To my eternal disappointment, there are actually very few things that Bella Hadid and I have in common. We both have younger brothers, our names both end with the letter "a", and that's about where it ends. That said, there are plenty of things I would love to share with the supermodel—especially her bank account, wardrobe, and bone structure. As far as the last trait goes, there's always the augmenting fillers path, but a new viral TikTok technique promises that coveted, ultra-sculpted Hadid jawline with no needles, scalpels, or hefty price tags necessary.
According to the technique, which is taking off across TikTok and Instagram, a strategically-placed stripe of highlighter can make a major contouring difference, even more so than bronzer. Born from a photo of Bella in which it sure looks like her cheekbones and jawline are accentuated by highlighter, it's spawned plenty of DIYs with some pretty convincing results. Perennially on a quest to look as facially chiseled as possible with the least amount of work, I knew this was one viral makeup hack I needed to try immediately.
In the viral TikTok that's amassed nearly two million views already, makeup artist Rachel OCool pulls up a recent photo of Bella Hadid and zooms in to point out her findings. "Look at her jaw!" OCool says excitedly. In the photo (see above for reference), Hadid leans forward to air kiss a friend, and her jawline looks especially prominent, glowy, and noticeably projected. "The way her jaw is highlighted here, it makes me think—can we recreate this with makeup?" Ocool asks.
Using a celebrity-favorite highlighter—the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand ($40)—she draws on the product in a shape that can best be described as a laying-down L before blending it in. The results are undeniable—her jaw does look more pronounced. In a follow-up video, OCool tries the trick again, this time with contour bumpers courtesy of the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand ($40).
Layering on a bit of pressed highlighter powder before going in with the highlighting wand again, she mentions that it could be even more effective with a highlight that's glossy rather than shimmery, but sticks with the same one. This time, though, the results are even more Hadid-like, and by the end of the second video, I'm convinced that when I try out the technique myself, Yolanda will invite me to join in on the next family Christmas card.
Putting It To The Test
Since OCool mentioned that the hack would work better with a very glossy highlight, I decided to do just that, and I happened to already have a great one. The MERIT Day Glow Highlighter ($30) is spangle-free and super balmy, meaning it's great for a flushed, summery look. And in Bella Hadid's case, that's what her own highlighted jaw makeup looks like—a dancefloor-induced sheen.
After doing some of my everyday makeup (including a bit of cream contour dusted just under my jaw), I layered on my beloved MERIT highlighter in the same shape OCool did. After blending it in with my hands, I opened my phone camera and tried a few different lighting scenarios before I realized that, unfortunately, it wasn't showing up at all. If I popped my jaw out and angled it directly under a light fixture, I could see some gloss, but nothing like Hadid's luminous shine.
I decided to give it another shake with some highlighter powder blotted under it first, just as OCool had in the video. I used the Jouer Powder Highlighter ($25), which I find has a nice reflective look as opposed to straight-up sparkle. But while I love it on my cheekbones, it sadly looked like a weird white stripe streaking across my jawline. And it didn't make much of a difference with the highlighter, either. In fact, my unadorned forehead had better shine.
Finally, in a last-ditch effort to capture that elusive Hadid magic, I too used a Charlotte Tilbury highlighting wand. It's pretty much my go-to highlighter for evenings, and I figured busting out the big guns would make the biggest difference. But once again, I was disappointed. My palms were covered in shimmer, but the highlighter was virtually undetectable on my jawline, and my face looked pretty patchy from the divide between my cheek color and jaw shine. I blended it well with a beauty sponge, but the contrast was just too stark.
What I Realized
Upon reinspecting the photos from this experiment, it dawned on me. Of course this wouldn't look right on me, someone with a definitively un-supermodel-like bone structure. Highlight is traditionally placed on the high points of the face—cheekbone tops, nose tips, cupid's bows, etc.—because those projected, upward-pointing features naturally catch the light. Your jaw already has the disadvantage of being lower on the face, so unless you happen to have a very prominent one that'll stick out and catch the light, it's virtually useless—and I'm okay with that.
Every face is different, though, so it's always worth a try if you have some spare product laying around. As for me, I'll have to adjust my expectations to something more attainable—is there a Handsome Squidward contour hack anywhere on TikTok? I'll be on the lookout.