Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
In a world obsessed with buccal fat removal and painstaking contouring to make the face appear slimmer, I welcome TikTok's newfound love of using makeup to enhance (rather than try to hide) what we've got. Take the 'model complexion' hack, for example, a makeup trick which encourages us to show a little more of our skin. This week, it's all about drawing attention to your cheeks, making them look like dewy dumplings.
Yes, dumplings. Makeup artist Nam Vo is the pro behind the cute blush hack, which went viral on TikTok and Instagram recently. The speedy makeup tip is said to make cheeks look plump and skin appear juicy, but you might want to shelve your favourite blush for a moment because Nam's trick is to reach for a red lipstick. Simply swipe it onto the highest point of each cheek then, before blending, add a dot of concealer and a dab of petroleum jelly. The glossiness of this rich skincare product is responsible for the dewy, dumpling effect.
If you're a Beauty In A Tik regular, you'll know that this isn't my first lipstick blush rodeo. That hack made quite the statement; Nam's dewy dumplings blush effect is a little more understated and appears to be much less effort. However, I had questions. Would this DIY blush stick around throughout the day? And I have acne-prone skin, so would the petroleum jelly cause me to break out?
Before I gave it a go, I asked Mira Parmar, makeup artist and self-confessed dewy skin creator, for her thoughts. "There are no rules in makeup and products can be used for anything you want," said Mira. "Lipstick for eyes, lipstick for cheeks, eyeliner as lip liner, lipgloss across the lids and so on." This look works, she said, because lipstick is often a very creamy product. "In fact, it's very similar to a cream blush, so applying to your skin with a concealer and petroleum jelly will lend a dewy and flawless, skinlike finish."
Mira told me that petroleum jelly is a safe product for most skin types but those who break out after using heavy textures might want to look to something else. "You could use a skin balm like La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume or Egyptian Magic Multipurpose Cream," said Mira. I like using a serum over makeup (it makes a brilliant highlighter) but Mira said the texture might not be quite right for this ultra-dewy look as it's much lighter than petroleum jelly or the aforementioned balms and creams.
For the hack, I made a beeline for the most pigmented red lipstick I own. It was a toss-up between Revlon ColorStay Matte Lite Crayon in She's Fly, £9.99 (it doesn't budge an inch) and Valentino Beauty Rosso Valentino Satin Refillable Lipstick in Rosso Valentino, £33. The latter is just a little creamier so I went for it. I applied a swipe to the high point of each cheek and criss-crossed this with MAC Studio Fix 24-Hour Smooth Wear Concealer, £24, then followed with a small dab of Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly, £1.50.
In my opinion, a dense foundation brush or a stippling brush like the Nanshy Stippling Face Makeup Brush, £9.95, is best for blending in creamy products seamlessly. To my surprise, the bold lipstick melted into my skin with no effort at all and imparted the most beautiful (and, most importantly, believable) blush effect. The petroleum jelly meant I didn't need to use any highlighter, while the concealer muted the pigment in the lipstick so that the finish didn't look like obvious blush. The result was a convincing, natural flush.
The second time I tried this hack, I made a serious error: getting distracted by the arrival of my weekly food shop before I could blend everything in. When I did eventually get to the blending stage, the lipstick had stained my cheek and wouldn't move. This is a testament to the lipstick, of course, as it's exactly what you'd want if you were wearing it on your lips. But it meant I had to remove everything with micellar water and start from scratch, base and all.
Even after a whole day of wear, the colour on my cheeks stuck around, save for one or two small areas. I always experience little holes with cream blush, though, especially as I'm a chronic face-toucher. Mira has a solution: "Using a powder on anything cream-based sets it completely, so you could do two things to keep it in place: take a fine, translucent loose powder and layer it lightly over the blush, or use a matching powder blush to set."
You might end up dialling down the dewiness but it can always be added back in with a touch of petroleum jelly. Another way you can achieve the dewy dumpling effect, said Mira, is with your favourite powder eyeshadow or powder blush added to a balm. "This creates a glossy colour for cheeks," she said.
Other TikTok blush hacks like 'circle blush' (applying blush to your eyelids and cheeks in sweeping, circular motions) or 'aura blush' (layering multiple shades of cream blush at once) are pretty but perhaps not something you'd do every single day. On the other hand, the dewy dumplings cheek hack is both speedy and wearable. So much so, I've been doing it every day since I discovered it.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by us. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, we may earn a commission.