There’s a reason for the phrase “baby face.” Experts agree that the broader your cheeks and the narrower your chin, the younger your overall appearance seems. Increasingly, dermatologists and plastic surgeons are turning their attention to pumping up the volume and defining the cheeks, which can almost instantly turn back the hands of time. From quick fixes to permanent solutions, here are three ways to put your cheeks back on the map.
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While contouring may seem tricky, makeup kits and step-by-step tutorials make the makeup method—which can fake the look of a totally different bone structure—easier to master. “The best technique I’ve found for sculpting the cheeks is to use a cream contour, like Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand ($38), right below your cheekbones,” says celebrity makeup artist Vincent Oquendo. “Then, layer a matte bronzing powder on top to set it—I like benefit Cosmetics Hula Matte Bronzer ($29)—before applying powder blush on the apples of your cheeks for a flush of color. Finish it off with cream highlighter just above your cheekbones—try Glossier Haloscope ($22)—to make them pop.” But, always be strategic about where you place the highlight —too low or too far forward on the cheekbone can accentuate the wrong area, delivering a drooped effect instead of an elevated one.
How long it takes: Less than 10 minutes
How long it lasts: Until you remove your makeup
Price: Varies; Oquendo’s listed products toal $89
The Filler Fix
“Our faces portray a heart shape (a narrow chin and broad cheeks) when we are young and eventually result in a fuller chin and narrow cheeks as we age,” says Hinsdale, IL, dermatologist Christina Steil, MD. To combat a hollowed look, Dr. Steil says fillers are used around the temples, cheekbones and medial cheek (the part of the cheek that lines up with the outermost corner of the lips) to restore a youthful look and plump the upper face. “Hyaluronic acid fillers work well to restore volume loss, but the area where they are injected, as well as the quantity used, varies depending on the patient. For the best results, I often recommend pairing fillers with skin-tightening treatments like Ultherapy or BTL Exilis two to three weeks prior to injecting fillers for collagen stimulation. Depending on the filler and the patient’s lifestyle, a voluminous look can last up to two years with proper maintenance.”
How long it takes: Skin tightening: 30–90 minutes; Fillers: 30 minutes
How long it lasts: Up to two years with proper maintenance
Price: Skin tightening: around $1,800 per treatment; Fillers start at approximately $600
The Surgical Solution
Dover, OH, facial plastic surgeon David Hartman, MD, says that as we age, the youthful “apples” of our cheeks begin to shrink and sag. “For those willing to undergo a surgical procedure, the volume restoration structural fat grafting delivers is unbeatable. Fillers can help restore volume temporarily, but fat grafting delivers a permanent and natural result,” says Dr. Hartman, adding that the procedure involves using low-pressure liposuction to remove fat from areas of the body where fat is genetically programmed to not deteriorate with age (usually the lower abdomen). “A layered, microinjection of the fat then rejuvenates shrunken cheeks and hollows around the eyes. Aside from restoring youthful volume, fat grafts trigger a ‘stem cell’ action, which causes the overlying skin to take on a tighter, thicker appearance as blood vessels begin to thrive in a new location. Patients can expect minimal swelling and bruising, which resolves in a few days or weeks.”
Treatment time: One to three hours
How long it lasts: Permanent
Price: Approximately $6,000