Like many twenty-somethings who live in major cities and have green hair, I am a sucker for an abstract print. My living room is decorated with four (4) geometric paintings. The coffee mug I'm sipping from as I write this is adorned with minimalist drawings of boobs. I have an abstract portrait of my favorite film shot tattooed on my forearm.
So as I scrolled through TikTok one bleary-eyed morning, it makes sense that my thumb would immediately stop over a clip of 22-year-old Nashville makeup artist Sarah Wolak (@sarah_wolak) applying contour to her face in a way that made her look like she was straight out of an abstract expressionist masterpiece.
In the video, Wolak can be seen swiping the Maybelline New York Age Rewind Concealer first under her eyes. In one fell swoop, she slides the stick down around her nose, traces the outline of her lips, glides up to her cheekbone, and then back down to her chin. She repeats the process on the other side of her face. It's that type of oddly-satisfying movement that makes clips like this go viral. It doesn't hurt that after some blending, Wolak reveals a damn near-perfect contour.
Wolak tells Allure that she started practicing this hack after watching "countless YouTube videos" on how to contour and highlight.
"I could never quite put my finger on it, but something always looked a bit off on me," she says. "I had higher cheekbones, straighter brows, a squared-off forehead, and a sharper jawline. I realized I needed to come up with a technique myself, so I took the time to study my face and learn what truly looked best on me. Instead of unintentionally masking my natural bone structure, I learned to enhance and embrace it."
While Wolak's TikTok doesn't show how she blends her contour — the clip just cuts from her painted face to her fully done-up look — she tells Allure that she uses a dense foundation brush to do the job. "That creates the sharp, chiseled appearance you see in my video," she adds. "From there, I take a sponge to blend the edges and soak up any excess product. This leaves you with a defined and airbrushed face."