Friends don’t let friends contour the wrong way

Contouring is a huge makeup trend that has taken the internet by storm. There are literally thousands of tutorials claiming to help enhance your face’s natural curves. It’s a really interesting exercise to be able to play with light and shadow and how they interact on your face but let’s be real. There’s a right way to contour.

Since our first Lenny editorial meeting, Jenni has been obsessed with having television’s own Busy Philipps give her a good old-fashioned department-store-style makeup lesson. You may know Busy as Freaks and Geeks‘ Kim Kelly or Cougar Town‘s Laurie Keller or the best part of the seminal film White Chicks. Or you may be obsessed with her two beautiful daughters, Birdie and Cricket, whose perfect little visages smile out at you from her Instagram (which is delightfully honest about the challenges of Hollywood and motherhood both). But Jenni is most impressed by the fact that Busy does her own makeup for lots of events and red carpets.

Almost everyone is spending demented amounts of money getting professionals to make them look like they have anime eyelashes.

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This may not sound like a big deal, but in Hollywood it’s essentially unheard of. Occasionally we’ll meet someone who comes out of the theater world and so is used to wielding their own mascara wand, but almost everyone is spending demented amounts of money getting professionals to make them look like they have anime eyelashes. To be clear, professional makeup artists are amazing: knowledgeable, supportive, and if Lena didn’t have one, her Twitter mentions would be even more hostile. But wouldn’t it be nice to have some of those skills for yourself, so that you could get glamorous if and when you chose, even if it was just for a trip to Chipotle?

It’s not that Jenni is bad at doing her own makeup (Lena is). But Jenni has gotten into a comfortably numb routine (mascara and tinted sunscreen – that’s it). So Busy came to our office, armed with her tool kit and a can-do attitude, and Lena sat and watched intently as she showed Jenni some of her best tricks.

Below are Lena’s field notes so that you CAN try this at home.

Jenni had Busy do half her face while she attempted to handle the other. I cannot honestly say Busy didn’t go in and help a little with Jenni’s side, but no shame. Also it was very cute to hear Busy talk about how she used to VOLUNTEER to do sorority girls’ makeup before parties. “Were you in a sorority?” I ask, trying to understand. “Oh no,” Busy says. “I was just delighted at the opportunity.”


The first thing Busy said that blew our minds is that she often uses multiple shades of concealer. After all-the place below your eyes is not color-matched to your hairline, chin, or the bridge of your nose. She mixes, matches, and blends. Her favorite concealer is by Clé de Peau (although she was sure to tell us she also loves drugstore products, particularly Cover Girl’s black eyeliner).

Busy usually uses her fingers to apply concealer, though she was careful to note that if a makeup artist did that, she’d be pretty bummed. No one needs someone else’s strange fingers in all their facial crevices. We want the distance of a brush.

She feels the single biggest shift you can make to your appearance is concealer, but not where you think: she suggests dotting it around your nostrils to lighten up your whole face. I tried it tentatively as she worked on Jenni and had to really take a moment to contemplate my own beauty.

Busy is also VERY enthused about concealer on your lids, either as a primer for a shadow or just a nice way to even things out. She also explained that she does foundation first and then cover-up, even though the conventional wisdom is the reverse. LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, WE HAVE A WILD ONE HERE.