Guide: Mastering the Art of Strobing
For a while, thanks to the Kardashians, the spotlight was on the art of contouring. Now meet its easier-to-achieve opposite – strobing.
The term “strobing” may sound like it belongs to the world of stage lights, EDM and interior design but it has a revered spot in the makeup routines of those in the know.
Strobing is, simply put, the exact opposite of contouring. While contouring makes use of shading (with a darker makeup palette) to define parts of your face like the nose bridge and cheekbones, strobing plays with light reflection to do the same job. And it’s easier to achieve since you can’t go very wrong with layering a skin-toned or lighter shade of makeup with some form of iridescence.
Pearlyn Tham, contributing editor of L’Officiel Singapore brings us her first-hand experience here.
“Strobing is suitable for all skin tones, it’s about layering products to get the spotlight effect,” explained Beno Lim, senior artist at M.A.C. “Contouring, on the other hand, can look dated and unflattering in the daytime when there’s strong sunlight. And it can look bad if you don’t know how to blend darker shades well.”
In fact, the makeup brand even has a product made for the strobing trend, aptly named Strobe Cream. Beno likes using this over a matte-finish cream or liquid foundation and tapping it lightly on the temples, between the brows, on the cupid’s bow and just below the lower lip. “You want a dewy, youthful glow, not an oily shine, and Strobe Cream helps to make your nose bridge or cheekbones look sharper,” Beno said.
He used the Strobe Cream on one half of my face, gently patting and dabbing it on my temple and below my brow bone. When he was done, I could see that the side of my face that he had worked on looked more defined and even more dewy. My tired-looking eye also appeared perkier. He added that if you do not have a product like the Strobe Cream, you can also experiment with a light-colored shimmery highlighter powder or a nude eyeshadow.
Makeup experts from three other brands I spoke to – Make Up For Ever, Make Up Store and Nars – also suggested doing strobing on the T-zone, the centre of the forehead and on the middle of the eyelids.
At Nars, the signature makeup technique is highlighting, particularly the higher planes of the face where light normally hits, said Julyen Loo, Nars trainer and lead artist. “For us, highlighting can be done by anyone every day to achieve a natural glow and eliminate skin dullness.”
Don’t overdo things
Lily Goh, makeup artist at Make Up Store, said that using iridescent or shimmery makeup to emphasise certain parts of the face works nicely for those with flatter features or those with smaller face contours. But she cautioned against overly enhancing the features.
“If you apply too much of the product or spread it over too wide an area on your face, it can look disproportionate. Also, using too much product can give you oily-looking skin instead, which is why you should always use rolling or dabbing movements to apply a strobing product, and avoid stroking it on.”
Make Up For Ever’s national education manager for Singapore, Erika Saenz, shared that the brand’s founder Dany Sanz loves using light, and not shadows, to sculpt the face.
Erika’s advice for first-timers: “Using the correct foundation base is important. Use a strobing powder over a powder foundation or a cream or liquid strobing product with a cream or liquid foundation. Choose a semi-matte finish in the daytime and a more intense shimmer finish for evenings or special occasions. If you like the look of illuminated skin, strobing will benefit you.”
Text by Pearlyn Tham
This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.