Makeup Tips

Blush Draping Is the Under-the-Radar Way to Sculpt Your Face Without Any Contour

Rachel Lapidos

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Photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma
Typically, when I want to give my face more of a sculpted look, I'll either carve my facial muscles with gua sha, or use my NuFace (which uses microcurrent). That's all because I'm not savvy enough with makeup to do any contouring, which would, in theory, be the easiest way to make my cheekbones look more chiseled.

You don't have to have an entire contour kit or Kardashian-level skills in order to fake a more angled face, though—all you need is some blush. Browse through photos of any 1970s-era icon (like David Bowie, Grace Jones, Jerry Hall, etc.), and you'll see that they all did something called "blush draping"... which basically sculpts your face with zero contour product or microcurrent device required.

"Draping is essentially sculpting the face with blush," says Merrady Wickes, a makeup artist and beauty director for The Detox Market. "No wonder this blush is making a comeback right alongside flared jeans, silky blouses, and disco dresses—the blush sweeps high on the cheekbones upwards into the temples, and across the brow bone both above and below." So think of it as a C-shape that blends in towards your eye.

If you look to the 70s-style rockstars for the inspo, you'll notice that the blush draping looks quite... bold. Which is totally fine, but you can do it in a more subtle way, too. "You can absolutely use bold colors, but the modern version utilizes watercolor pinks, fuchsias, and peaches for an ethereal look, or warm, tawny tones for a bronze-y finish," says Wickes, who likens the technique as an upgrade to the monochromatic look.

Her pro tips? Make sure your complexion is ready before draping it with blush. "Redness around the nose or dark circles will not play nicely," says Wickes. "Start with a light hand and build slowly." You can use either a cream or powder blush and mix and layer to your heart's content to see what looks best, just be sure to blend really well "so the edges are super diffused." Her fave for this is a liquid-to-velvet pigment like Ilia's Color Haze Multi-Pigment ($32), and we love Glossier Cloud Paint ($18) and Revlon Photoready Insta-blush Stick ($5) for getting the look. Once you have this down, blast some Ziggy Stardust, put on your vintage T-shirt, and strut right into your day, cheekbones first.

BTW, makeup artists say that blush makeup is the easiest way to wake up your face, which is yet another reason to invest in a compact. For your eyes, here's a pro guide on how to apply eyeshadow

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