About Strobing

In the past month the hottest beauty buzzword (and oh how I despise those) has most definitely been strobing. If you haven’t yet figured out what it’s about, I’m here to break it down for you in simple terms.

Strobing is essentially reverse-contouring that’s achieved by exaggerated highlighter placement. So instead of creating shadows, you just highlight to the max. The aim is to accentuate certain areas by making them ultra-dewy and highlighted, thereby still creating contours and ‘hiding’ other areas without actually doing anything to them.


Strobing (Image: Pinterest via Popsugar)


Image: Pinterest via Makeup Lovers Unite.


Image: Pinterest via Mode City

If you’re keen on a little strobing yourself, I’d say the key is in layering products and aiming for the right areas. Go for the bonier and curved areas, as they’re where the light would naturally hit you anyway – cheekbones, temples, forehead (not the whole forehead, but rather an upside down triangle in the centre), the length of your nose, tip of your chin and cupid’s bow (although that sometimes just looks like upper lip sweat to me).

As for products, I like to start layering under foundation already – something like Soap & Glory’s Hocus Focus or MAC Strobe Cream/Strobe Liquid (see more on both of those here). I’ll then apply a not-too-heavy foundation and buff it in really well, and dab one of those same products on again, or MAC Cream Color Base in Shell – cream formulas tend to look more dewy.

If I’m feeling frisky I’ll then take a super fluffy brush and gently ‘set’ the already highlighted areas with a slightly shimmery highlighting powder – it sits well on the cream highlighters and makes it last all night (or day, if you’re so inclined).

I feel a more natural makeup look goes best with strobing or any kind of excessive highlighting, so I’ll keep the rest of my face fairly toned down. Definitely avoid bronzer and if you’re going for blush, keep it subtle – you don’t want to detract from your ethereal glow after all.

While strobing might require a practice run or two, I think it’s less intimidating than contouring. Make sure your products are dewy and glowy rather than shimmery and glittery, and be mindful of which areas you apply it to. You will very literally highlight pores, breakouts, fine lines or any other imperfections so stick to skin that has fairly even texture.

Have you tried strobing? Are we just giving good old highlighting a new name? Let me know what you think.

C x



  1. July 15, 2015 / 7:31 am

    I am liking this idea. I have never been good at contouring and have given up trying but I am a fan of the dewy look so I will give this a go

    • Chantelle Bester
      July 15, 2015 / 8:48 am

      Do it!

  2. mercialeen
    July 15, 2015 / 8:29 am

    What type of product would you recommend for slightly older skin. naturally everyone thinks strobing is only for young women

    • Chantelle Bester
      July 15, 2015 / 8:48 am

      Nope, I think it’s flattering on all skin types, just pay attention to where you’re applying the products – i.e. not directly over fine lines, enlarged pores or skin that shows sagging as it would exaggerate those things. I’d use these same products, otherwise just a highlighting powder if you’re more comfortable with that.

      • mercialeen
        July 15, 2015 / 2:21 pm

        Thank you, quite keen to try

  3. July 15, 2015 / 8:56 am

    Wow! Uhmmm… I’m not sure how I feel about this… that second picture makes me want to use some blotting paper on her shiny spots.
    I guess it’s worth a try but possibly in summer, I think that Winter may be a little too ‘grey’ for this look.

  4. July 15, 2015 / 9:14 am

    This sounds like fun. I would try it at least once just for kicks. I love trying new things (although it does backfire sometimes…but you live and learn). I’ve seen it mentioned but never bothered to read more about it until now 🙂

  5. Hanneri
    July 15, 2015 / 1:45 pm

    I quite like the idea of strobing. I have already tried it once or twice and it is definitely much easier than contouring. Now that my skin has finally migrated from being oily to dry/normal I am all about looking dewy 😉 I have added Mac Cream Color Base in Shell to my shopping list as I definitely prefer cream products on my drier skin. Strobing gives me a good excuse to add some more products to my extensive makeup stash…

  6. Marné
    July 15, 2015 / 1:57 pm

    Strobing is ninja-talk to me, I haven’t a clue. And in my mind, highlighting means going over text with a bright colour. Lol, thank you for broadening my vocabulary, hopefully I’ll sound smarter next time I open my mouth 🙂

  7. Hanneri
    July 15, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    Over the past two years my skin has become dry after always having been oily combination. I am therefore all for the dewy look and I have started trying the strobing technique. I have added the Mac color base to my shopping list as I prefer cream products now that my skin is dry. It looks as if I might have to add one or two products to my makeup stash. I am already using the Mac strobe liquid and love the dewy look I get when I mix it with my foundation.

  8. Mare
    November 5, 2015 / 10:05 pm

    This look is not for everyone. Just being honest. If you have skin as smooth as a baby’s rear end go for it by all means. If you have troubled skin with visible pores or acne this is not for u because it will accentuate it and reveal everything. But look is beautiful if done right. ?

    • Chantelle Bester
      November 6, 2015 / 10:53 am

      Definitely agree – I have relatively smooth skin and even so I’m careful to stick to the outer cheek area for example, as the pores are slightly larger closer to my nose. But I do love a bit of a glow!

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