When we hear draping, one of the first things that likely comes to mind is a fabulous red carpet gown. You’re probably envisioning some Grecian-inspired dress with flowing folds, right? What you’re probably not thinking about is makeup. Don’t worry, we’re not about to present a wild eyebrow trend, draping is a wearable under-the-radar makeup technique that uses blush to sculpt and contour cheekbones.
Per celebrity makeup artist Bethany Brill, draping is a technique where different shades and textures of blush are used to bring out bone structure, plump and/or sculpt cheeks. Stila Global Executive Director of Creative Artistry Sarah Lucero likens it to fabric draping in terms of the smooth and sheer textures that “move comfortably” on top of one another. Starting to get the picture?
If this sounds a lot like contouring, the overlap is natural. Brill points out that all makeup involves some sort of contouring. Consider how we apply makeup to make different parts of the face appear bigger, smaller, fuller, wider, higher or lower than they really are. The difference is, draping focuses on the often neglected cheeks and uses color. If you need a break from the alien-esque glow of strobing and chiseled cheekbones, draping is it.
To become a master makeup draper, having the right technique is essential. Overdo it and risk looking like a clown or an extra in an 80s music video. Brill’s personal technique begins with coloring the entire cheek with a barely-there colored powder blush. She says that this helps to round out the face and “lift” the cheek off of the contour of the cheekbone. Next, she takes a gel or cream blush in a brighter shade and dabs it between the fullest part of the cheek and the highest part of the cheekbone. This focuses the attention on the prettiest and roundest part of the cheek giving a youthful glow. She finishes the look by dabbing a touch of the leftover gel/cream blush on the tip of the nose and on brow bones. This ensures the flush looks natural and not contrived.
Brill stresses subtlety is key in draping. To make a fashion-makeup analogy, we want soft folds. We don’t want sharp pleats. So, apply blush with a light touch and gradually build up the color so there are no hard edges. Accidentally overdid it? Take some off. Brill says that she often takes product off. “Many times I will do the technique, then rub the tiniest bit [of product] off at the end with my fingers or a dry tissue,” she explains. “It’s less fussy and keeps it cool and young and not overly manicured.”
Lucero adds that having clean beauty tools is key. Regularly washing makeup brushes prevents buildup and allows the product to move effortlessly across the face.
Ready to practice the draping technique? Click through the gallery to see pretty beauty looks that make cheeks the focal point.