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You Have to Try Joan Smalls’ Next-Level Contouring Trick Before Summer Is Over

Joan Smalls at National Rum Day celebration with Bacardi Premium Portfolio, Havana Club rum, Santa Teresa 1796, Banks rum, and the Facundo Rum Collection Courtesy Bacardi

Models are always great sources of why-didn’t-I-think-of-that beauty hacks because of all of their time spent on set with hairstylists and makeup artists, but Joan Smalls just blew our minds with her genius tips and tricks. At the Broken Shaker in NYC for Bacardi National Rum Day on Thursday, August 16, the Puerto Rican beauty told Us about her brilliant contouring trick (it involves sunscreen!), the difference between a cat eye and a kitten eye and her favorite cocktail — of the hair oil variety!

When it comes to her beach beauty routine, someone once told Smalls to treat sunscreen application like contouring. Since even the most mattifying SPF formulas have a bit of a sheen, the sunscreen has an immediate highlighter-like effect on the areas your apply it (bridge of the nose, apples of the cheeks, shoulders, etc.). But it also has longer-term contouring benefits as well.

“It makes the skin lighter because you’re not tanning as much there,” she says of the sun-induced contouring hack, before adding that she always makes sure to be wearing at least SPF 30 (and ideally SPF 50!) for adequate protection.

But her beauty knowledge extends far beyond the beach. Back in 2011, she became the first Latina Estée Lauder ambassador, and she’s been working with the brand ever since. Her favorite product from the line is the Little Black Liner because it includes a precision felt point on one side and a flat, thicker tip on the other meaning the options are endless.

“I always love a kitten eye or a very dramatic cat eye, so that’s my perfect to-go tool,” she says. “I always put it in my purse if I’m traveling. It’s like, ‘cat eye and go.’”

So what is a “kitten” eye, exactly? “A kitten eye is when you carry it from half of your lid out instead of bringing it all the way in,” she explains. “It’s like you’re extending the eye. It’s like, you know, a meow instead of a roar.”

On the hair front, Smalls is known to play with different hair lengths and styles, but she says she learned a long time ago that you have to keep tresses properly hydrated.

“If you have texture to your hair, moisturize,” she says. “I love putting coconut oil throughout.” She also mixes her own blend of coconut oil, castor oil, argan oil and tea tree oil because the combo is both nourishing and clarifying. “The oils all do something different,” she explains. “It’s great for girls with textured or curly hair.”

The concoction is also great for conditioning brows and lashes and taking off makeup — basically, not unlike Smalls herself, it does it all.

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