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Makeup Tricks That Make You Look Thinner

Freelance makeup artist and 'Reader's Digest' photo editor Emma Kapotes demonstrates makeup tricks that slim your face in 9 simple steps.

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Step 1: Start with a good base

Begin with a smooth, even complexion (a.k.a., your canvas). Start by applying your primer and foundation as you normally would, advises Sarah Agajanian, celebrity eyebrow expert and makeup artist in Los Angeles. Don’t wear foundation every day? No problem. Instead, wear a tinted moisturizer (she likes those by Laura Mercier). Here, Emma used Benefit’s the POREfessional face primer and applied Too Faced Born This Way foundation in Nude with a special foundation sponge called the beautyblender.

Additional reporting and styling by Emma Kapotes

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Step 2: Grab concealer

And a beauty blender, which makes color easier to apply. Highlight the areas of the face that you want to draw light to. In this case, you’ll be covering the under eyes to get rid of dark circles, the bridge of the nose, the center of the forehead, and the tip of the chin. Blend these sections out with a damp beauty blender and apply setting powder. Here, Emma is wearing NARS concealer in Custard and Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder.

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Step 3: Create definition with contouring

This is where the magic happens. To add shadows that create a slimming affect on your face, grab a contour cream or powder that is two times darker than your skin tone (preferably a matte shade). This will give you  a more natural look. Apply to the hollows of your cheeks by drawing a line from your ear to the center of your cheek. Apply the same shade to the edge of your hairline on your forehead and down the sides of your nose. Blend this with a contour brush moving in upward strokes to create elevated cheekbones and the illusion of a smaller forehead and nose. One caveat: If you have a small forehead/nose, feel free to skip this step. Here, Emma is using the Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick in Golden Almond, the Kat Von D Shade and Light Palette, and a Sephora Collection Classic Multitasker Contour brush.

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Step 4: Thin out your jawline

Once you’ve blended in your face contour, apply the same shade along your jawline on both sides of your face. Sweep onto your neck very lightly. “This will make a round face look thinner,” says Agajanian. Need more makeup? Check out which makeup sale you can take advantage of.

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Step 5: Add blush and a highlight

Apply a soft blush to the apples of your cheeks and blend outward in a circular motion. This will go above your cheek contour. To make your skin appear luminous and reflect light, grab your favorite highlighter and dust it over the top of your cheekbones, down your nose, and on your cupid’s bow (Agajanian recommends the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector). The shimmery tones will make your face pop, she says. Emma is wearing Becca Mineral Blush in Wild Honey and Anastasia Beverly Hills Gleam Glow Kit shade in Crushed Pearl.

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Step 6: Focus on your brows

To draw attention to your eyes, fill in your brows following your natural arch. Why? Angular eyebrows can draw the eye upward and create a longer, thinner face shape. Emma is wearing Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer in Medium Brown.

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Step 7: Make your eyes pop

A more dramatic eye will create a focal point for your face, says Agajanian. “Actresses with fuller faces wear a bolder eye on the red carpet to make them look thinner,” she says. Think black eyeliner with a subtly smoky eye. Emma is wearing Tarte’s tartelette palette, Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper (for the wing), Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Yeyo (on the waterline), and L’oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara.

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Step 8: Tone down lips

Balance out the bolder eye with a more neutral lip. Try a nude or natural light gloss. Emma is wearing Ofra Cosmetics Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Pasadena.

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Step 9: And now for the finished look!

And voila! The finished product is the illusion of a slimmer face. For more makeup reviews and inspiration, follow our artist and model Emma Kapotes on Instagram. And here’s how to dress to look 10 pounds thinner.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest