What is strobing?

Do you want dewy, youthful and glowy skin? This is everything you need to know about the makeup technique called strobing.

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Strobing is a makeup technique where you layer highlighters and illuminators to enhance the luminosity of your skin, and you can use it in place of contouring. Instead of creating the illusion of shadows to define facial features, you bring light to the areas of your face that you want to stand out.

Strobing means using just highlighters. The results are more natural looking, and it's less time consuming. The aim behind the idea is to create the perfect dewy finish and to make people ask you what in the world you have done to get that glow.

How is strobing different to highlighting?

Both makeup techniques require the use of light-reflecting pigments to make the features of your face bright and shiny. You normally use highlighting in conjunction with a full face of bronzer, contour and blush. Strobing is essentially just using highlighters on their own, with no other techniques needed.

How to master strobing:

  1. Focus on your skincare. Strobing means highlighting facial features. And if you aren't happy with the way your skin looks, you may not like strobing. You want to prep your face and replenish its moisture levels. To ensure your base is smooth, bright and hydrated, we recommend investing in products infused with hyaluronic acid. You can check out our guide on glass skin, which is essentially smooth and poreless skin. It's exactly what's needed when strobing!
  2. Choose the right primer and foundation. There is no point in using any mattifying products because the goal is to shine! Use a hydrating primer and foundation to prep the skin for strobing and enhance your glow from within. You can even mix illuminating liquid products into your foundation to really let your skin do the talking.
  3. Light it up. Ladies and gents, it's time to strobe. You can opt for a liquid, cream or powder highlight. You should use whatever works better for your skin type. Think about applying many light layers to build up the intensity. The areas you want to focus on are the tops of the cheekbones, the tip of the nose, the brow bone, the Cupid's bow, the inner corners of the eyes, the temples and the middle of your chin. Note: If you have oily skin, you can skip the forehead and the chin.
  4. Complement it with the right makeup. Strobing doesn't match well against a dark smokey eye. To really enhance the natural makeup look, keep the rest of your makeup minimal. Add some coats of mascara, sweep a flush of colour on the cheeks and finish off with a moisturising lip balm or lip gloss. Note: To avoid looking too shiny, make sure all the others powders you use are matte (i.e. your setting powder, blush and bronzer).

What shade should you use?

It can be hard to find a shade of highlighter that best suits your skin tone. Check out our guide below so you can find the perfect colour that will give you a natural, radiant glow from within.

Image Source: Instagram user thebalm

If you have fair skin tones, we recommend using a white champagne shade - something like The Balm's Mary Lou Manizer would work great.

You can shop it from the following retailers:

Image Source: Instagram user maccosmeticsaustralia

If you have light-medium skin tones, you may want to opt for a pink champagne shade. We recommend MAC Cosmetics Mineralise Skin Finish in Soft & Gentle.

You can shop it from the following retailers:

Image Source: Instagram user beccacosmetics

If you have medium/olive skin tones, you should use a golden shade. We love BECCA's Champagne Pop.

You can shop it from the following retailers:

Image Source: Instagram user beautybakeriemakeup

If you have deeper skin tones, you should use a terracotta shade. Try something like Beauty Bakerie's So Icy Illuminator in the shade 'Mini'.

You can shop it from the following retailers:

  • Beauty Bakerie

Strobing inspiration pictures:

Image Source: Instagram user gabrielzamora

Image Source: Instagram user desiperkins

Image Source: Instagram user jaclynhill

Image Source: Instagram user nikkietutorials

Image Source: Instagram user katy

Image Source: Instagram user jordynwoods

Some of our favourite strobing products:

FENTY BEAUTY Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo
FENTY BEAUTY Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo


BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter
BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter


Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight

Adore Beauty

For more products to help you nail the strobing technique, we recommend checking out these retailers:

More beauty news

Image Source: Instagram user iluvsarahii

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