Before the Kardashians and YouTube, most of the general public had no idea what contouring and highlighting was. Still, one quick look at the history books will tell you that people have been using matte bronzer and shimmery powder to create facial illusions for centuries.
In the mid-1500s, stage performers would use chalk and soot to exaggerate their facial expressions for the audience. When artificial lighting was finally developed 300 years later, actors ditched the dirt for waxy, oily creams (a.k.a. “pancake makeup”) to accentuate their features under the spotlight. From then on, contouring evolved, touching everyone from the drag communities buried deep in uptown New York to Kevyn Aucoin’s band of ’90s supermodels. And eventually, the industry-only technique hit the mainstream market, launching what has become one of the fastest-growing makeup categories.
Now, a new iteration on the look is here, spearheaded by Instagram’s makeup artist du jourNam Vo. She says that contouring isn’t exactly dead (despite reports), but she’s more drawn to a plump, three-dimensional, healthy glow. Vo captures her mastery of this particular look with IG hashtags, like #highlighterporn, #glowgasm, and most importantly, #dewydumpling, emphasizing that, right now, it’s all about moist, delicious skin — and who doesn’t want that?
To master the look at home, we asked Vo exactly what she uses to make the “dewy dumpling” look a reality, from skin-care must-haves to highlighting creams and powders she can’t live without. Her answers, ahead.
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