How To Strobe, The Makeup Alternative To Contouring
If you're into cosmetics, you're probably already aware that contouring (aka a sculpted look) is out and strobing is in. But exactly what is this new highlighting technique? I'll break down how to strobe, what you tools and products you need, and why you're going to love this (almost) effortless beauty technique. To help me out, I spoke with Los Angeles celebrity make-up artist Anthony Nguyen, who says, "there are tons of makeup techniques that get recycled from generation to generation, and somehow get coined a new word and all of a sudden it's a 'new' trend. 'Strobing' is one of them."
OK, but how does one strobe? "Strobing," explains Nguyen, is basically highlighting your skin without the contour to give you a naturally lit from within look. It's supposed to look effortless, fresh, and a few steps shy of being too shiny. Imagine being at the beach, and you've got a fresh sun-kissed look with a natural glow from the dewy air. That's the look you want, and that's what strobing's all about! The look isn't about looking matte, it's a look that embraces radiance, shine, and still being able to see your skin."
Here's a step-by-step guide to strobing, with some of Nguyen's favorite products. Oh, and since my combination skin seemed perfect for this technique, I tried it out myself and added a couple of products that worked best for me. Here we go, people. Let's strobe.
1. Step 1: Matte The Areas Of Your Face You Don't Want Strobed
You want to matte the areas you don't want emphasized, such as your forehead, chin and the tip of your nose—otherwise, "your whole face will just look like an oil slick," says Nguyen. I like oil absorbing blotting papers. (Who doesn't?)
2. Apply A Dewy Concealer To The Areas You'll Be Strobing
For its creamy texture, I love Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. Pros apply with a brush, but I use my fingers because the warmth from my body helps melt the product even more, so it glides onto my skin and looks flawless.
3. Choose A Highlighter For Your Skin Tone
Check out Cosmopolitan's guide to choosing the right highlighter for your skin tone. If you're not sure what your skin tone is, pop into Sephora or visit your make-up counter. An expert will help you. I'm a light/medium, so the best highlihgter for me is a pink champagne.
4. Apply Highlighter To Places Light Hits Your Face
Nguyen says to "use a cream based highlighter on the high planes of your face to create a natural glow: cheekbones, nose, above the lip, and forehead. Use your finger, and gently tap the product onto your skin." One of his favorite products right now is Koh Gen Do Liquid Illuminator for its translucent coverage.
5. Blend Out The Highlights
Like I noted earlier, I like using my fingers, but you can also try a tool to help with the blending process. You're strobing, people!
6. Skip The Powder
I know this goes against everything you've done to your face since high school, but powder will dry up the dewy look you're trying to achieve. But because dewy can turn into sweaty quickly, keep those oil blotters with you at all times (that's why I love the compact in step #1). Or, you can use a setting spray to deflect shine.
7. Do Your Lips
Now that you have your face on, you want to complement the look. Apply lip color to the "cupid's bow" or the 'V' of your lips, Cosmopolitan's guide to strobing suggests. Use a lip brush or your fingers, and keep the look glossy or high sheen as opposed to matte. I use Nars' The Multiple, which comes in 11 shades and — wait for it — could work for your highlighter, too (see step #4). I might be a beauty junkie, but I also like a beauty bargain.
Nars The Multiple ($39)
8. Keep Eyes Simple
Because the look you're going for is that sun-kissed beach look, you don't want a winged or smokey eye. If you feel like adding a bit of sheen to your lids, go for it, but my preference is to just do mascara. My technique is to apply three coats of mascara really quickly before each coat has a chance to dry. And I'm always trying out different mascaras.
9. Clean Up
I definitely color outside the box, and it's a rare occasion when I manage not to get mascara all over my lids. But these handy Q-tips Precision Tips are my solution. You don't want to detract from your dewy look with messy peepers.
Q-tip Precision Tips ($8.99 for a 3-pack)
Tada! Healthy sheen has been achieved.