Creating a slimmer, more defined appearance to the face with makeup might seem like a tall task, but these time-tested expert tips make it easy, effective and essential foolproof.
Cheat the Light
While she isn’t a fan of “slimming” and prefers to use the word define, Sofia Tilbury, celebrity makeup artist and brand ambassador for Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, says the easiest way to sculpt and define your face is with cream contour and bronzers, such as Charlotte’s Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer. “Define and lift the look of your features by gliding your contour high along on the cheekbones then tap into the temples, jawline and either side of the nose, before blending out with a brush. To keep that lifted effect, I also like to apply a lighter shade of Magic Away Concealer in the inner corners of the eyes, upwards along the outer corner and down the centre of the nose, forehead and chin. This helps to cheat the light, bouncing away shadow and illuminating the highest points of the face. Finish with blush and highlight high on the cheekbones and blend up and out towards the top of the ear for a glowing, sculpted and lifted-looking finish.”
Perfect the Pinch
Pro tip: Backstage and behind the scenes, Charlotte swears by ice for a fresh, tightened, lifted look, and her Cryo-Recovery Face Mask and Eye Serum are perfect for getting that cooling, depuffing effect in just 10 minutes. “I also always take the time to massage the face in circular motions using Magic Serum, Magic Cream and Collagen Superfusion Facial Oil,” Sofia shares. “Create hooks with your index fingers and smooth outwards and upwards beneath the cheekbones, then gently pinch along the jawline in one sweeping motion to reduce the look of fluid retention and really carve out those facial features before makeup!”
Edit the Apple Application
You’ve most likely heard this blush-tip 101: “Applying blush directly to the apples of your cheeks will make your cheeks appear fuller and more youthful,” says Lori Leib, Bodyography creative director and professional makeup artist. But to create the look of a slimmer face, Leib says apply blush to the upper apples of your cheeks and slightly around your temples.
Celeb makeup artist Renée Loiz also takes the “edited apple” route. “Sweeping blush along the upper part of your cheeks [she likes using Kosas Contrachroma Blush] and not directly on the apples of cheeks is another technique to make your face look thinner. When you apply on the apples, you’re drawing attention to the roundest part of your face. But when you apply blush to the upper part of your cheeks, this draws the face upwards.”
“A good blush fixes everything!” reiterates celebrity makeup artist Jenna Nicole. “Give an elongated and lifted look to your face by only hitting the tops of your cheekbones—never the apples of the cheeks.”
Go for Muted Tones
Turn to a muted-tone bronzer or powder to sculpt your face under your cheekbones, jawline and around your forehead. “A muted tone will create the look of shadows found naturally,” Leib says. One we like: The super creamy, super convenient, melts-into-the-skin MERIT Flush Balm ($28).
Less Is More
Although contouring-focused Instagram snaps may tell us differently, when it comes to using makeup to create angles and definition, the key, according to celebrity makeup artist Valerie Star, is less is more. “When trying to create slimming features, contouring is a key factor, but it’s something that can be accomplished with cream products that are applied correctly and blended into the skin to illuminate your natural beauty—it doesn’t have to be overdone.”
Start Your Foundation in the Middle
Star says it’s smart to apply a minimal amount of your foundation, keeping the majority of the product throughout the middle of your face (starting at your nose) and thoroughly blending the foundation outward. “This will help to eliminate any kind of a foundation-mask look because the most sheer amount of product is around the exterior of your face.”
We said no crazy contouring techniques required for this tip list, but Star says all you need to create a serious contouring effect is a cream-based product that is two-to-three shades darker than your natural complexion. “Apply to the hollows of your cheek, starting at your hairline near the top of your ear and tapper the intensity down, stopping just before the apples of your cheeks below the middle of your eye. Without loading the brush with more product, apply a minimal amount of contour color above the arch of your brow, up to your hair line. Now in a circular motion with a blending brush, blend, blend and blend again.”
Celebrity makeup artist Liz Castellanos offers this combo tip: “I suggest a cream or powder that is a few shades darker than your natural tone and a dense medium-sized brush. I apply the product along the jawline, under the cheekbones and along the hairline. This creates shadows in those areas to give a slimmer appearance.”
Say Hello to Highlighting
Once you have set the contoured makeup, you can highlight where needed, Star says. “Using a fan brush with a little highlight, apply a very minimal amount to your upper cheekbone area, just above the outer area of your eyebrow and the Cupid’s bow. This is going to bring focus to the highest points of your face and help in creating the illusion of a thinner face.”
Practice the Contour-Highlighting Combo
While Loiz admits contouring and highlighting is a more advanced makeup trick to make your face look thinner, practicing makes for perfection. “Contouring means you’re shading in your temples, under your cheekbones, and along your jawline with a deeper shade to sculpt your face, while highlighting subtly brings out your cheekbones. I love to use cream products for this technique because they melt into the skin and give a really natural finish. My go-tos are Tower28’s Bronzino for contouring and the Highlighter Balm from Pat McGrath.”
Calling on the prep-and-sculpt technique, celebrity makeup artist Paul Anthony says he’s always looking at the face and structure to create the perfect cheekbone effect, but after he preps the skin care. “In the end, apply a thin layer of foundation for a flawless finish.”
Finish Off With a Mist
To top it all off once your makeup is done, a great way to set the look is to mist with a rosewater spray. “This will take away any kind of a powdery look, add hydration and set the makeup,” Star says.
Call on the Cat Eyeliner
“Lifting the eyes is a quick and easy way to make your face appear thinner,” Loiz says, and recommends doing a cat eyeliner and drawing outwards at an angle. “Guide Eyeliner Wand is a cinch to use, just dip the tool into a long-wear cream eyeliner and stamp liner into place above your lashes. Glide the tool outwards at an angle to create an instantly slimmer face.”
Make It Ice
Makeup Artist Sooyon Elina Kim offers this cool tip: “My favorite thing I personally do to start with to give an illusion of a slimmer face is a quick ice roller to depuff my face in the mornings. I then go in with Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand, which gives a soft look to my cheekbones and sides of my nose. I love how naturally contoured and glowy my skin looks using this product!”