Kim Kardashian is the nation’s indisputable contour queen, and she knows it. Ever since she introduced millions of makeup lovers to Scott Barnes’ contouring technique in 2012, it’s remained a signature part of her glam—and her billion-dollar business: KKW Beauty. It’s just as rare to see the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star without her razor-sharp cheekbones as it is to see her half-sister Kylie Jenner sans lip liner.
The secret to Kardashian’s fiercely defined contour is quality products, practice, patience, and technique. On January 3, 2020, the reality star’s makeup artist, Ash K Holm, gave her YouTube followers in-depth insight into Kardashian’s contour. The expert specifically focused on the makeup she did for Kardashian’s appearance on My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. The episode premiered in October 2020.
The mom of four wore a yellow turtleneck bodycon dress for filming, accessorized with Rene Caovilla heels and Richard Minadeo Dragons & Birds Drop Earrings. She wore her hair in a single long, slicked-back braid, and for makeup, she embraced what Holm describes as neutral-toned “youthful” and “timeless” glam using almost entirely KKW Beauty products. GRAZIA’s a fan of every part of the makeup, but we’re most intrigued by her contour, which looks so picture-perfect it’s…unfair. Ahead, we’ve studied every second of her makeup artist’s tutorial to find out every step towards achieving such a snatched complexion.
How to achieve a Kim-Kardashian-approved contour
STEP 1: Use the KKW Crème Contour and Highlight Set in Medium-Brown or a different cream contour stick to sweep pigment right underneath your cheekbones and the exterior of your face, being sure to apply it to the area just below your hairline as well. Holm‘s tip is to use the top of your ear to guide where to start your cheekbone contour.
STEP 2: Highlight the bridge of your nose. Holm uses KKW Concealer and applies it with a “small synthetic-haired brush.” Create a straight line down the bridge of your nose, and then apply concealer at the top of your nose, extending to your forehead. Blend the concealer on your forehead with a Beauty Blender or another go-to makeup sponge, keeping the concealer on your nose untouched, so it oxidizes.
STEP 3: Contour the sides of your nose, keeping the contour lines “really close” to the concealer. Let the concealer and contour lines sit while you touch up your under eyes with a color corrector and/or concealer to counteract any undereye darkness. When that is done, blend your nose contour.
STEP 4: Bake your undereyes using a translucent powder like KKW Bake. After applying the formula to your undereyes, let the powder sit for a few minutes before gently pressing the powder into the undereyes using a powder puff. Holm uses the powder that’s left to etch around the contour.
STEP 5: Using a small tapered brush and powder contouring powder like KKW Contour, define and sculpt a bit more. Start in the hairline and work the formula in, following the perimeter of the hairline. After that, press the same contour powder onto your cheeks softly to not alter the placement of the cream contour.
STEP 6: Highlight the bridge of your nose using a small, defined brush to add a little bit of glow. Holm uses KKW Beauty Glitz & Glam Highlighter for this step.
STEP 7: Finish by applying blush in a circular, upwards motion right on top of the apples of the cheeks. Feel free to keep the baking powder underneath your eyes while applying eyeshadow to catch any pigment fallout. If not, dust off the remaining powder with a brush.
Want more? Experience Holm’s full 30-minute tutorial in full below to recreate Kardashian’s makeup from the Netflix show.
And if you want to learn how Kardashian contours without her makeup artist’s help, hit “play” on the video below.