostly chest. If I go much lighter than I am, I'll become invisible. I grabbed a shade off the shelf that I thought was lighter my skin, and moved on to find the dark concealer. I didn't want to go too dark, because then it would be even more obvious that my boobs were essentially drawn on. I selected a tannish beige color that I thought was tan enough for boob contouring purposes, and hurried home to transform into a D cup.

Back at home in the poor lighting of my bathroom, I realized that the light concealer I bought wasn't light enough, and the dark concealer I bought wasn't dark enough. Both shades easily blended into my skin without a trace. The only thing being highlighted here was my own incompetence in making decisions in the drug store cosmetics department using deceptive fluorescent light as my guide. I decided to work with the "light" concealer, and chose a dark brown eyeshadow to serve as my dark concealer. I know that's breaking the rules and potentially subverting the success of my boob contouring experiment, but I was desperate.

The Contouring Process

To begin, I applied the light concealer between my boobs and drew a triangle above the spot where my cleavage ends. You want to create a funnel shape with the triangular part starting midway between your collarbone and where your cleavage starts. The light concealer is what's going to highlight your chest and set the foundation for the illusion of a bigger bust that you're going to create when you apply the darker powder.

Next, I used the dark powder to make two straight lines, like a vertical equals sign. Make sure each line is against the edge of each boob on the inside. The space between the two lines and how long they are really depends on your boobs. If you go too high, when you start blending it might look like there's a big butt drawn on your chest.

With your dark concealer (or eyeshadow) applied, you're going to use your angled brush to create a curve on each side that arches over the top of each breast. Use the brush as if you're drawing on one side of your boobs.

Depending on the type of powder and amount that you used, you may need to add a little more to have enough to create a line that reaches high enough. As you continue to extend the curve, your enhanced cleavage will slowly start to take shape.

Once you're all finished shadowing in your boobs, you'll be ready to take on the world!

Just kidding. Don't go out just yet, because you're not done. I repeat, you are not done. I learned this the hard way. I was standing in front of the kitchen window taking selfies for this article when my boyfriend came into the room to get some water. I was excited to show off my new boobs, so I turned around, brandishing my chest, and casually asked him, "Do my boobs look bigger?!?!" He studied my chest carefully, and I could tell he was proceeding with the same caution he did when I asked for his honest opinion on palazzo pants. "Is that... Did you draw boobs on?" That's when I realized I needed to go back in the bathroom, blend for another ten minutes, and head straight to a room in the house with softer, more forgiving light. I also realized that some MySpace angles couldn't hurt and might actually camouflage my boob bluff. And voilà! Success-ish.

Parting Thoughts On Boob Contouring

It was a fun experiment, but will I contour my boobs again? Probably not. Boob contouring might be great for taking selfies, but I'm not sure how else to integrate it into my life. After all, everyone I know is pretty well aware by now that my breasts are small and my cleavage is scarce. I just don't think I can pull it off.

There seems to be a high margin for error with boob contouring — just look at Kylie Jenner's boob contouring mishap. I have a theory that boob contouring may appear more subtle on those with tanner complexions and beige tones in their skin. It's also clear that boob contouring looks best in soft lighting. If you truly want to succeed at boob contouring, take the time to find the right makeup that's going to work with your skin, and don't forget to blend, blend, blend. Boob contouring may not be for everyone, but with a gentle hand, it definitely does give the girls that extra little somethin' somethin'. Just please, for the love of accidentally creating what looks like a boob rash, blend.

Images: Author's Own