So What is Makeup Strobing?
Just as we get our head around the Kardashian contouring. Along comes another makeup craze: Strobing. Sounds a bit kinky right? Hardly. It’s not exactly a new phenomenon either. It’s actually an old technique that makeup artists and photographers alike have been doing without even realising. It’s pretty much a standard technique in makeup that has just been given a new name.
Strobing aka reverse contouring, although it’s demanding a whole blog to its self, has been done by everyone who wants that youthful glow with applying makeup. You know when you’re short on time and you do your “5 minute” makeup application? Or when you’re applying the “dewy glow” look, or the “natural shimmer” look. That’s strobing. We may even cut out the quick powder chiselling under the cheeks.
It’s simply applying a dewy highlighter on the higher points of the face just as we would in the usual highlighting and contouring. So that the focus is on the eyes and centre of the face. It’s really manipulating light so that it reflects off the higher points of your face. Hence strobing, because it looks as if a strobe light is being shone right at you. Or in simpler terms, it looks as if you are on a very hot beach somewhere and the sun is shining right above your head. Well we can’t always be on the beach but at least we can feel like we are.
The technique plays up the use of sheer highlighting without the use of contouring or the need to apply bronzer. It is actually quite popular with the French as they believe that you should keep it natural and not change too much about your face or shape.
Theoretically, it is actually a great idea. It uses the idea of highlighting without the need for contouring. Therefore illuminating the need for hacking and chiselling of the face; using makeup of course. You just have to overdo it on the highlighting so the eyes are automatically drawn to the centre of your face.
– Makes you look more youthful
– Quick and easy for when you’re short for time
– Anti-aging makeup look
– Emphasises the features of your face you want to show off although you do not get the chiselled Kim Kardashian look.
I wouldn’t exactly identify any disadvantages to strobing. Although a slight problem does lie in the fact that there is no shading and therefore there is no depth created: the face might look rounder and even a little plump. The extent will depend on your face shape and method of application. You could always personalise the application of the shimmer to suit you face shape to avoid the rounder look. Personally I prefer to use at least a little powder contouring on the cheeks. Just to balance things out a little and make the face that little bit more oval.
SMK top tip: A cheat method is to use blusher to “contour” the hollow of the cheeks and blend it upwards into the highlight.
Fact remains, contouring does take away the few pounds that the camera puts on. And no amount of strobing will illuminate the need to contour. Especially with cameras with automatic filters that can also make you a little rounder.
I’ve been doing it on my brides and photo shoots for years. It actually eliminates the need to do the full on Kardashian contouring. Although this does depend on the effect I want to achieve. Strobing or highlighting the higher points of the face and décolletage, brings out the natural glow and features automatically. Giving you a more youthful younger looking glow. However, strobing and contouring will remain the Ying and the Yang of makeup. But for now, let’s all carry on highlighting like we used to, but let’s now call it “strobing”!
Products to Use
Now the one product we are all familiar with, as professional makeup artists, is the Mac Strobe cream. Most likely because it has been named very aptly. That cream has also been on the market for a very long time. So can “strobing” be a new concept that will knock contouring off its pedestal? I seriously doubt it.
Mac Strobe cream can be worn by its self to give you that all over sheer glow. Or it can be concentrated on the higher points of the face to imitate a natural glowing effect. It’s all about the technique and what results you want from it. It hydrates your skin and gives your skin a natural looking dewiness. Another method is to wear on top of your foundation to top up your glow and radiance. All creamy illuminators can be applied this way.
Foundations to Use:
– Goergio Armani luminous silk foundation
– Illamasque foundation
– Makeup for Ever foundation
– Loreal pure silk foundation
The above foundations are just examples. For strobing, you can use anything with the word illuminate, highlight, dewy or glow in it. Any creamy, emollient based foundation will do. Just one rule remains though: champagne colours suit fairer skin and gold shimmers look good on olive and dark skin.
Get the Look
As always when applying makeup start with a freshly cleaned well moisturised face. You can’t imitate a glowing youthful complexion if you have poor skin. So use a good facial cleanser to really clean out those pores. Facial masks can really benefit this look.
SMK Top Tip: Apply moisturiser on top of your foundation to get that natural dewiness. This gives you a luminous glow without the need for contouring.
SMK Top Tip: Use two shades of foundation. A lighter one for the inner part of your face. This could be your winter foundation. A darker one for the outer part of your face. This would be your summer foundation. This will give you a natural porcelain glow rather than the artificial tanned looked.
SMK Top Tip: You could even use lips gloss to show off that shine! Rimmel lip glosses are good.
The next step is to know what highlighters to use and how to apply them.
1) You can either mix a dewy illuminator with your foundation or
2) You can apply the illuminator straight on the high points of you face before applying foundation.
3) Even apply the illuminator on the higher points after you’ve done the foundation.
Either way, remember to use a dewy foundation to bring this technique to life. Just try it out a few times to see which results suit you best. After all you don’t want it to look if all the makeup is melting down your face. The parts of the face you need to concentrate on are:
– Forehead/Temples – depending on your skin type you may want to avoid the forehead just in case it accentuates the oiliness.
– Bridge of your nose
– Cheek bones
– Cupids bow
Remember it’s about accentuating the features where the light would naturally hit your face.
– Apply strobe cream on the high points of your face.
– Apply foundation and concealer as you would.
– Add more of your chosen illuminator on cheek bones and t-zone.
– Apply blush
Finish off the look with a finely milled luminescent powder to set it all in place.
Will I be Swapping Contouring for Strobing?
In my video I do state that strobing can make you look rounder and may not be a good effect. However by the end of applying the strobing effect I absolutely loved it! I did not look like I had put on six pounds. The natural “beauty” was so effective I did not need the contouring. Of course I did cheat and apply the blush as contour. Applying it at an angle going up my cheeks towards the ears and temples. But that’s allowed right? Yes. Its makeup and there are no rules.
So my conclusion is that the strobe effect is great for that day time naturally glowing skin. I may want to tone down the glow for the wintery weather though. Else it will look unnatural. For evening I will add contour to for balance to counteract the dim lights. Overall I was very impressed with the final result.