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The Art of Soft Sculpting with Tasha Reiko Brown


Makeup trends come and makeup trends go, but one cosmetic objective that’s held strong for decades is adding shape and dimension to the face. Contouring—a method of dramatically defining facial features by placing complexion shades lighter and darker than the skin in the hollows and on the high points of the face—has maintained massive popularity among the Instagram and YouTube communities for years. But according to renowned celebrity makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown, there’s a way to accentuate our natural features and achieve the perfect amount of definition without layering tons of product or spending tons of time. It’s called soft sculpting, and Brown thinks it’s a game changer for everyday makeup.

“When you sculpt the face, you bring out the natural highlights and shadows. It’s the perfect backdrop for an enhanced lift,” she explains. “Soft sculpting is more refined and more elegant than the harsher contouring we have been used to. It’s about diffusion and softly carving out the architecture of the face.” With over two decades of industry experience and a client list packed with heavy hitters from Tracee Ellis Ross to Gabrielle Union, Lil Nas X and Alicia Keys, Brown knows a thing or two about customizing makeup to serve the individual. “It’s about working with the lovely and unique features we individually have. We run into issues with makeup when we try and sculpt something that isn’t there,” she says. Here, Brown lays out her soft sculpting protocol.


For your best results with soft sculpting, Brown says you’ve got to get your hands on bronzers and blushes that complement your skin tone. “I often find those with paler skin tones will work with a bronzer that is too orange or too red and in the same breath, deeper skin tones working with a bronzer that is too cold or too neutral. Soft sculpting should be warm and clean and use shades that are already found in the face,” Brown notes. Not sure of your undertone? We’ve got you covered. Check out this fail-proof guide for identifying it.

"Soft sculpting is more refined and more elegant than the harsher contouring we have been used to. It’s about diffusion and softly carving out the architecture of the face."


In a landscape where a full face of heavy makeup is the norm, our expert thinks there’s something to be said for taking a step back and doing more with way less. To that end, she says to focus on factors like product placement and technique to get the soft sculpt of your dreams. “I love to take my bronzer across my forehead, underneath the cheeks, across the jawline and down the neck. It adds a depth to the skin that defines the soft sculpt. Don’t go in too hard too quickly,” Brown instructs. “For highlight, you want to elicit a natural glow, so I like to mix a little liquid highlight into the foundation and then press into the face. It will help to showcase the radiance of the skin.”

Photographed by @tashareikobrown

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