Soft Sculpting Is the Cool-Girl Way to Contour, and It’s About to Take Off

I’ll be the first to admit it: I hate contouring. Nevermind that I think it makes my face look dirty or that I always end up with one line that’s a little too harsh no matter how much I blend it, but it’s also kind of a hassle. I’ve honestly given up on contouring altogether. Recently, however, I found myself at Milk Makeup’s NYC studio, and my ears perked up at the mention of a phrase I hadn’t heard before: soft sculpting.

“Soft sculpting is the everyday alternative to traditional contouring,” says Sara Wren, director of Artistry at Milk Makeup. “Soft sculpting isn’t about changing the shape of your face, but enhancing your natural bone structure to complement your face shape,” Wren explains. This subtle take on contouring is best achieved by using creamy formulas that blend seamlessly into the skin. 

To achieve this natural-looking effect, Wren likes using concealer rather than a traditional contour stick or bronzing powder. “Try using a cream concealer one to two shades deeper than the shade you wear, swipe it under [your] cheekbones from the corner of the eye upwards to the temple and along the jawline as a beginner’s soft sculpt,” she says. “I like to use the sponge or brush that I applied my base with to blend to make sure both shades blend together seamlessly.”

“Future Fluid is great for soft sculpting because it feels like second skin,” says Wren. “It’s full of hydrating ingredients that have a medium-full coverage and satin finish perfect for soft sculpting. Plus, it’s full of great skincare ingredients to help hydrate and your protect moisture barrier.”

Like I said, I hate contouring. But armed with Wren’s advice, I decided to try soft sculpting for myself—and I’m actually obsessed with the results. 

I applied this all over my face before makeup for a glowy base. 

For a soft skin-like finish, you can’t beat this natural-looking tinted SPF from Lisa Franklin that melts seamlessly into the skin. 

This foundation brush is smaller than most, making it perfect for precision and targeted blending. 

I love popping this concealer under my eyes for its brightening effect. 

For setting makeup under my eyes and in my T-zone, this powder is virtually invisible and still leaves my skin glowy.

Instead of sweeping setting powder in with a brush, I like using a dry Beautyblender to press it in.

This blush-highlighter hybrid works so well for giving my skin and ethereal glow. 

When I prime my eyelashes with this, I could literally be wearing falsies. 

I typically don’t like layering my mascara because it gets clumpy, but this one lets me build on it effortlessly without forming clumps or making my lashes look spidery.

This eyeliner is great for a subtler cat eye—it’s good for precision or easy to smudge out. 

A little bit of this strong-hold brow wax goes a long way for keeping eyebrows in place perfectly. 

This lip gloss is the ideal product for creating juicy, hyper-shiny lips while still imparting color. 

Next: Makeup Artists Say These 6 Moisturisers Will Age You in Reverse