Face-Lifting Makeup Tips To Create A Naturally Sculpted Look

Makeup isn’t just for self-expression, it can also help you contour your cheeks, sculpt that jawline, and even lift your brow in a matter of minutes with these tips from the experts.
Expert Opinion
Written by Vivien Moon
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Face-Lifting Makeup Tips To Create A Naturally Sculpted LookJessica Johnston/Unsplash

From blemishes to under-eye circles, makeup has become the go-to at-home solution for a myriad of skin concerns. Its transformational capabilities are unmatched, and, now more than ever, it’s possible to achieve any look you want — so why not fake a facelift? While it may not give you the long-lasting effects of an in-office treatment or a surgical procedure, it can create the illusion of a snatched jawline or a lifted brow without any downtime. If you want to fake it until you make it, here are the makeup tips and tricks to lift you up.

Get Your Products

Like any artist, you’ll need the right products to get you going. To avoid a ‘saggy’ or dull complexion, the experts recommend switching out powder-based products for those with a creamier consistency. “When you get to a certain age, a powder will drain your skin, so don’t be afraid of a shimmer or cream-based products,” explains Trinny Woodall, CEO and founder of Trinny London. The brand’s products are formulated to be lightweight and easy to apply with your fingers (so long as they’re clean!), so, if time is of the essence or brushes aren’t within reach, you can still achieve that glow.

What makes cream products stand out is their ability to transform crepey skin, giving it a smoother appearance. Woodall also doesn’t underestimate the importance of a good treatment routine as a preventative measure to ensure your skin looks good year-round. “If you’re not doing an IPL or another in-office treatment, pigmentation will get to a certain size that will require more cover up later on,” she cautions.

Now, the real beauty in makeup’s ability to transform the face is the illusions it can create. Well-rested eyes? Concealer. A glowing complexion? There's a foundation for that. Now with lifting, the trick is to create contours, and as Lulu Muca, head of makeup content for Iconic London explains, “the key to looking more lifted through makeup is all about the right products and placement.” More on that below.

For Rejuventated Skin

With any makeup look, the first step is skin prep. “Before makeup, moisturize your face and prep the skin,” Muca recommends. With a little setting spray (we like Iconic London’s Prep Set Glow hydrating spray packed with good-for-you ingredients), you can ensure that your hard work is not for naught. Muca also adds a self-care moment to the routine: “Give yourself a face massage using your fingers,” she explains. “Gently massage the face and focus that massage on upward strokes, thus creating the perfect canvas to begin your makeup routine.”

When you get to your concealer or foundation, opt for a formulation that melts into the skin to prevent caking or settling in fine lines (Trinny London’s BFF Rebalance will do the trick). The formulation inevitably plays a big role in achieving that youthful radiance and keeping the overall look more firm. “It’s about the glow,” Woodall says, though she does admit that, on those with oily skin, “it can appear like sweating, but it can also make you radiate.” If you have pigmentation, it can be tricky to choose a shade. Her tip: “Your makeup should be an extension of your skin, not a mask.”

For Lifted Eyes & Brows

With age, the eyelids naturally droop and the skin becomes more crepey. Even so, that wide-awake look is within reach. This area requires a hybrid approach to target both the skin and the skin tone. Reach for a concealer to lift the brow and eye area rather than a foundation, as a method of highlighting the bone structure without the use of a highlighter. “Apply a thin line of concealer from the outermost corner of the eye and draw the line up towards the temple,” Muca says. “This creates the illusion of an eye lift and makes your eyeshadow look snatched.”

For those (designer) under-eye bags, the upward motion is also in play. “We have ditched applying our concealer by creating a triangle shape under the eye and instead opt for light dots — a little goes a long way,” she adds. Kate Pymm, a Trinny London makeup artist, suggests honoring the natural hollow between the eye and cheek to prevent under-eye concealer from looking unnatural. Rather than dragging the product down, she encourages light, upward motions to evenly distribute the product for an even, natural lift. “Caking your under-eye makeup can add years to your face, so we made the BFF Eye,” Woodall notes. “It is like if serum and an eye cream had a baby to help you get coverage and skincare.”

To maintain that well-rested look, it’s also worth noting that dark eye shadows may not be your friend. They can draw a lot of attention to the area, making it appear smaller while building up within the folds. If you’re looking for a smokey eye or that perfect cat wing, don't feel the need to ditch the darker hues all together — just maintain a light-hand. “Avoid heavy products in general and prioritize lightweight formulas,” Pymm says.

For Contoured Cheeks

To create a plump cheek that mimics the fullness filler may provide, it’s all about the shadows. “On the tops of your cheekbones, use our ‘Face Ombre Technique,’” Muca suggests. The technique is as follows:

  1. “Apply three dots of our Illuminator from the top of your cheekbone near your temple to the outer corner of your eye,” she says.
  2. Next apply three dots of our Sheer Blush just below that highlight,” Muca continues. “And then apply our Sheer Bronze below the blush.” If you need a visual, the product should appear in three even lines on the top outer corners of your cheeks.
  3. Last but not least, Muca says to blend the formulas together in “upward” strokes. “This will allow for the product to follow the natural shape of the face,” she says.

If using a contour stick, a trick is to blend it in evenly without that streaky giveaway. To do so, apply setting spray onto your brush and tap onto the contour stick before proceeding to your face. This will give you more control over your distribution and let you gently build rather than blending out. “Be clever with placement and how you use the product,” Pymm says. Her tip is to try using bronzer to sculpt rather than bronze. “It’s like an optical illusion, which is great for achieving that sculpted look without doing anything drastic,” she adds.

For a Snatched Jawline

For the jaw, focus on creating a seamless look that flows from neck to brow to guarantee an even complexion. “Before foundation, apply a cream contour to the areas you wish to sculpt, such as your cheekbones and along your jawline,” Muca explains. “Then, apply foundation on top, and your cream contour will pull through for a stunning ‘under-painted’ effect.” The grand finale: “Finally, sweep the powder contour across the areas you have cream-contoured for a seamless finish.”

When in doubt, try the ‘three’ technique, which she says suits most face shapes. “Using your contour, draw a three shape from forehead to cheekbone to jawline,” Muca explains. “We like to keep our contour light and fresh to lift and not hollow the structure of your gorgeous face.”

What to Avoid

While there is no specific product to avoid if you have a look that you want to achieve (we see you, smoky eye), the technique that you use is what will get you there. “If you want to achieve a lifted look, do not drag contour, highlight, blush, or bronzer down the face,” Muca cautions. Because the goal is a lift, the application must lift upwards as well. Muca’s tip is to “apply your products to the highpoints of the face and use gentle, upward strokes for a beautiful, lifted finish.”

When it comes to makeup, an update is never a bad thing. “We get comfortable with what we liked when we were younger and tend to stick to it but that’s what makes us look dated,” Woodall says. Her advice is to make your products work for the skin you have versus holding on to a look that may have worked in the past.

A parting word from Muca? “A common mistake people make when trying to sculpt the face is applying too much product,” she laments. “A little bit goes a long way.”

The Takeaway

If an in-office lifting or sculpting procedure is not in the cards or you need a quick fix, makeup can be your secret weapon for a lifted look. The secret is to use products that enhance your features without going too heavy on the brush strokes. And, as with any look, a little goes a long way to maintain a naturally sculpted glow up.

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

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VIVIEN MOONis a senior editor at AEDIT.

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