As a lifelong member of the IBTC (itty bitty...you get it), I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have big boobs. As a preteen, I got boobs before any of my friends did and had one blissful summer of being the only girl at Camp Mataponi who needed a bra. But then they just kind of...stopped growing. As everyone around me started blossoming into B's, C's and D's, my A cups wouldn't budge.
I did all the things Google told me to in an attempt to make them grow (Eat more pasta! Massage them every night before bed! Stop wearing a bra!), but it was hopeless. My high school boyfriend constantly made comments about how he wished my boobs were bigger, and it only made me feel worse about something I'd always been insecure about.
Deep down I knew it shouldn't matter. I should be happy to have boobs and not worry about back pain or bralettes not fitting. But the way we feel about our bodies isn't always logical. I even came very close to getting a boob job the summer before I went to college. But I chickened out at the last minute when the plastic surgeon started making the incision marks on my chest. I realized what a major, scary surgery it would be.
After that I pretty much accepted my lot in life as a permanent A cup—until I saw a video on Instagram of a woman contouring her boobs. With a few flecks of highlighter and bronzer, she went up three cup sizes in a matter of minutes. It was straight-up sorcery.
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The first time I tried it was on an early-stages date with my now boyfriend (who, I should mention, likes my boobs just the way they are—not that a guy's opinion should matter, I've learned). We were going on a really fancy date to celebrate our first month together, and I bought a new LBD for the occasion. Per usual, I thought I'd feel more comfortable with a little extra oomph underneath it and decided to test out the boob contouring trick I'd seen online.
And let me tell you: It worked.
For the first time ever, I had the dress-stretching cleavage that I'd always dreamed about. Or at least it looked like I did. I felt the sexiest I had ever felt, and all it took was some contour stick and highlighter. My boyfriend obviously knew it was makeup—he has no illusions about the fact that I grew three sizes overnight, and the makeup on the white bedsheets the next morning wasn't exactly discrete—but he loved the confidence it gave me and was fully in support.
Then a few days later, I wore my new “look” out with friends and they incessantly mocked me for it.
Contouring, which everyone was once so obsessed with, has suddenly become a dirty word. All over the Internet, people are campaigning for the death of contouring, claiming that Kardashian-style heavy makeup is “out” and whatever nontouring is is “in.” For some reason I’ve been made to feel bad by both my public and private communities for doing something that makes me feel good about myself. There are all kinds of mean Internet memes about girls who contour being "fake," and a belief that anyone who does it is either a) trying to hide something or b) hates the way they look.
So let me repeat this: My reasons for contouring are nobody's business but my own. Contouring my chest has given me a sense of confidence that I used to think could only come from plastic surgery. I love my body, but the fact that I can use makeup to enhance something that’s always made me feel a little insecure has been life-changing.
I don't do it every day, but it's become a part of my routine whenever I wear a low-cut shirt or am in a situation where I want a confidence boost (yes, I have contoured my boobs for a job interview). At this point I have the formula down to a science and can bring my boobs up a cup size in three minutes flat.
MY CONTOUR KIT
"Body contouring" sounds intimidating, but all you really need to try it is a contour stick, a highlighter, and a blending brush. And if you don't want to invest in an entire "kit" when you're first testing it out, you can use dark bronzer to contour and a shimmery eye shadow to highlight. The most important thing, though, is the brush—badly blended contour just isn't cute.
Using a contouring stick or pencil that's a few shades darker than your skin, draw a half-moon (or, more simply, a boob-shaped) outline at the top of each of your boobs. The higher you go away from your nipple, the bigger it will make your boobs look. But take it from a pro, if you go too high, it doesn't exactly look natural. Next, draw a straight line from the middle of your chest down the center of your cleavage and add lines on the top and bottom of each of your collarbones.
Take a matte highlighting stick or pencil that's a few shades lighter than your skin tone, and trace lines directly underneath your dark half-moons and in between the lines on your collar bone. Now stop and Snapchat a picture of yourself to your friends, because at this point your chest looks completely ridiculous. The Mayfair filter is a winner. Just trust.
Blend the contour and highlight using quick, circular motions. Personally I like to use a large contouring brush because I think it makes the effect look more natural, but if you want a harder, more dramatic line, blend with something smaller and use small, sweeping motions instead of circular ones.
This step is optional, depending on your desired effect, but it’s my personal favorite. Use a powder brush to dab shimmery highlighter on the insides of your boobs (the part where they look the fullest) and blend. It draws attention to the center of your chest, which increases the look of natural cleavage.
The Internet may not agree with my "fake it tlil ya make it" attitude toward my boobs, but it's cool. I do it for the same reason I blast Robyn's "Dancing on My Own" after a bad day or wear mascara when I go out in public: It makes me feel good. Plus it's a lot cheaper than investing in a whole new set of boobs and the bras to go with them. Even if it does mean that all of my white shirts are pretty much ruined.