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What Is Strobing and How Is It Different From Highlighting?

Face Makeup

What Is Strobing and How Is It Different From Highlighting? What Is Strobing and How Is It Different From Highlighting? What Is Strobing and How Is It Different From Highlighting?

You finally mastered the art of contouring for chiseled-looking cheekbones, only to have a new makeup trend called strobing come along. What is strobing makeup, you ask? Much like contouring, it’s a technique used to help give shape to your face—only for this method, you can set aside your bronzer and rely solely on highlighter. Named after strobe lights, the strobing makeup trend is all about creating the illusion of a camera flash going off in your face, which highlights all your high points and brings the focus to your best features. When it comes to what highlighter to use, let your skin tone be your guide. Here, we share our strobing product picks for every skin tone and show you how to strobe for the ultimate illuminated makeup look.

WHAT DOES STROBING MEAN?

Lights, camera, strobing—in case you missed it, strobing is all about creating the appearance of a camera flash going off against your skin. The technique involves using highlighter to define and draw attention to key spots, emphasizing your best features with an overall radiant appearance. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STROBING AND HIGHLIGHTING?

While strobing and highlighting may sound similar, there’s one main difference. Highlighting, which you may be more familiar with, is typically paired with contouring. Together, this pairing creates shadows and the illusion of light to define your features. Strobing, on the other hand, is a technique typically done without contouring, resulting in a glowing, dewy complexion that still offers definition.

You can also think of strobing as one type of highlighting. There are a number of different ways to highlight, and strobing is just one technique you can try.

THE BEST STROBING MAKEUP FOR FAIR SKIN

Look for highlighters with pearl and champagne tones. Pale gold, rose gold, and light pink tones will complement your skin tone beautifully for a natural look. Another tip: Look for a semi-matte highlighter, as too much shimmer can make you look a bit like an ice princess. But hey, if you’re into that, go all out with a pearlescent sheen!

Product pick: L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator in Rose

THE BEST STROBING MAKEUP FOR MEDIUM SKIN

Beige and peach highlighters will be your best friends. The trick is to steer clear of overly pink undertones because they can look a bit unnatural against your skin tone.

Product pick: L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glow Amour Glow Boosting Drops in Golden Hour

THE BEST STROBING MAKEUP FOR OLIVE SKIN

It's all about coral. This pinkish-orange hue will flatter the yellow undertones in your skin and make for a stunning finish to your look.

Product pick: L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Shimmerista Highlighting Powder in Sunlight

THE BEST STROBING MAKEUP FOR DARK SKIN

Go for the gold! This shimmering, precious metal-inspired color will enhance your dark complexion for an otherworldly appeal that will turn heads left and right.

Product pick: L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator in Golden

HOW TO STROBE IN 6 STEPS

Now that you know the color of highlighter that will flatter your skin tone best, it’s time to bring this look to life. Follow along!

STEP #1: MOISTURIZE

Before diving into your soon-to-be favorite makeup trend, go through your skin care routine. The last step should be hydrating your skin with a water-based moisturizer, like the L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Normal/Oily SkinL’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Normal/Dry Skin, or L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Extra Dry Skin.

STEP #2: PRIME

Create a smooth base for makeup application by applying a primer, like the L’Oréal Paris Studio Secrets™ Professional Magic Perfecting Base, all over your face or to targeted areas like under your eyes, your nose and cheeks, and your T-zone.

STEP #3: COLOR CORRECT

Dealing with redness or dark circles? Use one of the pastel color-correcting concealers from the L’Oréal Paris True Match Color Correcting Crayon. Green can help neutralize redness, while peach can help disguise dark circles. Want more details? Here’s Your Guide to Color Correcting.

STEP #4: APPLY FOUNDATION

Since you’ll be layering on quite a bit of highlighter, use a buildable foundation, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24HR Fresh Wear Foundation, Lightweight.

STEP #5: CONCEAL ANY IMPERFECTIONS

Strobing will bring a lot of attention to your complexion, which means you'll want to make sure that any imperfections are expertly covered. Use a full coverage concealer, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer Waterproof, Full Coverage, which is available in 25 shades.

STEP #6: STROBE!

Now that you’ve laid down your base, it’s time to define your features. Remember to pick a highlighter that is complementary to your skin tone. Apply your highlight of choice to your cheekbones, brow bone, the inner corners of your eyes, the tip of your nose, your cupid’s bow, and the center of your chin. Blend it all out and voila!

And just like that, you’ll be in the spotlight all day long! Next up: Learn another popular face makeup technique. Click through for our article, What Is Baking Makeup and How to Do It Like the Pros.