My trouble with contouring is well-documented. I’ve never been able to nail the technique, so I’ve learned to accept my nonexistent cheekbones. However, a blush hack going around TikTok may be the answer I’ve been looking for.
Similar to the concealer “face-lift” hack that’s recently gone viral, what I’ve been calling the “blush sandwich” technique has been popping up all over Instagram and TikTok. Similar to the concealer trick (and often paired with it), this blush hack basically involves “stacking” your bronzer or contour, blush, and highlighter for a more lifted effect. The key here is not only in the stacking but the placement, which is much higher than where I’ve typically been told to place blush.
Instead of placing contour under your cheekbones and blush directly on the apples of your cheeks, per the videos, your contour shade goes right above the hallows of your cheeks, and blush on top of that (similar to draping). The concealer, blended up and out from your eye, acts as a natural-looking highlighter. Each product comes all the way up to your temples for a really lifted look.
According to makeup artist Kasey Spickard, TikTok is onto something. “The classic placement of the contour below the cheekbones is taking your natural face shape and providing additional sculpt and depth to your existing features,” he tells Glamour. “With this new placement, which in some cases is directly on the cheekbone, you are actually faking your face shape by lifting the shadow higher to create the illusion of a higher cheekbone.” He adds that the same is true for blush, and that a higher blush placement will make the apples of your cheeks appear higher, thus more lifted.
“It’s taking a lot of the baseline principles of contouring and face shaping that drag queens do and translating it to an everyday application,” he says of the technique. While he says it looks amazing head-on, just be weary of the fact that it can look a little fake from the side if you go to high. “Make sure your placement isn’t too extreme and that you are blending all the way to make sure it’s as seamless as possible,” he advises.
Keeping Spickard’s advice in mind, I gave the technique a try myself. I was skeptical, as I generally find these sort of hacks work only if you wear much more makeup than I do, but I’m happy to report that it definitely made a difference, even with a minimal beat. I had more luck applying each product separately instead of stacked like in the videos, and was sure to keep my blending motions moving upward only. I would also recommend using all creams or liquids since they’re easier to blend for a seamless finish.
I can’t wait to show this off when masks are gone for good, but until then, there’s always TikTok.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.