Makeup Trick: How to look slimmer in a snap

by Sonja on November 27, 2009

Sonja with a bit of cheek contouring going on

The holidays are officially here. Have you recovered from your Thanksgiving feast? I’m still full. But there’s still plenty of rich, tempting food and drink on the way with all the upcoming holiday gatherings. Extra gravy, anyone? Pumpkin pie with whipped cream? Eggnog? Oy. Even if you stick to a healthy diet and get in some exercise, a few extra pounds could be in your future.

Have no fear! Try this makeup trick: contouring. Yes, contouring. You can make your face look slimmer in a snap with the help of a little bronzer and highlighter. Just the thought of it might make you shudder if you think of the eighties. But contouring has made a major comeback with a softer hand and a more natural look.

When I contour, my friends usually ask if I’ve lost weight (I just smile). To get tips on how to contour like a pro, I checked in with Maggie and Annie Ford Danielson, Benefit Global Trend Artists (they’re also daughters of one the Benefit Cosmetics founders). Maggie says everyone in Hollywood contours.

How To

Maggie and Annie offer these contouring tips:

  • Apply blush on the apples of the cheeks and upward toward the hairline.
  • Sweep bronzer directly under your cheekbones to create the look of a shadow. If you need help figuring out where the color should go, try sucking in your cheeks – apply color in the hollow area.
  • To further bring out your cheekbones, apply highlighter on the top of the cheekbones, near the outer corners of your eyes.
  • Be sure to blend, blend, blend to avoid telltale lines.

Benefit Slant Powder Brush & 10 Powder (highlighter & bronzer)

Annie recommends using a matte bronzer, like Benefit’s Hoola, and a highlighter, like High Beam or Moon Beam. I also like to use 10, which is half bronzer and half highlighter. I can bronze and highlight in a single sweep. Their Slant Powder Brush is ideal for contouring, especially with 10.

But do use restraint so you don’t look like you belong on the set of Dallas or Falcon Crest (remember those?). As Annie says, “Less is more! The main mistake that I see women make is that they use too much makeup.  Contouring is supposed to make you look like you were born with amazing bone structure. Don’t give away your secret by using too much makeup, people will notice!”

Do Tell

Do you eat more over the holidays? What are your favorite indulgences? Do you contour with makeup? Do tell.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Katharine November 27, 2009 at 9:17 am

No contouring with makeup for me! I don’t wear enough makeup - or own enough actual structured bone - that any contouring efforts wouldn’t be laughably obvious, and anyway, it’s not like contouring is going to lessen the size of my ass. Since there are very few times my head roams around in isolation from my ass, there’s no way contouring would really help. (Remember the plumper girls of the 80s, with fake cheekbones highlighted and shaded into their cute chipmunk cheeks? That would be me, should I try.) The only effort at any slight disguise of my enbonpoint I make is occasional forays into longline shapewear when I wear either of my two sweater dresses - and that’s more to smooth over the line tights make in my tum.


Nomi November 27, 2009 at 9:32 am

I read this kind of post & I just despair. Other than a brief experimental phase in high school, I’ve never worn makeup in my life. I’m now 50+ years old, and I’m on the fence between “It’s too late to start now, it’ll be mutton dressed as lamb” and “Maybe if you learned a few tricks something could be salvaged.” How does one learn what to buy, how to do these things? I’ve gone to stores for free demos, and I always feel I look like a clown+hooker afterwards. I once had very white dry skin w rosy cheeks, but when that kind of complexion ages you get perma-blotchy-red, which is where I am now. Any advice for the hopeful-but-maquillagephobic?


Diana November 27, 2009 at 11:34 am

I do eat like a pig for thanksgiving but thankfully there’s no need for contouring. High cheekbones are in my family so I don’t really need to. Great tips! My friend would love these!
Diana ´s last blog ..Stella McCartney Precious Body Cream My ComLuv Profile


Sonja November 27, 2009 at 11:42 am

❤ Katharine, you’re too funny! You might still give it a try. The key is to use a light hand. You don’t need to try to do any chiseling, so to speak. :)
❤ Nomi, I understand your frustration with makeovers at stores. Most companies don’t hire real makeup artists or properly train their people on how to do makeup well. To get a good makeover, it really helps to go to a makeup artist line, because they prioritize proper technique and doing makeup that’s customized to your own style. I highly recommend visiting a Bobbi Brown or Trish McEvoy counter. You’d probably also have good luck at a Laura Mercier counter. Hope that helps! xo
Sonja´s last blog ..Makeup Trick: How to look slimmer in a snap My ComLuv Profile


Pam November 27, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I had Tofurkey with stuffing and gravy,corn,brussel sprouts,sweet potatoe and 2 pieces of vegan pumpkin cheesecake.
I love using a natural lush by Korres. I put moisturizer on before hand to have that dewy look.
what’s the secret to look like you have high cheek bones?


Sonja November 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm

❤ Diana, thanks! Glad they’ll be helpful! Happy Holidays!
❤ Pam, you’re so good! I think the only healthy thing I had was salad. The contouring and highlighting trick is your best bet to making cheekbones look higher and more pronounced. Let me know how it works for you if you give it a try.


Phee~Phee November 28, 2009 at 10:18 am

Sonja, I can’t even say I had salad. Everything I ate that could have been considered remotely healthy was so well cooked and overloaded with salt and butter that all nutritional value was cancelled out. I gained weight just by looking at it. I will definitely try contouring. I’m newer to the makeup world. I started wearing it out of obligation in middle school so I wouldn’t look cryptic while performing in plays and concerts but now I’m trying to learn methods of application and anything that will make my face look less fat is a plus.
Yes I’m fat in other places and I can’t hide that quite so easily, but when I take personal pictures with my own cameras I can crop out from the waist down. I can’t crop my face out.


Sonja November 29, 2009 at 10:31 pm

❤ Phee~Phee, I think this may be the first Thanksgiving I’ve ever had salad. It was my sad, vain attempt to balance out all the delicious decadence. I agree with you about photo cropping. lol! My butt doesn’t make it into many photos. :)


Peldyn December 1, 2009 at 8:11 pm

I have never worn blush due to my rosacea so I am not sure about the contouring, I am looking a bit gaunt now with the fat loss in my face due to age. Anyone have tips for that??? I am sure there are ways to make a face look fuller, right?
Peldyn´s last blog ..Cyber Monday My ComLuv Profile


makeup video December 4, 2009 at 1:53 am

Face contouring bronzer and blush video tutorial would be of help now.


Wendy December 14, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Have you ever read makeup artist Eve Pearl’s book “Plastic Surgery Without The Surgery”? She illustrates how you can make a multitude of changes to the plains of your face - just by using makeup. It’s fascinating!
Wendy´s last blog ..Beauty Books On My Holiday Wishlist My ComLuv Profile


Irene February 3, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Thank you Sonja for the great post. I will try out what you have mentioned here. Good.

Irene of


Irene March 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Yeah, I heard of this but never really check it out seriously. I think it will go perfectly with my body slimmer wear. Face is one place that body slimmer cannot work on. One most important factor about makeup trick is, it is risk free and very much cheaper than going for slimming centre or some other slimming programs. Only regret is, it is only a permanent fix.

Irene of


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