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People think I had buccal fat removal — but I just use this makeup trick

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Ehlie Luna always wants to be on the cutting edge of every celebrity beauty trend, but she’s not looking to go under the knife.

In December, she was in awe when she saw a photo of “Funny Girl” star Lea Michele with strikingly chiseled cheeks. The image led many to speculate that Michele had achieved the look via buccal fat removal surgery. Luna, a beauty and lifestyle content creator from Bushwick, wondered if she could get a similar effect with makeup.

“When I saw Lea Michele’s picture, I knew I wanted that really contoured look, too,” she said, but “I’ve never considered getting buccal fat removal or any type of plastic surgery on my face.”

During buccal fat removal, doctors extract a grape-size collection of fat tissue stored in the lower half of the cheek in effort to reduce its puffiness and slenderize the face. Like most surgical beauty treatments, the operation comes with health risks including infection, facial nerve damage and numbness — not to mention a hefty price tag. 

When Ehlie Luna, a beauty content creator from Brooklyn, saw actress Lea Michele's slimmed cheeks, she was inspire to recreate the look with cosmetics.
When Ehlie Luna, a beauty content creator from Brooklyn, saw actress Lea Michele’s slimmed cheeks, she was inspired to re-create the look with cosmetics.
Ehlie Luna

In New York, the hourlong procedure, for which patients are typically awake, typically ranges from $4,000 to $7,500. 

Luna and others are turning to turning to contour, concealer and bronzer to get the look on a dime. On TikTok, the hashtag #BuccalFatRemovalMakeup has over 1.9 million views. Luna’s detailed tutorial for creating the chic illusion has attracted nearly 25,000 fans alone.

Michele's December 12 Instagram post went viral, sparking social media speculations that the
Michele’s December 12 Instagram post went viral, sparking social media speculations that the “Glee” alum had undergone buccal fat removal surgery.
Lea Michele/Instagram

In buccal fat removal surgery, doctors remove a lump of fat stored in the cheek, creating a sleek and hollowed look.
In buccal fat removal surgery, doctors remove a lump of fat stored in the cheek, creating a sleek and hollowed look.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

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Many beauty influencers on TikTok are using Bella Hadid's strikingly slim cheeks as inspiration in their buccal fat removal makeup tutorials.
Many beauty influencers on TikTok are using Bella Hadid’s strikingly slim cheeks as inspiration in their buccal fat removal makeup tutorials.
AFP via Getty Images

On Instagram, Teigen has openly admitted to having her buccal fat surgically removed from her cheeks back in 2021.
On Instagram, Teigen has openly admitted to having her buccal fat surgically removed from her cheeks back in 2021.
Getty Images for City Harvest

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“I’ve always known that there are certain things I can do to shape-shift my face,” said Luna. “And I love offering [my social media followers] the option to test the look out with makeup before they make the decision [to get surgery].”

To achieve the look, Luna begins by applying the Fenty Match Stick ($28) in espresso to the curve of her cheekbone. (Note for makeup novices: Luna suggests using a contour two to three shades darker than your foundation.) 

“With that contour, you’re going to create an L-shaped line from the tragus of the ear, along the cheekbone and down towards the jawline,” she told The Post. 

On TikTok, Luna carefully walks her followers through her step-by-step buccal fat removal glam process.
On TikTok, Luna carefully walks her followers through her step-by-step buccal fat removal glam process.
TikTok/@ehlieluna

As an influencer, she follows a number of plastic surgeons on social media in order to stay up to date on the latest beauty trends, and turn them into makeup hacks for her audience.
As an influencer, she follows a number of plastic surgeons on social media in order to stay up to date on the latest beauty trends, and turn them into makeup hacks for her audience.
TikTok/@ehlieluna

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Luna enjoys teaching her over 24,600 followers how to revamp their looks with easy makeup tricks.
Luna enjoys teaching her over 24,600 followers how to revamp their looks with easy makeup tricks.
TikTok/@ehlieluna

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Next, Luna employs her Real Techniques Soft Sculpting Contour brush ($9.99), and gently dabs it along the “L” shape in order to soften the line. 

Then, the makeup mastermind adds a few swipes of her Kulfi Main Match concealer ($26) both above and below the contour. 

Luna uses her contour brush to blend the concealer into her skin before adding a touch of her Danessa Myricks Yummy Skin Serum foundation ($34) to create a seamless finish. 

To further enhance the design, she embellishes the curves of her nose and forehead with Saie Beauty Sun Melt bronzer ($32). A light dusting of the Laura Mercier translucent setting powder ($40) seals the deal. 

And for fun, she punctuates the primp with either a red or nude lip outline in MAC’s chestnut lip pencil ($21).

Luna has used makeup to transform her face to match the latest celebrity beauty trends for years.
Luna has used makeup to transform her face to match the latest celebrity beauty trends for years.
Ehlie Luna

“Being able to create the look myself is a great feeling,” gushed Luna. “You get to show up as your own masterpiece.” 

Face paint fanatic Nikkia Joy, from Melbourne, Australia, was nearly slack-jawed by her results after she vanished her buccal fat with the contouring trick. 

“Oh my God, it actually worked,” an impressed Joy exclaimed to her more than 561,600 TikTok devotees. “Look at the definition on this side of my face,” she added.

For Luna, using makeup as a quick, easy and blade-free substitute to surgery is empowering. 

“Having the power to change whatever you want to change [about your face] at home, and the ability to wash it off at the end of the night, is the best,” she said. “You get the look without going to the extreme of having your face permanently cut.”

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