Tutorial - Glowy Cheeks

This tutorial is designed to show you how to contour face, use a darker blush, and light highlight for glowy, dramatic cheeks.

Skill Level: Moderate

Note: This tutorial is designed for more advanced users who grasp and understand the basic concepts of makeup application, blending, and other related techniques. I strongly suggest viewing some of the more detailed articles and tutorials that better describe basic techniques for less advanced users. To view a more detailed tutorial to gain a better understanding of the techniques applied here, please view this previous tutorial.

Eyes: If you’d like to compliment the cheeks, try Apricot Pink pigment (mixed with MAC’s water-based mixing medium as your base), Firespot eyeshadow (warm orange color), Cranberry eyeshadow (raspberry color), Sable Wrap eyeshadow (same as Saturnal eyeshadow, dirty dark olive green), Say Yeah (highlighter with pink undertones), Grain eyeshadow (highlighter with neutral undertones), Graphblack technakohl (black kohl liner), and black mascara.
Face: Afterdusk blush (darker pink-purple) on apples of cheeks, Astral Rays glimmershimmer (creamy white-beige) on top of cheeks and temple, and Harmony blush (brown/gray) to contour cheeks.
Lips: For matching lips, try New York Apple lipstick (deep raspberry) with face lipglass (peachy pink).

Using an angled fluffy brush like the 168 of 169, pick up your contour color of choice (Harmony blush for me in this tutorial) and place it in the hollow of your cheeks.

This is what it should look like; it doesn’t need to be blended at this particular moment.

When I use glimmershimmers, I find it easier to apply them before powder products (plus the powder products tend to help it set and stay better throughout the day). Take a touch of Astral Rays glimmershimmer and spread it on top of my cheek using a flat stiff brush like the 190.

Using a fluffy buffer brush like the 182, blend Astral Rays glimmershimmer into cheeks by making small circles.

All glowy, kind of?

Using a fluffy powder brush like the 150, apply After Dusk blush to apple of cheeks.

Smile to help show you where your “apples” are – they’re the bulging part of your face!

Using the fluffy powder brush (150), blend upwards towards temples and make small circles to help blend the color into cheeks.

Like so.

Using a fluffy buffer brush like the 182, make large, soft circles all over your cheeks to buff everything together. Do not spend too long or else you might over-blend!

Even by your temples!


This is your finished product.

To view more pictures of the finished product, please view the original look here.

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I like the way the shimmer adds to the look… does it need to be applied with a brush though or will fingers work? (Before blending with the fluffy brush, I mean). Oh also since the shimmer’s a liquid, can you use the brush for other stuff too or will that make things streaky? I don’t have that many brushes heh

Hi Rosa! You can definitely use your fingers to sheer out the glimmershimmer; no biggie. You could even use a sponge applicator if you wanted to keep your brushes clean.

I have two buffer brushes – one for liquids/creams and another for powder. That’s how it’s okay for me to use it, haha. I’d try and keep my liquids from powder, because there’ll be some residue leftover from the glimmershimmer on the brush.

Love the glimmershimmer, looks great on you!

Just wondering though, since glimmershimmer is a liquid highlighter, if I apply it after concealer and foundation (I use both liquid and/or mineral foundation), would it wipe any of the foundation off when applying it?

Oh and how’s the pump bottle for the glimmershimmers? I heard it may be hard to control how much comes out of it in one pump (i.e. if you just want a tiny dot). Thanks!

It’s not my favorite applicator, because the pump can be difficult, but I’ve found that so long as it isn’t a very pigmented glimmershimmer (like Shock ‘n Shine), what you get in one gentle pump is a good amount for what you need. I know others use small sample jars to pump into and use it from there.

Hi Christine,

Thanks for your reply!

How long does a bottle of glimmershimmer usually last if you use it as a cheek/face highlighter everday? The bottles are awfully small, thanks!

Hey Meme!

Oh, man… I expect it would last you QUITE awhile. I use so little for each application. I’d probably guess at least 3-4 months? I’m not sure because I rarely use any product everyday, lol!

hi christine! I was wondering, you apply glimmershimmer and the blush and contour color after u have applied foundation right and then you apply powder would this still work if i applied say studio fix over it or would that just mess up the whole thing i usually just wear studio fix as my powder bc i like the coverage or would u have another suggestion with the same amount of coverage.. .whats the easiest thing to do? thanks so much!

Hey Shannon!

Studio Fix will cover some of it, so you might want to go lightly on the areas where you’ve put the glimmershimmer or go heavier with the glimmershimmer!

Hi Christine,

First, I must say that i discovered your site like two days ago and haven’t been away from it since. j/k 🙂 I love it. However, my question is my color with MAC is NW20 and I am having a really hard time finding a good contour color for my cheeks that is not too dark. At the counter they suggested Wedge e/s but I dont care for it. Can you sugguest something? I would really appreciate it!!

Hey Desiree! 🙂 Haha! Good to hear! You might want to try Strada blush – it’s a great color for lighter skintones. I know tons of NW/NC15s that use it.

Christine — I LOVE your website and must confess that I’ve been stalking it secretly for the last month or so , but this is the first time I’ve actually left a comment. It’s about time. I know. 🙂

First, just wanted to say thanks in general for all your great tutorials and tips. I’m a MAC eyeshadow fanatic but find myself collecting a lot more product then I actually ever use. You’ve inspired me start experimenting more.

I also had a question about re your glowy cheeks tutorial. I’m a C40/C35 in the winter. What would be a good contouring shade for me? I already use a bronzer (refined golden) for color on my cheeks and astral rays as a highlight like you do. I wanted something dark and matte to create a shadow right under my cheek bones to give me more shape. Should I still go w/ harmony? Or a different shade given that my finished look i’m going for is more bronzy rather then plum/rosy?

Thanks again for your help and for the fab website!

Hey Joce!

Thank you so much, I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying the site 🙂

You can definitely check out Harmony, but you may also want to experiment with Taupe. Taupe is less ashy/plum, more neutral. Another tip is try out a foundation in a deeper color than your natural shade, because then it will be extremely natural – not at all plum or rosy. Bronzer would give you the warmer, bronzy look, though!

Another great lesson! Thank you :)As I recently have said that your website was better than MAC,for a simple reason.You teach,you explain,you tutor.
MAC assums that we already know EVERYTHING.Well…not quite true.Again,great job!!!

And a question.
I was trying to find on MAC website a product you have mentioned in your tutoring,meaning “water-based mixing medium” and I can’t.
I found http://www.maccosmetics.com/templates/products/mp.tmpl?CATEGORY_ID=CATEGORY23434
all of those ,but the problem is,I don’t how to use it and what they are for? What do they do?
As well I’m guessing I certainly do not need ALL of them,right?

Can you help,please 🙂

Hey Madeleine! Thank you so much! I use a home made version of mixing medium, which is one part liquid glycerin to three parts water. You can find glycerin at drugstores in the first aid aisle as well as health food stores.

The link you posted is MAC’s skincare line, not at all like the mixing medium! You can only find the mixing medium at MAC PRO stores as it is part of the PRO line. You can visit or call a PRO store to make a phone order if one is too far to visit locally.

OMG you’re such a wonderful and an amazing girl. Thank you so much. This website has opened my eyes to do my makeup differently. It takes quite a skill, and you’ve certainly got it gurl!~

Hi…great site I’m learning a lot! Just wanna know if it’s ok to use a studio fix powder that’s 2 shades darker than my skintone in lieu of the harmony blush you used?

Hi Christine

I really love your work!I like nude colours for lipsticks and I was going to buy the lipglass oyster girl.Is it a nice pink or do you suggest another?And I was also going to choose a pinkish blusher.I was deciding between fluer power and desert rose.I do not have a dark complection it is like medium to light:)

Hi Rachel! Thank you so much and happy to see you on the blog!

I like Fleur Power more than Desert Rose, just because Desert Rose has worse pay off. You may want to check out Springsheen or Peachykeen if you are warm toned or Well Dressed if you are cool toned.

Oyster Girl is a nice lipglass, it’s definitely a popular one for new MAC fans!

Eyes: If you’d like to compliment the cheeks, try Apricot Pink pigment (mixed with MAC’s water-based mixing medium as your base), Firespot eyeshadow (warm orange color), Cranberry eyeshadow (raspberry color), Sable Wrap eyeshadow (same as Saturnal eyeshadow, dirty dark olive green), Say Yeah (highlighter with pink undertones), Grain eyeshadow (highlighter with neutral undertones), Graphblack technakohl (black kohl liner), and black mascara.

really nice tutorial, but color that is chosen for contouring is a bit too red, so for more natural look you might like to find color that is more grayish

Yes, it’s LE 🙁

You could try the loose beauty powders — they’re not creamy, but they’ve got a lot of shimmer.

Hi Christine, this is an awesome tutorial, normally I view your eye looks, but this is amazing!
I know this is older, as stated in the comment above mine…but I really want a product like that glimmershimmer! I currently use Beauty Powder in Dancing Light as my highlighter, and while the color is similar, I find that as a highlight it doesn’t have enough staying power for me. 🙁

Are there any other options by MAC or any other company for a similar cream-based highlight that has similar tones?

I believe Giorgio Armani has a line of liquid highlighters — I haven’t tried them, BUT I’ve heard many raves for them!

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