For a few years now one of the biggest trends in makeup has been good contouring. It’s always been a staple in professional makeup artistry, but the high cheekbones and gorgeous jawlines of celebrity red carpet looks made it popular with makeup lovers everywhere. We’ve all spent time learning how to shadow and highlight our features to emphasize our cheekbones, influence our nose shapes, and make our jawlines look just right.
Like any trend, contouring has evolved over time. Just how high should your cheekbones be? Should the shadow be applied lightly for a subtle suggestion of contour, or darkened just a little to really make the facial structure pop? If you’ve been paying attention to the latest beauty buzz, however, you might have noticed that trends are actually steering away from a solid shadow. In fact, some makeup artists are ditching the shadow all together! Instead of contouring, beauty gurus have started “strobing.”
What is strobing?
Think strobing as just the highlighting part of the contouring process. Strobing is designed to emphasize your features without deepening other aspects of your face. Rather than giving you a prominent or chiseled look, strobing gives the impression of a dewy glow, like your skin is healthy and you’re feeling refreshed and awake.
What do you need?
We’ve already established what you don’t need, so put that darker shadow down for just a moment. So, what do you need for strobing? It’s actually really simple!
A brush: Any small to medium sized fluffy brush or fan brush will do. You want one that applies powder loosely or cream lightly so that the product doesn’t look too concentrated in one area. Flexible bristles are preferable to stiff ones. Don’t pick a brush that is too big, however, because you still want to be detailed about where you apply the highlight. You’re strobing certain features, not shimmering your entire face.
A highlighting product: Just like with contouring, you’ll need a highlighting powder or cream that is slightly lighter than your regular foundation. Some makeup artists use a matte highlight, but the most popular method of strobing is to use one with a subtle shimmer and a slightly pink undertone. The shimmer is what gives you a dewy glow. Beauty gurus debate about whether cream or powder is best for strobing, so try both and see which you prefer!
How to strobe
The main goal with strobing is to subtly highlight the parts of your face where light would naturally hit if you were standing near a window, for example. The places that you strobe are just like those that you’d highlight if you were contouring:
- The bridge of your nose
- The ridges of your cheekbones
- The center of your forehead
- The cupid’s bow of your top lip
- The brow bone just underneath your eyebrow
- The very inner corner of your eye by your tear duct
Apply your highlight to these features and blend it well. If you’ve chosen powder for a lighter look, make sure you’ve used enough to be effective but not so much that you sparkle. If you’ve chosen a cream highlight, be extra diligent with blending.
For a longer lasting glow, set your cream highlight with a light dusting of powder highlight in a suitable shade. This will stop the cream makeup from creasing.
Keep these tricks in mind while you practice!
- If you’re worried about too much shimmer or you’re unsure about color-matching a highlight because of the pink undertone, mix it with a little bit of your regular foundation for a less drastic contrast.
- Packing on too much shimmer in one place is risky, so start highlighting sparingly and work in layers. You can always add more. If you apply too much, however, you might end up looking like you’re sweating instead of glowing (particularly in the center of your forehead)!
- Blend well. Just like with contouring you want to avoid looking like you have stripes of war paint all over your face!
Strobing has swept the Internet quickly! YouTube tutorials have already perfected the technique and makeup lovers are showing off their beautiful glowing looks all over Instagram. Even if strobing is not for you, knowing how to achieve this popular and trendy effect may be exactly what your clients want! So keep practicing your skills and stay updated on the latest trends in your industry.