Using Blush to Contour: An Illustrated Guide

Not as scary as it sounds.

Head, Ear, Nose, Lip, Cheek, Hairstyle, Skin, Chin, Forehead, Eyelash,
Getty, design by Jen Baumgardner

When one of fashion's preeminent makeup artists calls blush the most underrated beauty product, you make like a bobblehead and nod vigorously because she's right. (Also, because she's Pat McGrath.)

We've already studied how moving the foci of your well-diffused blush circles can help you look younger or more like a Degas dancer, so think of this as an appendix on how to change the *shape* of your face using a similar technique.

First up, the Slash and Carve, which sounds like a Jack the Ripper musical but is actually a painfully chic move they employed at Chanel haute couture.

In essence, it's the exact same motion as you would make with your usual powder or cream, just in a far riskier color: Suck in your cheekbones, and, starting very close to the ear, trace the hollow with a red-brown, lessening the pressure as you near the corners of your mouth. (Good thing we've got a GIF of this, right?) Blend until you can't tell where the edges are, put on your street clothes, take away the darkened brows, and tamp down the lip a bit, and it'll barely register as clown-like or severe.

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For a more natural effect, there's this three-that-can-turn-into-four-pronged approach modeled by Cara Delevingne at Dolce & Gabbana.

Getty, design by Jen Baumgardner

Like Pat McGrath says, working a pinky-peach shade into the browbones and temples "almost like a bronzer" warms up the complexion, thins out the face a bit, and suggests you've got the circulation of a red-capped Renaissance child. It can even create the illusion of a lower hairline if you've got a "damn 5head [that] always gets in the way" à la Rihanna: Beginning at the temples, curve up and connect both sides in the middle of your fore/5head, keeping close to the edges as you continuously swirl and buff. (Check out this tutorial.) That outer shadow tricks the eye into reading it as a smaller space. 

Now, just how do I know this will all work? 1) I gave you photos and a *diagram,* didn't I? 2) I believe in you. And 3) Pat said so. 

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