If you're beauty-obsessed and have an Instagram account, you've probably seen the hashtag #strobing a lot in the past few weeks. “Strobing,” which is essentially highlighting to the max, is a makeup technique that creates a “healthy glow at the highest voltage,” to use the words of professional makeup artist, Jorjee Douglass.
According to Douglass, a “strobed” face is achieved by applying highlighter where the sun would naturally hit your face — including the bridge of the nose, tip of the chin, center of the forehead, cupid's bow, brow bones, and cheekbones. The process can even begin under your foundation with a radiance-boosting primer or a very emollient moisturizer.
Some have dismissed it as another marketing ploy for contouring — but strobing is actually the opposite of that. “Contouring is adding lowlights and shadows to your face by using a bronzer that's a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone,” says Douglass. “Strobing, however, is focusing on the light.”
And while those who contour their face typically also highlight it, those who strobe often skip the bronzing step and let the highlighter alone define their features. “Strobing has absolutely less margin for error than contouring does,” says professional makeup artist Wayne Goss, who has a video on his YouTube channel where you can see the technique in action.
Goss emphasizes the importance of only highlighting the areas you want to be more prominent, because (duh) it will bring more attention to them. And be sure to keep your skin tone in mind when choosing a shade or the effect can be jarring. For pale skin, Goss recommends using a highlighter with light pink undertones. For medium and medium-deep skin, Goss says gold-based products are the way to go. And those with dark skin tones should look for highlighters with a burnt orange or burgundy color to them.
Liquid and cream highlighters are the most popular formulas for strobing since they create a super-dewy effect. (Just apply them with your fingers, then blend with a fluffy brush.) Goss is a fan of Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfectors which come in a variety of shades —including pink, gold, and burgundy. Powders are are better for those with oily skin, says Douglass, who recommends Youngblood's Mineral Radiance Mineral Bronzer in Sundance.
“There are no 'trends',” says Goss, who explained that highlighting techniques like this have been used for years. But, it's a great way to enhance that summer glow you've already got going on — and break out of your summer makeup rut. “It makes you feel pretty,” Douglass says. “And if you're subtle about it, it creates a mysterious glow.”