Topic of the Week Tuesday: “Blushdraping” Technique

There’s a new technique in the beauty, makeup, and fashion world (mostly launched on the spring and summer runways of New York, L.A., etc…) lately showing it’s face lately (pun is intended) and one that I had never really heard of but was recently shown on famous singer Rhianna at a red carpet Met Gala event that drew a lot of attention.  It’s a technique called “blushdraping” that was actually one that was started in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s (the “disco” era) as well as in some of the 90’s era.  It was also called “color glow” and a technique that has really been around for about 40 years.  It was inspired by one of the first makeup artists in the entertainment industry and a friend of beauty and fashion designer (as well as fellow makeup artist) Marc Jacobs whose name was Way Bandy.  Bandy worked on many high profile and famous actors and actresses like Cher, Barbara Walters and even Elizabeth Taylor.

It is a technique that is different from the Kardashian inspired highlight contour technique of this era using light and dark cream and/or powders placed on the face for adding dimension and then the strobing technique that was also popular after that using mostly highlighter products to the highpoints of the face for adding contour and dimension as well as “lightlifting”.  This new and old technique in “blushdraping” is one that uses mostly blush products to achieve dimension and as the main tool to contour the face with varying degrees of blush in light and dark shades.  It is also used in combination with other makeup facial products by adding similar toned lipsticks in the same range as the blushes used to “drape” the face therefore “contouring” and adding more color to the draping depending which type of “blushdraping” technique is used.  It is a more “fresh” and “glowy” approach to the sometimes more harsh and bold Kardashian contouring look that has grown in such popularity along with their fame.  Defined as said by Marc Jacobs it is “the technique of following the natural bone structure of the face to add dimension resulting in a created more “very done” made-up look” to the face while also being a more “ombre” or “editorial” look.  It is applied to one area mostly of the face mainly the cheekbones while down-playing the other parts.

It has also been called a “layering” technique draping contours of product where highly skilled blending is needed with the look being more of an all over light one and another color buffed out and blended in a lighter tone and also darker shade of blush to contour.  It is also referred to as “non-touring” and the technique of swirling motions buffing out the apples of the cheeks with the rest of the face with a makeup brush (or 2 holding them separate as to not mix product and color to maximize blending for the look).  The blending steps usually are blending two shades together by sweeping just below cheekbones to contour and define the characters of the face by “draping” the high part of the cheekbones to graduate the color.  Also wrap around from the eye to the temple in a half moon shape for added drama.  You can also drape the tip of the chin and sweep along the center of the neck and decollete’.  There are a lot of examples online and sketches to do this.

There are four sometimes 5 types of “glow looks” and techniques of blushdraping depending on the look they are going for or the event it is being worn to such as a wedding, runway or modeling event , or a more subtle day or natural look.  The “glow looks” are called “Lifted”, “Sculpted”, “Volumized”, “and “Advanced” (also sometimes called “Balanced”) and they each have different placement of product and focal points depending on the look you want to achieve.

The “Lifted” glow look is to raise the cheekbones concentrating product on the high points of the cheekbone and sometimes in combination with the brow bone and eye area where you would place eyeshadow.  This is to achieve a “raised” look to the cheekbones.  The next and the “Sculpted” glow places product more like the conventional contour and results in a more rounded face look.  The third look is called the “volumized” look and it is used to add fullness to the face and routinely uses 2 shades of blush which creates more of an oval look or face shape instead of round by combining 2 shades together which enhances fullness and healthiness for a more youthful look.  The fourth look is the “advanced” (or sometimes called “balanced”) and adds drama to the face with placement of product at the temples, center of nose, below the cheekbones, the side of the neck and ear, and some chin and eyelid area to give a “sun-kissed” look.

The results of these looks can be more added color and a softer more blended one.  It uses generally 2 shades of blush with the lighter (and sometimes highlighter product) being place on one area of the face with the darker placed in different ones or layered one underneath the other to increase dimension.  Other colors or shades of product can be used including using a softer neutral shade of blush instead of a brighter bolder one.

There are many different types and colors of product and blushes to use including the newer Marc Jacobs “Air Blush” that is made with Japanese air powder (also called “soufflage” or “air-whipped” product for greater blendability) in it with alternating dark and light product blush colors in the same compact specifically designed to cater to blushdraping.  It runs for $42.00 a piece and has several shades in for all skin tones like “Night Fever & Hot stuff” (a dark berry shade), “Lines & Last Night” (a peachy-coral), “Lush & Libido” (a rose shade).  Glossier also has another great product to use in blush called “Cloud Paint” that is a gel cream formula that can be dabbed on by your fingers, a makeup brush, or blended with a beauty blender or makeup sponge.  It is priced at $18.00.  I have heard so many good things about this blush too and have been wanting to try it and now have another reason to try it.  There is also Charlotte Tilbury’s  Swish & Pop Blush that has two tones of product in it in compact form with colors like “Cheek to Chic”  (a rosy pink), “First Love” (a nude pink brown), “Ectasy” (a coral peach), and the very popular “Love Is The Drug” (a light pink) that are priced for $40.00.

Really, as far as “blushdraping” goes, I’m not really sure if I like it or the technique as a whole.  It can be beautiful depending on color, placement, the placement of product on the face and a very creative way to use color.  It is an interesting technique and I love the high blending aspect of it with blending being so important in makeup artistry, as well as blending layers that I think is an acquired talent and very beautiful overall resulting in some really soft looks which I like, but some of the looks are better than others.  My favorite look is definitely the “sculpted” look that places product in the contour part of the cheekbone where with the contouring/highlighting routine trend of late in the made famous Kardashian style in the hollow of the cheekbone only.  The other look is the advanced (and sometimes called “balanced” look) that places product to different strategic points of the face that focuses on giving a “sun-kissed” overall look.  The lifted look is to raise cheekbones with what seems to be very high on the face (which I don’t think looks balanced at all and often includes portions of the eye (including eyeshadow in combination with it) that seems to give an overall clumped and a little bit messy or “muddy” if not done right.  The application can vary from heavy to light also depending on which look you use.

So as with most trends that come and go with some staying, some going, and some that end up different with trial and error and other things mixed in with them in technique and product (to combine the look you end up liking anyways with a little bit of it all mixed in), is usually what ends up happening.  I think with todays contour/highlighting added with this new/old trending technique, I have to say that I really still like the Kardashian contouring/highlighting trend that is still going on now with strobing seeming to be fading in popularity.  It is a stunning look and it really makes the face pop out especially in photography and media.  The contouring/highlighting method does require more product, time, and placement but is such a great look and so balanced for the face when it is done and all put together especially in photography where the face really pops or stand out.  The strobing technique is fading in popularity and one that I didn’t really care for anyways although I think highlighter is my favorite makeup product of the whole face besides blush.

Whichever technique you decide to use, blushdraping is one that allows for a whole lot of creativity and fun with all the different looks there are to try, whether they are coming or going  or staying or not, they are always are always worth a try.  So get out there, get creative, and go for it!





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I am a professional freelance makeup artist, student, and beauty blogger about all things beauty related.

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