We're all guilty of watching endless YouTube videos of our favorite beauty gurus achieving contouring euphoria with elevated cheekbones and well-defined brows, but chances are the results from these tutorials may not apply to everyone. If you have sparse brows, you'll need different products than someone with thick ones. What works for a viewer with naturally round features won't necessarily work for someone with naturally square features. Ditto for narrow, oval-shaped faces. While tutorials for people with round faces encourage the viewer to contour and achieve a more chiseled look, someone with a narrow face would actually benefit from side-stepping this tip. So what's the trick? The flip side if you have more narrow features is to add height to the face, thus lifting the eye of the observer and tricking them into thinking the face is wider.
Keep reading for expert tips to create the perfect look for a narrow-shaped face.
Meet the Expert
- Katie Mellinger is an L.A. and NYC-based makeup artist with clients ranging from Vanity Fair, The New York Times, and Chloë Sevigny.
- Lana Krizki is an L.A.-based makeup artist.
One of the easiest ways to disguise a narrow face is with bronzing powder. Focus on areas like the tip of the forehead, the jawline, and the temples to create the illusion that your face is "shorter" than it actually is. Benefit Hoola Bronzer Matte Powder's rectangular brush "chisels" into the face so precisely, and the color is a grayscale (not orange) bronzer that distracts rather than deflects.
Next, use cream contour (or stick with the matte bronzer, if you tend to have oily skin) and draw a line right under the cheekbones, halfway down towards the mouth. This will define the cheeks, giving the illusion that the face has width. When you're done, blend up and into the hairline. We love Fenty Match Stix to achieve this look.
Highlighter is the real key player in widening a narrow face. With a great cream product like YSL Touche Eclat, apply highlighter on the center of the forehead, below the eyes, and on the tops of the cheeks. Hitting these high points of the face will draw attention upward and out. However, Krizki suggests staying away from the chin when highlighting a narrow face. "Apply additional highlighter or shimmer powder to your eyelids and the bridge of your nose, but skip your chin, since that will make your face look longer."
"Avoid highlighter down the length of the nose and the chin," adds Mellinger. "But be sure to pop some on the tip of the nose and just above the center of the eyebrows. This will bring these 2 high points of the face more forward hence diminishing the length of the sides."
Focus on the Brows
Drawing the eyebrows outward and extending them ever so slightly also helps widen the face. We're obsessed with Anastasia Brow Wiz and its waxy consistency, which helps it last all day long. Just be sure to use short strokes when drawing in your brows to mimic the look of brow hairs; otherwise, the look can come off more drawn-in than you intended.
Experiment With Blush
Applying blush can often be an intimidating beauty step no matter the shape of your face. From choosing the right color to applying with the right brush, there's often no right-size-fits-all. In this case, blush can be your best crutch if you're looking to accentuate using different hues. For a look that's still au naturel, focus on applying blush just below the apples of your cheeks similar to a bronzer or contour application. You'll get this with Kjaer Weis's Flush & Glow Duo. Blend and apply in an upward motion heading towards your earlobes to create the illusion you're aiming for. "Stick closer to the apples of the cheeks and try to pick a blush with a bit of shimmer, says Mellinger. "The subtle highlight of the shimmer will make your cheeks look fuller." Be mindful to build the color up so you avoid applying too much product.
Build with Foundation
This beauty hack has been gaining momentum over the years and with good reason. Though it may sound contradicting, applying a mattifying oil-free translucent (or setting) powder before you dip into your foundation has myriad benefits. If your skin is prone to oily spots throughout the day, even after several touchups, this tip is your latest skin-savior. Makeup artists have sworn by this technique to extend the longevity of makeup throughout the day, and if you're looking to add definition and depth to your face, it's time to take note. Laura Mercier's Translucent Loose Setting Powder is weightless and blends into makeup seamlessly.
Choose your tools wisely. Build your first base of setting powder with a dry sponge to avoid a cakey look. Dab on a quick spritz of setting spray to set the look.
Perfect The Lash
It may be easy to skip the dramatics after applying foundation, blush, and bronzer, but hear us out. An occasional play-up with the lashes to make them appear more full, bold, and lush can add just the right amount of heft to your appearance. In this case, think length meets density. The sweet spot to ensure the final look looks full and luscious is to focus on mascara formula's the lengthen and provide the fullness your desire. We love Giorgio Armani's Eyes To Kill Classico Mascara for its volume-boosting formula.
Play Up Your Eyes
Lastly, playing up the eyes draws attention upward, taking away from the length of the face. A good cat-eye is perfect when you want to achieve this look, especially since the wing tips move outward, widening the face. To create a super long-lasting cat-eye, try Bodyography On Point Liquid Liner Pen. Another fast-lash option is to play up the fullness of your lashes by inserting individual falsies into the center of each eye arch. Start off with a few strands, and increase to match your desired fullness.