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You Cheeky Devil: Subtle Definition Without Contouring 

You Cheeky Devil: Subtle Definition Without Contouring 

If there’s one makeup trend that’s changed the world in recent years, it has to be contouring. The idea that you can draw on cheekbones, refine your nose, and make a fivehead into a forehead, is something of a marvel! Simply through clever product application, all of this can be achieved.

But sometimes, contouring can just feel like too much when you want to add some sort of cheek definition. No one fancies an entire sculpting routine all the time. But, there is another way. Here’s how to add subtle cheek definition without reaching for the contour powder.


A certain shade of brown-toned pink blush tends to do wonders in terms of faking cheekbones. A current favourite of mine is the Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek in Werk. It is sheer and dewy enough to look imperceptible on the skin.

A slightly browner tone is the Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk. This is a great one-and-done shade for smearing over eyelids and under cheekbones to look less football-headed, but au naturel.


If you favour a powder, Tarte’s Exposed, is the best sculpting blush on the market. Use a tapered blush brush to sweep in semi-circles just under the apples of your cheeks. It gives you a lifted and defined finish, the perfect dupe for contouring.

For deeper skin tones, the Nudestix Naughty N’ Spice may be a better option. It has the cool-toned, brownish hint that makes these other blushes so sculpting. However, the Nudestix has a deeper, plummy pink hint that adds more rosiness. 

Another great way to add definition without going for the contour powder is with a bronzer. But not all are created equal! I favour a dewy, cream bronzer, which always looks more natural than shimmery bronze powder. 

Nudestix Bondi Bae is second to none in this category. The stick application makes targeted drawing easy. The neutral (definitively not orange) tone helps it mimic shadow better than most bronzers. 

For a supremely sheeny finish though, opt for the Make Beauty Dew Pot in Bronze. Dabbed on with fingers, this helps cheeks catch the light in a way that gives them a plumper look. The tone is sheer enough to work on the fairest skin tones, too. 


But if you want to feel luxe, the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate are famous for a reason. The cream bronzer is just the right level of sheer, and just the right neutral tone, to make adding definition easy and extremely non-obvious. As a bonus, it comes with one of the most beautiful, dewy highlights in the world. But more on those later.

Another very fun way to define cheeks sans contour is by going for a dewy blush. Bright tones can work for this – it’s the finish that’s important. You want something that’ll catch the light – but through glow, not sparkles. The Nudestix Tiger Lily Queen is a stunning juicy tangerine. While the Milk Makeup Glow Oil Lip + Cheek in Glimmer is a perfect sheeny mauve.


Finally, highlighting. This is one of the best ways to ensure certain parts of your face seem to protrude further. FYI, the cheekbones are the ones you want to protrude. The RMS Living Luminizer is perhaps the best dew-effect highlighter on the market, but a discovery is the Glossier Futuredew. This supposed skincare product looks incredible when just a drop is patted over the highest points of the cheekbones after makeup.

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