The trick to illusion makeup is something most beauty consumers in 2018 are rather comfortable with: highlighting and contouring. “It’s the key to all of my illusions,” says Vancouver-based makeup artist Mimi Choi. “Stark highlighting and contouring creates the illusion of depth and lifting.”  At the Make Up For Ever Pro Loft in Toronto, Choi broke down the steps to creating her iconic illusion mask, as shown in the video below.

Start by creating a rough outline of the mask with a light eyeliner, so it can be easily covered later. Once you’re happy with the shape of the mask, start creating the shadow. Choi uses Make Up For Ever Artist Colour Shadow in Black ($22). “It’s important that it’s matte—no glitter—like shadows in real life,” says Choi. Then, use a foundation to highlight the edge of the mask. “Anything that is shaded in darker will appear to be ‘behind’ the mask, and anything illuminated will appear to be coming out,” explains Choi. For a starker highlight, Choi uses a white eyeliner. (She likes the Aqua XL liners.) 

The biggest mistake Choi sees people making with illusion makeup is creating shadows that are too dark. “It becomes cartoon-like if you use only black,” she explains. “Only use it when necessary; otherwise, use matte greys and browns.” Another key: blending. Choi uses a lip brush because of the precision it offers. Watch her work her magic, below. 

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