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Blush Draping Might Just Be the Prettiest Contour Trend You’ve Never Heard Of

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In the 2010s, contouring in makeup was more popular than ever. Folks sculpted their faces with heavy bronzer and some harsh lines. But makeup trends come and go, and bronzer has become a lot more subtle these days. Why? We’d like to think it’s to make room for blush. It’s not just about popping some color on the apples of your cheeks, though. There’s a technique to looking your best with blush called blush draping. 

To get to the bottom of this technique, we chatted with Charlie Riddle, makeup artist and Stila Cosmetics’ Global Beauty Director. You see, the best way to apply blush depends on your face shape and the face look you want to achieve. So, grab your powder blush and blush brush and get ready for a new way of contouring. 


About the Expert:
Charlie Riddle is a makeup artist and Stila Cosmetics’ Global Beauty Director.

Blush Draping 101

Blush draping is using color as a way to sculpt the face and add dimension, says Riddle. “The technique is more angular and structured to define facial features VS a typical application of blush on apples of the cheeks,” he explains. You can use powder blush or cream blush (powder might be a bit easier in this case) but Riddle says the “most important thing is to get a soft brush so you can really control your blending.” No harsh lines here.

If you like the look of sculpted features, don’t worry. Blush draping will give you a similar look in a pretty, natural-looking way. The makeup trend was said to have been created by '70s celebrity makeup artist Way Bandy. He called it “color glow.” Then in 2016, Marc Jacobs Beauty presented its Air Blush Soft Glow Duo by draping model’s faces in a C-shaped formation. Now that blush is more popular than ever, the makeup look is back in a few different—but equally gorgeous—ways and we’re calling it blush draping. If you’re looking to lift your cheeks or elongate your face, follow these expert makeup tips. And of course you can still incorporate your favorite bronzer and highlighter into any makeup look and still nail the draping technique.

5 Ways to Use Blush As Contour

1. Lifted Look

“This is going to give the cheekbones a lift and is great for someone who wants to create the illusion of a higher cheekbone,” says Riddle.

  1. Drape Blush: Blend powder blush upwards and out along cheekbones. We love LOTTIE LONDON Ombré Blush in Serene as the perfect neutral pink hue.
  2. Extra Lift: Riddle likes to take the same color and apply it along the brow bones to the temples. Use a brush like F.A.R.A.H’s Contour & Blend Brush, which is dual-ended for precision and pro blending.
  3. Apply Shine: Add highlighter, such as CATRICE COSMETICS Luminice Highlighter in Lumi, right above the contour to create dimension.

2. Sculpted Look

“This creates an illusion of a more oval or longer face so it’s great for people with a round face shape,” says Riddle. 

  1. Drape Blush: It’s going to be the same angular approach but this time, curve your brush to the apples of your cheeks and add a bit more product for definition. 

  2. Set Placement: Create a soft line on the cheek and then apply translucent powder, such as COMPLEX CULTURE SET, GO • Translucent Finishing Powder in Clarity, below it. 

  3. Add Shine: Apply highlighter along the brow bones. 

3. Full Face

“This is great if you have a slim face because it will appear more youthful and full,” says Riddle. 

  1. Choose Blush Colors: Pick two similar shades in the same color family, such as a soft pink and a rose shade.

  2. Drape Blush: Place blush on the apples of your cheeks and blend upwards as you smile. This will enhance the middle part of the cheek giving you a more volumized look. 

  3. Get Glam: Add a pretty lipstick such as STILA COSMETICS Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina.

4. ‘70s Blush

“Remember to downplay the rest of your makeup because the blush is the star product,” says Riddle. “This would pair well with a heavy lash and a transparent glitter eyeshadow for the ultimate ‘70s siren.” 

  1. Go Darker: When choosing blush, go with a darker shade than you would normally. 

  2. Drape Blush: It’s essentially going back to the lifted look but then you are also going to add more onto the temples around the hairline, circling the eyes.

  3. Go Monochromatic: Apply the same blush to the bridge of the nose, chin and eyelids as well. 

5. Ombré Blush

“Create a beautiful gradient similar to a sunset,” says Riddle. 

  1. Go Contrasting: Choose two contrasting blush shades that remind you of a sunset, such as pink and orange blush. 

  2. Blend, Blend, Blend: Place one above the other and blend so there are no harsh lines. For lifted cheeks, apply the lighter shade on the top. 

  3. Set & Go: Grab that translucent powder and set the colors so they don’t fade into each other. 

Grab everything you need for blush draping in the IPSY Glam Bag! Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
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Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated June 18, 2021 12:00 AM