You don't have to be an award-winning makeup artist to go viral on TikTok. Plenty of the app's smartest and most-viewed beauty hacks are dreamed up by self-confessed beauty devotees. Take the Vaseline lash lift trick (it'll convince you to ditch mascara for good) or the discovery that fake tan makes a great semi-permanent lip liner (surprisingly, it works!).
But there's one viral makeup trend that shows no sign of slowing down: face sculpting. Born from the 'clean' makeup trend and the obsession with looking 'snatched', TikTokers are using makeup in so many ways to lift and enhance facial features naturally. There's rainbow blush and drawing on a pair of 'concealer glasses' to brighten dark circles and elevate cheekbones. This month, it's all about 'ice cream' contouring.
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That's not the official name, of course, but with the hack consisting of applying concealer, cream blush and bronzer in satisfying layers, TikTokers are likening the unblended result to Neapolitan ice cream. So we're calling it.
Beauty content creator Serena Lakkiss recently totted up 2.2 million views on her "lift hack with makeup" video. Starting underneath her eye, Serena applies a swipe of concealer in a diagonal line that extends towards her temple. She follows the shape with cream blush, bronzer and another slick of concealer to finish. Taking a fluffy brush, Serena blends the product from the top to the bottom and the result is chiselled, hoisted cheeks with a natural flush.
Whether you start on a foundation base or apply the products to bare skin depends on the sort of coverage you like. I began with lightweight skin tint, then concealer. One of the most hardworking products I've tried lately is Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Concealer, $54, but you might want something dewier if you're applying it to your cheeks, like the new Rimmel Kind & Free Hydrating Concealer, $17.95.
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Highly pigmented yet so easy to blend, Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush, $34, really is as good as everyone says it is. I chased my slick of concealer with this and layered Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick, $72, underneath to create the Neapolitan ice cream look, followed by another strike of concealer. To ensure you lift (rather than drag down) your cheeks, try not to apply the products any further inwards than the centre of your eye.
While I got that right, I was overzealous with the concealer. I needed less than half the amount I'd actually applied, which made blending a bit of a chore. Nonetheless I persisted, starting at the top, moving on to the blush, then the bronzer and finally the last stripe of concealer. It's actually very difficult to avoid mixing all the colours together. But if anything, merging them gave my cheeks more of a natural colour, rather than a dolly-esque tint like my usual haphazard blush technique. It shouldn't leave behind any harsh lines, either.
Once the colours had sunk into my skin I reassessed and added a tiny dot of blush to amp up the flushed effect. When I turned to the side, I couldn't fault my newly raised cheekbones. Honestly, it never ceases to amaze me just how convincing a difference you can achieve with smart, strategic makeup placement.
As the day went on I realised I'd made a rookie error, though. Creamy products like these need to be set with translucent powder to stay put and a couple of hours later I noticed holes appearing in my base. My go-to is NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, $58, which smooths over makeup with no fallout. If you're on a beauty budget, try the excellent XX Revolution Quick FiXX Setting Powder, $20.
Part of me thought the ice cream face lift would be a total flop, that the products would melt into one big mess. But I've got to give it to TikTok — it does give cheeks a good boost. Would I practise this hack every day? Probably not, as it takes a little longer than my current speedy routine of walloping on a load of blush. But judging by my selfies it makes for brilliant occasion makeup — and for that reason, I'm sold.