There’s no doubt that a solid contouring kit can help give your face a more defined and sculpted look. However, some professional contour sets and palettes can cost a pretty penny, which may not exactly be doable as holiday shopping season approaches.
The good news: Giving your cheeks a ‘lift’ with makeup at home doesn’t have to involve products that cost a fortune, as the right swaps—plus expert-approved application hacks—can help create the swept cheekbone look you love.
To help you enhance, sculpt and lift your cheeks with makeup, we tapped four makeup artists to share their best cheek-lifting secrets that flatter any face.
Use makeup products in pastel tones
Creating a lifted appearance with makeup always begins with the right tone of products, as you’ll want to opt for hues that accentuate and flatter your face, according to Sébastien Tardif, celebrity makeup artist and cofounder of Veil Cosmetics.
Using products in muddy brown tones, for example, can look garish and dull the complexion down, he explains, making it important to select colors that are on the lighter side.
With this in mind, Tardif advises selecting pastel, coral, and pink tones that elevate your cheeks and help them pop. “I like using bright pops of pastels (like coral and pink) high on the apple of the cheeks,” Tardif tells us. “This elevates the cheeks, and makes them look more youthful.”
Upgrade your foundation
To give your cheeks a youthful appearance, Oxygenetix makeup artist Rachel Bellew recommends using a foundation product that is good for your skin and won’t age you over time.
The Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation ($66) checks off all the boxes of a great foundation to use, as Bellew suggests it provides a natural finish and is jam-packed with healthy-skin ingredients such as aloe and a ceravitae complex.
“This foundation goes on naturally, and has anti-aging properties to boot,” Bellew explains. “The more you wear it, the better your skin will become due to its pro-healing ingredients and gentle formula.”
Use skin-care items
Bronzer and highlighter products help any makeup look pop. But if you are trying to cut down on the countless makeup products you use, makeup artist Douglas Otero suggests utilizing your skin-care products to help create a sculpted look, as they not only offer a natural finish, but also provide a burst of hydration to your face.
“If you want a completely natural, nothing-on-your-face look, use a really good hydrating moisturizer—although a face oil works best,” Otero says. “Hydration is always the natural version of a highlighter.”
Choose a cool-toned bronzer
When selecting a bronzer, celebrity makeup artist and brand founder Jenny Patinkin, advises choosing one that is available in a cooler tone and matte finish, as it helps create a more sculpted and lifted appearance.
“Use a cool-toned, matte finish bronzer under the cheekbones to create a more sculpted, lifted shape,” Patinkin recommends.
To apply your bronzer correctly, Patinkin suggests lining the bronzer up vertically under the outer corner of the eye, and then running it over the diagonal plane that runs between the corner of your mouth, and the center of the ear. Once completed, proceed to use a brush to blend until soft. “This will make your bronzer look like a shadow on the skin instead of a streak, which helps to define the cheeks, and slims the appearance of the lower face,” she says.
Avoid shimmer and powder products
While many contouring palettes are equipped with powder and shimmering shades, Tardif advises steering clear of using these products on certain areas of the face. A danger zone for these formulas includes the area above the cheekbones (where Crow’s feet meet the cheeks), as these products only emphasize wrinkles.
Instead, Tardif advises using a brighter shade of liquid concealer which draws light to the cheekbones—he likes the Complexion Fix from Veil Cosmetics ($40)—to help keep the complexion looking soft and smooth.
Contour with foundation
Believe it or not, you can also contour your face with foundation. However, according to Bellew, you’ll want to be sure to use the right tone of product, especially since the goal is to highlight and accentuate.
“To subtly contour your face with foundation, use a shade that is a shade lighter than your actual skin tone on the areas you are trying to highlight and accentuate.”
Look for cream-based makeup products
Much like glossy highlighter, Otero also advises selecting cream-based blushes, bronzers and highlighters, as they are effective in giving that natural lifted cheekbone effect.
To apply these products carefully, he suggests doing so with either a synthetic brush or gently using your fingers to pat the product into the skin.
Choose glossy highlighter products
Shimmery highlighters may add a touch of sparkle to your cheeks, but Patinkin warns against using powder-based highlighters, as they can accentuate fine lines. Instead, she suggests using glossy highlighter products, as they highlight without pronouncing any wrinkles and creases in the process.
“A clear, balm texture highlighter applied on the tops of the cheeks draws the eyes up on the face, giving the impression of higher cheeks,” Patinkin says. “It also has the added benefit of not sinking into the skin, and accentuating fine lines the way that a shimmery highlighter can.”
Location, location, location
While blush can add dimension and color to your cheeks, Bellew cautions against applying your product too low on your face, as doing so, can bring it down.
“Place your blush only on the apples of your cheeks to create the effect of fullness,” she says. “Additionally, it’s helpful to contour directly underneath the cheekbones for a lifted look.”
Use concealer to create a wide-awake look
Since darkness under the eyes can cause them to look sunken in and tired, celebrity makeup artist Lauren D’Amelio suggests using a concealer that is about two shades lighter than your skin tone to help create a well-resided and youthful appearance and help your cheekbones to shine.
Applying a color-correcting formula under your eyes with a peach or orange color is also recommended before using your concealer. “The reason we use orange and peach tones under the eyes is to neutralize any undesired color, creating the perfect canvas for your concealer.”