When word came round that L’Oréal Paris celebrity makeup artist Sir John would be stopping by Byrdie HQ, we may or may not have fangirled. After all, this is the man Beyoncé—all hail Queen Bey—calls on the regular to make up her already-perfect face, and he’s also responsible for Joan Smalls’s daring violet lip at this year’s Met Ball (and her many head-turning looks since then). Turns out he’s charming, nice, and a fountain of little-known makeup tips to boot—one of which happened to blow our minds because it doesn’t actually involve makeup but still contours your face. Allow us to explain.
As Sir John was making over our model for a tutorial shoot, the conversation drifted to L.A.’s perpetually hot temperatures, which subsequently turned into a discussion about sun safety and the beach. At this point, Sir John said something along the lines of “You know, after you apply sunscreen at the beach, you can apply another thick layer only above your cheekbones and above your brows. Then, at the end of the day, you’ll have a natural-looking contoured, highlighted look.”
What?! There were a few moments of shocked silence as we digested this information. Contouring… with sunscreen? We’ve pretty much heard every contouring trick under the sun at this point—yet, ironically, this one had slipped under our radar. If you think about it, the idea does make sense, though. Since the sunscreen will be piled on thickly in those areas, they will most likely be slightly lighter than the rest of your tanned face—a.k.a. natural strobing.
Sir John did admit that this might not be the most practical tip since 1) not everyone lives in L.A. where it’s constantly 70 degrees or higher, and 2) you’ll probably get some strange looks. However, we’ll be willing to apply a slightly thicker (i.e., not too noticeable) layer of sunscreen around those areas next time we’re at the beach, just to see if it really works. We’d like to imagine Beyoncé doing the same.
If you want to attempt this technique yourself, try L’Oréal Paris’s Advanced Suncare Silky Sheer Lotion SPF 50+ ($10) or Tatcha’s Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 ($68).
Have you ever heard of this contouring trick? Click here to find out about “tontouring,” another contouring hack that comes from overseas.