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April 2017
Beauty and makeup
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One of the basic make-up techniques is the use of chiaroscuro. The ‘chiaro’ (light) creates a sense of prominence and ‘enlarges’ the surfaces, whilst the ‘scuro’ (dark) makes objects seem smaller.

Here is a simple example: let’s look at the illustration…

Illusione ottica

Does the white circle seem bigger to you than the black one?

In reality, the circles are identical but you will have been misled by an ‘optical illusion’.

By using this technique in make-up, it is possible to effectively divert the eye from, space out, lower or raise numerous blemishes. Brightening provides light, which can flatten and space out any protrusions, whilst using a dark tone gives depth and can be used to tone down or thin out protrusions. The fusion of the two tones can change, mould and alter the facial features.

For shading, one can use both cream or powder products: the former must be measured out carefully to avoid any smudging, and the latter, which are easier to spread, must be used after applying a layer of transparent powder. In both cases the product must be opaque.
The best colours for shading are brown, brown-grey or honey-brown. To illuminate certain areas one should use tones ranging from white to a warm ivory. The product should be opaque for this too.

Some examples of chiaroscuro in make-up

The use of light tones

Brightened parts of the face become more evident: a brightened chin will appear more prominent, whilst darkening the sides of the face will help to make it look thinner. Using a light colour in the middle of the face will give it a more ‘open’ expression, light tones on the cheek bones will make them seem more prominent, and light tones on the bridge of the nose help to make it appear thinner.

Prima del trucco


Zone da truccare

The use of dark tones

Dark tones work by absorbing the light and are used when it is necessary to hollow out the cheek bones slightly, or straighten the sides of the nose. A dark colour can also be used to mark out the eyebrows or outline the eyes, which will make them stand out more.

Prima del trucco


dopo il trucco


The possible ways of using chiaroscuro are endless and, at an optical level, they can produce very interesting results. The technique is the same as the one used in painting to create the effect of volume.
As for all make-up techniques, you need to apply products according to the general harmony of the face, working on any prominent or sunken parts and accentuating or changing them in such a way as to create a more pleasant, complete effect.


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