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NOW READING Afraid to Shade? Pony’s Korean Contouring Tutorial May Change Your Mind
August 19, 2019

Afraid to Shade? Pony’s Korean Contouring Tutorial May Change Your Mind

Kardashian kontour? How about something just as effective but a bit more natural? Korean makeup artist extraordinaire Pony shows us how to do a Korean contour with her new Etude House collab that anyone can do.


Do you love Pony? Because I LOVE Pony. Watching her YouTube videos is one of the highlights of my life.


She recently came out with a collab with Etude House, complete with contour sticks and a rosy tinted eyeshadow palette. But the video that caught my eye was the one where she demo’d the contour sticks. Her technique was similar to Western beauty bloggers, but also not the same. What are the key differences? Let’s take a closer look.



But first, what is contouring?


So first, let me explain what contour is. Contouring is a makeup technique that uses makeup to sculpt, shape, or enhance certain parts of your face and body. It’s been around for approximately a bajillion years, but became popular in the last few years due to Kim Kardashian-West proclaiming it was her biggest makeup tip.


Contouring involves taking a cream or powder product and placing it on strategic areas of your face to create more dimension and depth. Like I said earlier, contouring has been a cornerstone of Western style makeup for the vast majority of the 2010s. You can spend hours, days, weeks, on YouTube looking at tutorials, do’s and dont’s, tips and tricks, techniques. My favorite? Makeup Shayla’s:



Korean vs. Western contour


But back to the differences. Western contouring typically involves a product (either powder or cream) that is multiple shades darker than your skin tone. It’s not a bronzer — it’s a more cool-toned product (hence the whole shading thing). You place it (pretty heavy-handedly) around the hairline. Then you place it along the cheekbones, down along the sides of your nose, and along the jawline. You blend that all in and BOOM. Contoured, downnnn honey.


Once you contour, you have to balance that out with highlight. Highlighting is when you take a lighter colored concealer type product (not to be confused with the shimmery highlight product you place on your cheekbones) that you place under the eyes, in the middle of your forehead, and down the middle of your nose.


korean contour


Western contour (or at least the Instagram version) is quite intense — some people have snatched their faces so severely they look like different people. People can seriously make their noses look like they’ve had plastic surgery. It’s magic, honestly.


Korean contour is like contour-lite. It’s not as extreme as Western contour IMO — it’s applied with a much lighter hand and isn’t so drastic as some Western contour can be. It’s like the little ummph that takes your makeup from basic to slay. Contour is just now becoming popular in Korean makeup, and even now, I don’t really see a lot of Korean women doing it in their makeup tutorials. (In Western makeup, it’s almost a requisite in tutorials at this point.)


In Pony’s tutorial (which you can find here), the makeup star takes the more Korean approach.



She applies the contour stick from Etude House in all of the same areas (along the hairline, cheekbones, jawline), but the nose contour is where things change a little. Instead of contouring along the entire nose bridge, Pony simply applies the contour to the sides of the tip of her nose, horizontally across the tip and a tiny dab at the bottom of the nose, to make the nose appear more narrow and straight.


Another big difference? Pony contours her lips! What a concept! Her tip makes your lips appear fuller and to help keep your lipstick from smudging. Her finished look is very natural … a little brighter, a little more “put-together.” We have to stan.


Do you prefer a Western contour or a Korean contour? What are your contouring tips? Let me know in the comments!




Sheryll Donerson got her start as a beauty writer by writing K-beauty reviews for her blog, The Wanderlust Project. These days, she's lifting heavy weights, eating tacos, drinking (too much) coffee and is 1/4 of the beauty podcast, Beauty Beyond Basics (or Triple Bees for short). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @sheryllrenata.