If there were a super fast, super easy technique to give your face a fresh, youthful boost, would you try it? Of course you would. And guess what? Such a thing actually exists.
It’s called contrasting, and women who use the makeup technique are perceived as younger, according to a recent Frontiers in Psychology study. To come to this finding, researchers had observers look at facial photos of women ages 20 to 80 from four different ethnic groups. Observers saw two versions of each photo—one that was edited to be high contrast and one that was edited to be low contrast.
A whopping 80% of the time, observers said that the high contrast faces were younger than the low contrast ones. Yup, even when the two photos were of the same woman.
"People of different cultures use facial contrast as a cue for perceiving age from the face, even though they are not consciously aware of it," says study author Aurélie Porcheron. "The results also suggest that people could actively modify how old they look, by altering how much their facial features stand out, for example, by darkening or coloring their features."
Specifically, facial contrast in the study referred to how much the eyes, lips and eyebrows stood out from the rest of the face. These features tend to become less distinct as we age. But making them pop is pretty easy—and can take years off the clock. “It’s quick and easy to achieve a natural look that enhances the beauty you already have,” says makeup artist Meaghan Frasier.
Want to give it a try? Here’s what Frasier recommends:
- Lips: Give them definition and make them look fuller by applying a lip liner close to your natural color just above your lip line on the top lip and just below your lip line on the bottom lip. Smudge it gently with your fingers, so it doesn’t look too “done.” Use the same liner to fill in your lips, then top with a nude gloss.
- Eyes: Start by swiping a mid-tone brown shadow over the crease. To define your lash line but still keep it soft, smudge dark brown shadow along the edges instead of black liner. Finish by curling your lashes and applying a coat of mascara on the top and bottom lashes.
- Brows: Make them stand out without looking harsh by using a brown pencil. (Go one shade lighter than your hair color if you’re brunette. If you’re blonde, go one or two shades darker. Redheads can stick with an auburn shade that matches their hair color.) Fill in any sparse areas, using short strokes that mimic your brow hairs. Swipe brows with a clear gel to keep them in place.