Your cheekbones are the structure of your face underneath your skin, particularly the malar bones. If your malar bones are located in close proximity to your eyes, you’re considered to have high cheekbones. Lower cheekbones refer to malar bones that rest closer to the bottom of your nose.

Having high cheekbones or low cheekbones doesn’t necessarily indicate anything about you. Your ethnic history and genetic background play a strong role in influencing how your face is structured. Some cultures value certain facial features, such as high or low cheekbones, as markers of conventional attractiveness.

Locating your cheekbones

You can figure out where your malar bones are fairly simply. All you need is a mirror and good lighting.

Looking at your clean, makeup-free face in the mirror, place your thumbs on the “nub” piece of cartilage over your ear canal (called the tragus). Then, place your index finger at your nostrils. Slowly draw your thumb and index finger together over your face until they meet. If you press down gently, you’ll feel your cheekbone!

Now look back in the mirror. If your cheekbone is at the lower part of your nose, you have low cheekbones. If it’s directly underneath your eyes, close to where the bridge of your nose begins, you have high cheekbones.

How to modify your cheekbones

If you don’t like the appearance of your cheekbones you can use makeup tricks to make your cheekbones appear higher and more prominent. There are also some clinical treatments available.

Makeup strategies

If you like the look of a higher cheekbone but don’t want to undergo a cosmetic procedure, you can use makeup to give your face a narrower, concave appearance. Using bronzer or blush and a highlighter product, along with a contouring makeup brush or makeup sponge, you can play with where shadows appear on your face to make your cheekbones seem higher. Methods vary and there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube depending on your face shape and what products you have on hand.

The basic concept of using shadow and light to make your cheekbones look higher is this:

  1. Start by using your breath to suck in your cheeks, making your cheekbones visible. Put your makeup brush on your cheekbone and tilt it outward to the end of your eyebrows – that’s where your contour line should end.
  2. Sweep a bronzer that is two shades darker than your natural skin tone over the area just underneath your cheekbone and continue up to your eyebrow line.
  3. Blend the bronzer in with your skin using an upward sweeping motion.
  4. For added effect, use a highlighter to draw attention right underneath your eyes to the cheekbone you have “created.”
  5. Using a foundation brush or beauty blender, blend the bronzer and highlighter, with your primer or foundation until it takes on a natural look.

Cheek implants

Cheek implants, also called “cheek lifts,” are for people who want to permanently change the shape of their face. A plastic surgeon makes small incisions on the sides of your mouth and inserts a cheekbone made of solid silicone. This surgery requires general anesthesia, and recovery can be uncomfortable. Expect a puffy face and a few days of pain and discomfort for up to a week afterward. Cheekbone implants do provide lasting results. However, as with any surgery, there are many potential side effects.

Dermal fillers

Another option for people who want to have more prominent, high cheekbones is the class of injectable material called “dermal fillers.” Fillers are often made of compounds like hyaluronic acid (HA) or collagen, which over time, your body can absorb. Popular brands of these fillers include Juvederm, Restylane, and Zyplast. Fillers can be injected into the tissue underneath your skin and create a temporary effect of a higher cheekbone. Results can last up to three months.

The takeaway

Personal beauty is an individual and highly subjective thing to evaluate. There aren’t “good” or “bad” cheekbones. There are many different kinds of faces, each with their own charm and beauty. If your cheekbones are a source of insecurity, consider visiting a makeup counter to talk about strategies and products that you might use to make them more prominent.

Cosmetic procedures range from temporary and relatively inexpensive to more serious and costly. Remember that having high cheekbones or low cheekbones isn’t a definite symbol of your attractiveness.