3 Tips to Highlight Your Cheekbones

By: Alia Hoyt
bride blush
For the most natural-looking blush, apply it to the apples of your cheeks.
Ron Chapple Studios/Thinkstock

Don't even try to deny it -- you know you're guilty of sucking in your cheeks ever so slightly to appear defined and runway-worthy. Thanks to strides in the makeup industry, it's no longer necessary to go to such lengths to achieve supermodel-status cheekbones. Simply employ these few easy tips and techniques and you'll be strutting the walkway in front of your house, if not the catwalk, in no time.

Before we begin, it's important to note that no two makeup professionals do cheekbones exactly the same. So, feel free to play around!


Tip 1: Pick the Right Blush

Decide if you prefer powder, cream or gel/stain blush. Some people appreciate the moist appearance of cream or gel, but others find it intimidating to blend. The wrong shade or inept application can make you look like Bozo the Clown! As with any makeup, trial and error are often necessary to achieve the desired effect.

Next, find the perfect shade of blush for your skin tone. In general people with warm undertones should opt for earthy colors, like terra cotta. Those with cool undertones typically stick with mauves, cool pinks or plums, while coral, rose and other pinks are ideal for neutrally toned skin.


Tip 2: Replace Blush With Bronzer

For those who've never used it before, bronzer can be downright intimidating. There's a fine line between achieving sun-kissed status and looking like a C-list celebrity back from vacation. Fortunately, there's a shade and a brand out there for every skin tone and type. You just have to find it and learn how to use it!

Bronzer can be used in place of blush (or with it), particularly during the tan-friendly summer months. Like blush, bronzer comes in cream or powder form, both of which can be shimmery, sparkly or feature a light, natural glow. It's probably a good idea to experiment with a few different types at the makeup counter, and obtain some friendly professional advice to be sure you purchase the right bronzer.


Here are some ways to use bronzer:

  • Apply bronzer to the very top of the cheek bones, using the same tools as you would with blush. This technique will reflect the light, making you appear more defined.
  • Application to the lower part of the cheekbones turns out a defined, sunken look. Just use a blush brush to sweep bronzer along the lower line. A little bit of cheekbone highlighter applied to the upper cheekbone and blended with a light blush finishes off the look nicely.
  • For another blush and bronzer combo, follow these directions from MZ Dunman, hairstylist and makeup artist in Laguna Beach, Calif.: "Blush your face using circular motions on your apples and fade out towards the ear. Then use a slightly darker bronzer below your cheek bone."


Tip 3: Consider the Contour

Actress Carla Gugino
Actress Carla Gugino shows how contouring can define your face.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Those of us with slim to zero artistic talent naturally shy away from the contour brush in the makeup kit. It seems like a lot of effort that probably won't do anything for us, right? Wrong! I dare say that few starlets walk the red carpet without some serious cheekbone contouring action. Contouring makes your face look slimmer or your features more pronounced. Here are some great methods to try:

  • For blush-based contouring, apply a lighter shade of blush on the cheekbone and a darker shade just under.
  • For a more sculpted look use two shades of foundation to get the job done. Apply the darker selection below the cheekbone, the lighter selection everywhere else and blend. Dust with powder and enjoy the shadow effect!
  • For a natural-looking contour, try a matte face powder about two shades deeper than your natural skin tone. Using a brush smaller than your normal blush application tool, sweep the powder over your forehead, then under the jawline and under the cheekbones.
  • For less dramatic coverage, use the same concept, but only apply powder beneath the cheekbones. Do so by applying from the temples all the way down the lower line of your natural cheekbones.

Again, don't be disheartened if your first cheekbone highlighting foray yields less than stellar results. Makeup artists are specially trained, so it might take time and practice before you're ready for your close-up.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Arit, Gregory. "Victoria Beckham's Sultry Makeup Tutorial." Total Beauty. 2012. (Sept. 4, 2012). http://www.totalbeauty.com/video/v_halloween_makeup_victoria_beckham
  • Daily Glow. "Highlight Your Cheeks With Blush." 2012. (Sept. 4, 2012). http://www.dailyglow.com/articles/62/make-up/accentuating-high-cheekbones-with-blush.html
  • Desai, Shikha and Meghna Mukherjee. "Runway hair and makeup looks decoded." The Times of India. Aug. 28, 2012. (Sept. 4, 2012). http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-08-28/beauty/33426207_1_runway-hair-braid-lips
  • Dunman, MZ. Hairdresser and makeup artist. Personal interview via email. Sept. 3, 2012.
  • In Style. "Illuminated Complexion." Sept. 4, 2012. (Sept. 4, 2012). http://celebrityphotos.instyle.com/dailybeautytip/photos/all/skin/results.html
  • Mcalonan, Elsa. "All you need to shine in the sun." Daily Mail. Aug. 10, 2012. (Sept. 4, 2012). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2185589/Beauty-confidential-All-need-shine-sun.html
  • Pantin, Laurel. "Bronzer Tips from the Pro." Teen Vogue Daily. July 16, 2009. (Sept. 4, 2012). http://www.teenvogue.com/blog/teen-vogue-daily/2009/07/bronzer-tips-from-the-pro.html
  • Patterson, Ryan. "Glam Slam: Get Jessica Biel & Kate Beckinsale's Red Carpet Beauty." Aug. 8, 2012. (Sept. 4, 2012). http://www.accesshollywood.com/glam-slam-get-jessica-biel-and-kate-beckinsales-red-carpet-beauty_article_68229