Aug 16, 2022

Strobing: What is it and how do you do it?

Find out what strobing is and how to do it.

Multiple readers have reached out to us about strobing, asking questions about what it is, how you do it, how it's different from highlighting, and how it's different from contouring. So we got in touch with some beauty community friends to give y'all answers! 

We spoke with makeup experts Alyssia Chang and Sarah Roberts. Alyssia (sounds like Alicia) founded Prevail Beauty in 2019 and has been a makeup artist in the beauty industry for over 12 years.Sarah is a former beauty store owner and current skincare blogger at A Beauty Edit. We hope you enjoy their tips!

What is strobing?

Alyssia: Strobing is the ultimate way of layering and placing light reflective makeup on the skin and eye areas to accentuate your best features! It is a great way to add dimension 

Sarah: It is a technique that only uses highlighters to accentuate your features instead of using bronzer or other darker colors. It's about creating an extreme luminous glow to the parts of your face that would naturally be kissed by the sun, like your cheekbones, brow bones, cupid's bow, chin, and nose. It is said to give your face a more natural and youthful look.

How do you strobe?

Alyssia: To start, you'll need to choose a powder and cream highlighter that suits your skin tone. If you have fair skin, look for a highlighter with a pink or peachy undertone. For medium skin, go for a golden or champagne hue. And if you have dark skin, opt for a rich, bronze shade. 

Next, use the cream highlighter with your ring finger on the upper cheek bones in a "C" like motion, down the center of the nose, chin, and above the brow where light naturally bounces off the face (if you don't know where this is, use a direct light on the face to see where light hits the face). 

Once you've applied your highlighter, use a precise face blending brush to apply the reflective powder product just above your cheeks. Then use a pencil brush to apply a concentrated amount on the tip of the nose (blend out with your fingers), under the brow where the brow bone is, inner eye corners, and cupids bow above the lips. 

Strobing vs highlighting: what's the difference?

Alyssia: Strobing is the extreme version of the highlighting technique. Strobing is where you use multiple layers of cream and/or powder illuminating products on the face to create a high reflective, glowing, lifting look. Highlighting on the face is when you use either reflective, matte, or satin matte face products to focus on lifting the face and creating contrast between light and dark. 

Sarah: For one, strobing is a technique that uses light to create the illusion of a more defined face, while highlighting brings attention to certain areas of the face by making them appear brighter. Strobing also tends to be more natural-looking than highlighting, as it doesn't rely on harsh lines or stark contrasts. It's a technique that stands alone and is all about creating the look of a radiant glow from within, whereas highlighting is more about brightening certain features you want to pop.

Contouring vs strobing - what's the difference?

Alyssia: Contouring involves using a darker shade of makeup to create shadows and depth, strobing is all about using light-reflective products to accentuate your best features and make the face shine with a gorgeous sheen. 

What beauty supplies do you need for strobing? 

Alyssia: Cream and powder highlighting makeup products that suit your skin tone. A soft yet firm face blending brush, like the MORPHE R36 - Pointed Highlighter Brush to apply a concentrated amount of the powder product and a pencil eye brush, MAC 219 Pencil Eye Brush to apply the powder in precise areas of the face, nose, and eye area. 

Sarah: In order to strobe, or create the illusion of a more youthful and lifted appearance, you will need a few key beauty supplies. First, you will need an effective moisturizer to ensure proper hydration of the skin and a concealer for covering any imperfections. A liquid or creamy highlighter of your choice in a color that is one to two shades lighter than your skin tone and a powder highlighter to make the glow more intense. You will also need a foundation or BB cream that provides coverage without looking cakey. Finally, you will need a setting powder to help keep your makeup in place.

What are your strobing pro tips? 

Alyssia:  Take a ring light and have it directly in front of the face. Rotate your head left to right to see the areas that light hits and use those spots to apply the makeup. 

 If you have a bump or ridge on your nose bridge that you do not like, do not apply highlighter on that area as it will illuminate and heighten the bump. Instead apply just a bit of highlighting product above the nose bridge between the eyebrows and just the tip of the nose to lift the nose tip upwards. 

Don't just follow the cupid's bow area to strobe, use the pencil brush and apply like a "U" like shape on the cupids bow and on the texture, raised lines to lift the lips upwards!

Sarah: Make sure that your skin is prepped and primed before you begin. This will help create a smooth, even canvas to work with. Next, you'll want to choose the right products for you. A good highlighter is essential for creating that dewy, glowy look - so be sure to do your research. 


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