contour makeup technique





“Fake a Facelift” in 5 Minutes with this Contour Technique

May 9, 2022 By

Makeup has always been an effective way to help change the appearance of your skin. Whether you’re trying to enhance your natural features, blur away any imperfections, or give yourself a little confidence boost as you go about your day, makeup is always a great option. If you’re someone who uses makeup to help your skin appear younger, you know there are many tips and tricks out there. But one of the best ways to get your skin where you want it to be is by contouring your face. Contouring makeup products can actually help you fake a “facelift” to make you look more sculpted, lifted, and youthful.

If you’re not sure what contouring is, here’s a little refresher: contouring mimics the effects of shadows and light. It can help lift the defining features of your face, including your forehead, cheekbones, and jawline. The easiest way to hit these points while contouring is by using something called the “3” method. The “3” method simply means applying your products in the shape of the number 3 to sculpt, lift, and define your features. Not only will using this method give your face more dimension, but it will help you achieve a more chiseled, younger appearance, too. 

Why Should I Contour My Face? 

If you’re someone who deals with saggy, loose skin, you know how frustrating it can be to look in the mirror and wish you could rewind the clock to see the firmer, more lifted skin of your youth. And if you’re like most people who struggle with visible signs of aging, you know
facelifts are a great solution. Now, when you hear the word “facelift,” I’m sure you instantly think of a surgical procedure. And while surgery may be a great option for some, there are other (often more affordable) ways you can achieve a similar look without needing to go under the knife.

Makeup artist and owner of The Aesthetic Edge, Amanda Vitale explains, “Contouring with makeup [is different from] a surgical procedure because it is non-invasive. Plus, if you are dissatisfied with your contour look, you can wash it off at the end of the day, versus a botched surgery that can [affect you] for years to come. Additionally, it puts you in the driver’s seat to control your overall look.

So, before you go book an appointment with a surgeon, you should try contouring first! Not only does contouring give you the ability to “fake a facelift” in a more comfortable and affordable way, but it also lets you play around with your look without the permanency of a surgical procedure. You can literally just wash it off at the end of the day!

How To Prep Your Skin

Before you start contouring your face using the “3” method, there are a few ways you can help your skin appear even more sculpted. And it involves targeted skin care products that also help you visibly lift, tighten, and firm your skin. Here are a couple of options we recommend to prep your skin before applying your contouring makeup products:

Multi-Action Sculpting Cream 

Thin, saggy skin is one of the biggest indicators of age. While makeup can
help “lift” your skin for a younger look, if you really want to “fake a facelift,” you should use skin care designed to decrease the appearance of sagging. That’s where Multi-Action Sculpting Cream comes in. Professional makeup artist, Margina Dennis, explains, “[contouring] works great in conjunction with skin firming skin care, such as City Beauty Multi-Action Sculpting Cream.” Because when you use skin care products and makeup designed to promote a more lifted, youthful appearance, you’ll be left looking and feeling your best in no time. And this “skin-lifter” may be just what you need.

Multi-Action Sculpting Cream nourishes your skin with powerful ingredients to help give you a firmer look and a more taut, springy feel. Using this lightweight cream with the “3” contouring technique will further enhance your facelift-like appearance, leaving you with:

  • A more hydrated look and feel
  • A more sculpted appearance that’s virtually free from fine lines and wrinkles
  • An immediately smoother, tighter feel that will help your contour products glide on your skin

UpLift Firming Serum 

Have you ever wished you could speed up the results of your skin care? If you’re someone who’s always in a rush, achieving a more “lifted” look probably gets put last on your priority list. But what if you could get firmer-looking skin in under half an hour? When it comes to speed,
UpLift Firming Serum takes the gold medal. This ultra-concentrated formula deeply hydrates your skin to help it appear more refreshed, tighter, and younger in as little as 30 minutes. Not only will using this serum before applying your contour help encourage the more chiseled look you’re going for, but it will also give your skin an added boost of energy.

Formulated with naturally-derived ingredients, using UpLift Firming Serum along with your contouring makeup will:

  • Support your skin from within to help you get a more supple look and feel
  • Visibly smooth skin texture to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • “Lift” the look of saggy skin for an overall more sculpted, youthful appearance

Contouring makeup isn’t an end-all-be-all solution for visibly aging skin. So, it’s essential to use powerful skin care products
before applying your contour and as part of your daily routine. And as a result, you’ll help your skin appear more sculpted and firm even without makeup. Once your skin is prepped with these skin care products, you can finally start using makeup to fake a “facelift.”

But Before You Contour…

After completing your skin care routine — and before you dive into the contouring process — you should create a base using your favorite makeup products. Applying a base layer of makeup to your skin will help visibly smooth its texture, reduce discoloration, and help your contouring products seamlessly glide onto your face. Your makeup base may include foundation, setting powder, under-eye concealer,
eyebrow products, and any other makeup you love to use. (If you’re new to makeup, I recommend keeping it simple with a tinted moisturizer and natural-finish powder.) Contouring your face as the last step in your makeup routine will ensure your features look more defined and your sculpted look lasts all day long. No matter what products you decide to build your base with, you’ll be that much closer to achieving your “faux facelift.” 

What You Need

After your skin care is absorbed and your makeup base is applied, you can start contouring to get a more sculpted, youthful appearance. Here’s what you’ll need:

A Matte Bronzer

When choosing makeup products to get a “lifted” look, you should go for something that’s specifically made for contouring. Whether it’s a liquid contouring product, creamy stick, or bronzing powder is up to you! What’s most important is you choose the perfect color for your skin tone. To ensure a perfect match, you should pick a product that’s 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone. But don’t worry about the darker color looking “unnatural” — it should look great once you blend it out. Just be sure to avoid colors that lean too orange!

You’ll also want to use a matte product and avoid using anything iridescent or shimmery for your bronzer. (All-over shimmer can actually draw attention to wrinkles and ruin the sculpted look you’re going for). 

A Dense, Angled Makeup Brush

When contouring your face, it’s essential you use a brush made to flawlessly apply your product. A medium-sized angled makeup brush is the perfect option! Its slanted shape and densely-packed bristles will fit into the curves of your cheek to help you achieve a more natural-looking contour. Plus, they’re meant to provide a more precise, defined application — which is perfect for getting that “lifted” look. 

An Iridescent Highlighter

To really enhance the facelift effect of contouring, you’ll also need an iridescent highlighting product. Again, you can use a liquid, cream, or powder formula! Just make sure the color you choose is a good match for your skin tone. If you have fairer skin, go for a shade with a pearl-colored tone. If you have a more olive or darker skin tone, choose a color with golden or rose-gold tones. These shades will not only complement your natural complexion, but they’ll add just a touch of shimmer to really “lift” the high points of your face for a flawlessly sculpted look. Just make sure the product you choose is
shimmery rather than glittery to ensure a more natural appearance. 

A Fan Brush

The key to highlighting your face is using the perfect brush, and fan brushes are a great option for applying a
powder highlighter to achieve a glowing, defined look. The lightweight bristles help you dust on the product without going overboard and help you get a more precise application. The flat shape of the brush also helps you apply the product directly to your cheek without any fallout.

A Blending Sponge

If you’ll be using cream or liquid products for your contour, you should use a damp blending sponge for application. While you
can use a makeup brush for creams and liquids, a sponge will help the product apply more evenly for a more natural look. Not to mention, its round shape and bouncy texture make it easy to blend out your products and reach the areas of your face you’re wanting to define.

Now that you have everything you need to tackle this contouring technique, it’s time to start lifting and sculpting your face with your products! 

How To “Fake A Facelift” With Contouring Makeup

As you know by now, contouring your face can enhance your natural features, help you look younger, and give your face an overall more “lifted” appearance. The following steps are an easy and effective way to help your face appear more youthful. Here’s how to fake a facelift using the “3” method:

For Powder Bronzer 

#1: Take your medium-sized angled makeup brush and gently pat it into your bronzing powder. Then, tap off any excess product so it doesn’t lay too heavily on your skin. 

#2: Now for the fun part! Looking into a mirror, use your makeup brush to draw a giant “3” on one side of your face following its natural perimeter. Starting from the center of your hairline, move the brush down your temple, below your cheekbone, and then back near your ear and finishing down your jawline. Then, repeat on the other side of your face.

Pro tip: The “3” method works well on all face shapes, but you may need to move the lines of your “3” to fit the natural placement of your cheekbones and jawline. To ensure a contoured look that perfectly fits your face shape, the founder of beauty publication TalkingTan, David Gray says you should “make sure to suck in your cheeks to find their hollow to apply along the line. Your cheekbones and jawline will stand out once you’ve applied enough powder.

#3: After first applying your powder product, the lines on your face may seem a little harsh. So, to avoid any noticeable edges, take your angled brush, wipe off any excess makeup onto a tissue, and blend away any sharp lines of bronzer on your face. This should create a more natural-looking shadow that flawlessly defines your cheekbones and jawline. 

Pro tip: If you want even more definition from your contour, you can gradually add more bronzing powder and keep blending it out until you’re satisfied with your look.

For Cream or Liquid Bronzer

#1: Using a similar method as above, use your cream contour stick or liquid applicator to draw a “3” on each side of your face. You should follow the same tip as above and suck in your cheeks to find their natural hollow for a more defined look.

#2: After drawing on your cream or liquid contour, the lines on your face might look a little shocking. But all you need to do is blend, blend, blend! Dampen your blending sponge and make sure to ring out any excess water. Then, tap the sponge (don’t drag it!) on your face until your contouring product is blended out to your liking. If you want more definition, you can add a bit more product to your skin and continue to blend it out. 

Time to Highlight…

After applying your bonzer in the shape of a 3, you can move on to adding a little shimmer to your face! Not only will adding a highlighter help accentuate the bronzed parts of your face, but it will also give you a nice glow to help you look as great as you feel. 

For Powdered Highlighter

Take your fan brush and gently swipe it against your powder highlighter. Tap off any excess product to ensure you get
just the right amount of shimmer. 

#2: Lightly sweep the brush against the high points of your face. While it’s most important to apply the product along your upper cheekbones, you can also dust your highlighter on your eyebrow bone, the bridge of your nose, and above the center of your upper lip or “cupid’s bow.” The shimmery powder will visibly brighten your skin, define your features, and help promote a sculpted, lifted look — almost like a facelift would!

For Cream or Liquid Highlighter

If you’re using a cream or liquid highlighter, instead of grabbing your fan brush, you should instead use the applicator that comes with your product to
gently apply it onto your upper cheekbones. (Again, feel free to apply the highlighter to your nose, brow bones, and upper lip too!)

#2: After initially applying the cream or liquid to your skin, take your damp blending sponge and start gently tapping it against your skin until it’s all blended out (you can also use your clean finger if that’s easier for you!). If you want even more shimmer, you can continue to layer the highlighter on your skin until you’re happy with the result.

Bonus tip: If you’re someone who loves a shimmery moment, you can also add a little highlighter above the darker shade along your jawline to give it even more added definition. (Actresses and models like Bella Hadid rely on this technique to create an even more chiseled look!)

And Voilà! 

Now that your face is contoured, you should be left with the “faux facelift” appearance you’ve been dreaming of. Your cheekbones should look more lifted, your jawline more defined, and your radiance more noticeable. All you have to do now is lock your makeup into place using a setting spray and you’ll be looking radiant, youthful, and refreshed
all day long


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