TikTok's Triangle Makeup Hack Can Make Contouring Easier Than Ever

We're always down to learn new contouring hacks that make blending our beats easier, and one of TikTok's latest tips is giving new life to the term "triangle makeup." This one doesn't involve inverted triangles of "concealer geometry" or triangular winged eyeliner; instead, it's simply a fresh way to look at angling and placing the contouring holy trinity: contour, blush, and highlighter. 



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Like all good hacks, contouring with the triangle method couldn't be simpler. You start with a line of contour in the hollow of your cheek, as always. Next, you go in with your blush, but instead of lining it parallel to your contour, you create the next side of your triangle, angling it up toward your temple. The most controversial part of this trick is in the next step, which sees the highlighter placed to fill in the triangle, between the contour and blush. Whether you place the concealer in dots or lines isn't really important as long as it sits between the other two products. Blend all three together, rather than blending after each step, and you'll have yourself some surprisingly sculpted and glowing cheeks.


Why the triangle contouring hack works

Even if you don't get the triangular shape perfect, you can't go too far wrong with this hack as long as you place the highlighter between the blush and the contour. That's because, according to veteran makeup artist Erica Taylor, this arrangement has a unique advantage over more traditional contouring methods. "We're blending it all together so we get a lift and the highlight goes into both [the contour and the blush] instead of a stripy situation," Taylor explains in a TikTok tutorial for Australian vegan makeup brand MCoBeauty.


This really comes down to the major rule of highlighter: You need to strategically place it on the areas of the face that you want to draw the eye to. "Highlight the areas you want to bring forward and contour the area you want to appear less obvious," celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta recommends (via Aedit). By applying highlighter right on your cheekbone between your other products, you're illuminating the high point of your face and emphasizing your contour as a whole.

How the triangle method differs from the Neapolitan method of contouring

You might be reluctant to try the triangle contour method because it's a departure from the good ol' Neapolitan technique we all know and love. The golden standard of contouring involves starting with your contour in the hollow of the cheek, applying your blush directly on top of it, and then finishing with your highlighter nearest to your eye. The result should resemble a tub of Neapolitan ice cream, running in layers of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. 


While this may have been what Erica Taylor was referring to as "a stripy situation," many beauty gurus still recommend this technique for creating the perfect distribution of shadows and illumination, especially if you're a beginner in the world of face contouring. In another TikTok video, Refinery29 deputy beauty director Jacqueline Kilikita demonstrates the "Neapolitan ice cream face lift." She explains, "As you can see, it really, really does work to lift and define cheekbones."

Makeup expert Elyse Reneau confirms this notion to Glamour, explaining, "Contour and highlight go together like peanut butter and jelly." So, regardless of which contouring hack speaks to you, they will both give definition to the cheeks and bring out the areas that you want to emphasize. As long as you use these all-important products and blend them properly, you'll get the lift and sculpt you're looking for.