What Is Draping? Here's Everything You Need To Nail This New Beauty Trend

July 17, 2018 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

For several years now, contour makeup and the actual act of contouring your face to define your cheekbones and features has been on our radar. Thanks to celebs like Kim Kardashian, who can contour her face in her sleep, we’re all hip to the fact that a little (or a lot) of bronzer, highlighter, and blush—strategically placed and blended to perfectio—can create the illusion of a more narrow, sculpted face with serious cheekbones and a strong jaw and brow line.

But, let’s be honest: contouring takes skill–and patience. For those of us who are makeup challenged, or who don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to contouring, the flawless look is just too complicated to pull off, especially if you like to leave the house with a defined face every day or aren’t really in the mood to pile on several makeup products, particularly during warmer months of the year.

Luckily, there’s an alternative for anyone who loves the look of contouring: it’s called draping and it requires just one product and a few minutes of your time. Here’s everything you need to know to pull off the draping makeup technique and contour your face without complicated contour makeup.

What Is Draping? The Newest Makeup Technique To Contour

what is draping

What Is Draping?

Everything old is new again—including draping, which has origins in the disco ‘70s. Back when celebs were hanging out at Studio 54 no one was piling layers of contour makeup on their faces, yet everyone seemed to achieve an ethereal glow and highlighted cheekbones. Their product of choice? Blush. Sounds simple, right?

It is, but the trick, of course, is knowing how to use blush to draw attention to specific areas of your face like cheekbones, your jawline, and the bridge of your nose.

what is draping

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette ($65)

What Products Do You Need To Achieve The Draping Technique?

The greatest thing about draping is that it doesn’t require a full-blown contouring kit or separate bottles of foundation, bronzer, and highlighter. You’ll need a great blush or maybe even a blush palette like this one. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette, which comes with three universally flattering shades: champagne rose blush, pale peony, and soft plum. The darker blush shades can be used to create shadow, similar to where you would use a bronzing powder, while the lighter shades work as a highlighter.

The biggest difference between contouring with liquid and powder contouring makeup products and draping with blush is that blush gives you more room to make mistakes—and those errors are far easier to correct with a makeup brush.

how to drape

Bobbi Brown Blush Brush ($60)

Which Makeup Brushes Should You Get For Draping?

Speaking of makeup brushes, you’ll want to invest in two that can help with draping. A quality blush brush with a rounded head will deposit blush flawlessly, and a separate blending brush like this affordable option from e.l.f. can be used afterward to create seamless lines and make your makeup look as natural as possible.

how to drape

Two Draping Techniques For A More Defined Face

Contouring is generally (but not always) used to make the face appear thinner or more sculpted. You can achieve this same goal with draping, but the nice thing about blush is that it can also be used to make a thinner face appear plumper. And we needn’t tell you it will create a rosy, healthy-looking flush that serves as a nice alternative if you are used to wearing golden or bronze contour colors.

Here are two draping techniques you can follow to enhance your face using blush.

To lengthen and make a rounder, wider face more oval, apply a darker blush right below the apples of your cheeks. While tradition dictates using blush right on top of the apples, this popular technique tends to fall short of being effective unless you already have high cheekbones or a more oval face shape. A darker rose or peach under your cheekbones creates a hollow effect that draws the eye upward. But don’t neglect the actual apples of your cheeks altogether—this is where you’ll want to apply a lighter blush tone as a highlight.

Already have a narrow face and want a more voluminous look? Using a bright pink or peach shade, apply blush to both the apples of cheeks and directly below them, as if you’re extending your cheek area downward. Now add a lighter, slightly shimmering blush shade to the apples of your cheeks to make them really pop.

Anyone can master the draping technique—all it takes is a few great blush shades, makeup brushes, and a little experimentation to get radiant looking skin and gorgeous definition.

SheFinds receives commissions for purchases made through the links in this post.


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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