Make Up Strobing: New Name, Old Trick?

Is it worth the effort?

Make Up Strobing: New Name, Old Trick?

Ditch the contouring; strobing is a very simple street-ready makeup technique that looks better and takes way fewer products. | Beauty | Style | YummyMummyClub.ca

Many of you know I am the contributing Beauty Writer for City Style and Living Magazine.  Recently I was asked, by the editors of the publication what can be done to combat the very terrible trend in make up called contouring.  Here is my reply:

I am not a fan of contouring - unless you are being filmed, photographed or working on the stage contouring is never an appropriate technique for daily makeup.  Seriously stop!

Most people use contouring to create highlights and lowlights on the face in an effort to create the illusion of shape and define the angles of the face - what usually  happens is a mask like effect which, up close, looks like clown make up.

There is a better way to create glow, definition and shape - and it is the more appropriate technique for daily wear, street ready make up: Strobing - or really strategic highlighting.  

Think of this as the reverse contour. Highlighting creates lots of glow while accenting the areas of the face which will give an illusion of shape and define the natural angles. Strobing is also a lot easier to achieve and requires fewer products. In fact, its so easy to do, it is almost foolproof.

To create this effect you only need the following items:


1.  Great moisturizer (not optional because any dryness on the skin will detract from the strobe and create a dry dull patch in the overall effect).

2.  Unfrosted highlighter - make sure it is correct for your skin tone.

  • Fair Skin - Champagne Tones
  • Medium Skin - Pink Tones
  • Olive Skin - Bronze Tones
  • Deep Skin - Terracotta Tones

3.  Matte finishing powder - in the same tone as the highlighter.

To create a strobe effect:


1.  Prep the skin with moisturizer - make sure the skin is well hydrated before attempting to strobe. I like to apply moisturizer at least 10 minutes before I begin the Strobe application.  Ensuring the skin is well hydrated will prevent the effect from looking irregular and flat.  This is the most important step in strobing!

2.  Catch the light - apply the highlighter on the cheekbones, at the  temples, down the bridge of the nose, under arch of the brow, inside the inner corner of the eyes and in the cupid’s bow of the lip. These are the places the face naturally reflects light and applying highlighter here will enhance the face’s natural features. Concentrate the highlighter in these areas only - do not spread out, up or away from these areas.  Strobing works only if the areas are highlights - blending across the entire face just makes it look shiny and greasy.

3.  Overlay a dusting of a matching setting powder - blending any hard lines of highlighter as the powder is distributed across the face.  Don’t use the powder like a foundation - it’s not about creating coverage, it’s about creating a contrast of matte against the light, an effect of dimension to make the Strobe stand out.

My favourite Strobe products:



  • Daniel Thompson Beauty The Supreme Skin Oil $198 for 30mL
  • Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil  $295 for 20mL
  • Guerlain Abeille Royale Face Treatment Oil  $185 for 20mL

Strobing effect make up technique | YummyMummyClub.ca

Strobing effect make up technique | YummyMummyClub.ca


  • Daniel Thompson Beauty Absolute Light $64 for 2.3g
  • Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat $50 for 2mL
  • By Terry Touche Veloutee $82 for 2mL

Strobing effect make up technique | YummyMummyClub.ca

Strobing effect make up technique | YummyMummyClub.ca

Matte Setting Powder

  • Daniel Thompson Beauty Complexion $78 for 13g
  • Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer $115 for 11g
  • Burberry Nude Glow Powder $70 for 8g

Strobing effect make up technique | YummyMummyClub.ca

Strobing effect make up technique | YummyMummyClub.ca

 RELATED: How YOU Can Achieve Adele's Perfect Eyeliner Look