When a makeup artist starts revealing their tips, I grab pen and paper and take notes, immediately. And especially so when said makeup artist just so happens to be James Molloy, ex-Director of Makeup Artistry for MAC and founder of My Kit Co., famed in the beauty community for his vast portfolio of editorial, celebrity, and backstage work. Having seen James in action, I’ve witnessed his ability to translate even the most diverse and complex inspirations into real life with an ease like no other, so I was particularly keen to pick his brains re. draping – the latest big makeup trend to hit the beauty world.
The technique, originally championed by famed ‘70s makeup artist Way Brandy (who referred to it as ‘colour glow’), involves using blush in place of a contour product, and sweeping colour down from your temples to the apples of your cheeks in a C-shape to create the illusion of lifted, sharper cheekbones. “Draping takes blush to the next level” says James. “the placement of the colour lifts the features.” To keep the look modern, chic, and not dated, he recommends pairing draped blusher with a bold lip, “The clash looks super modern, especially with little else on the face” he says, “but for a sweeter ‘Kawaii’ look try a pink version teamed with a fleshy lip”.
When it comes to applying product, James says it’s all about layering. Building sheer layers will give the beautiful glowing finish that makes draping lift the features. “Avoid overloading your blush brush with too much product, as this will be hard to blend.” he says. For extra finesse he advises that finding the right brush is key, and recommends seeking soft brushes with natural bristles which will disperse colour more evenly and give a soft focus effect, “the softer the brush, the softer the blend”.
Another top tip? Skin prep. “Powder blush blends best over smooth matte skin” James says “set your skin with a translucent powder before applying your blush.” For this reason, powder formulas will work best for draping and will ensure that too much colour doesn’t end up concentrated in one place. Lest you think one shade is enough, James says he uses 2-3 tones to give draping life, “a blend of hot pink and rose red will brighten the skin and look fresh”.
I put James’ tips into action and have adapted draping into a wearable technique that has quickly become part of my daily routine. Before, I only really applied blush to the apples of my cheeks, but now that there’s more shape and subtlety to my blusher my face looks less rounded and has a lifted illusion that complements my bone structure.
For draping, you want a blush with a strong pigment to create a ‘flushed’ effect. This blusher is the powder version of that gentle flush of colour that occurs after a brisk walk on a cool day. The closest you’ll come to a cream formula, without the faff – it has a dewy finish that stays looking bright and fresh all day.