I was so excited when a lovely reader asked me to do a post on strobing because it’s a makeup ‘trend’ which I LOVE and one of those reasons is because I know that anyone can try it without difficulty. Or any harsh streaks or muddy cheeks (i’m looking at you contouring!). As always when I do these kind of posts I have to say, I’m not an MUA nor have I had any master classes in strobing, this is just how I personally like to achieve the look. Strobing is basically intense highlighting, which means bringing features that we want to stand out forwards in a slightly over the top manner. As I do have medium/olive skin these products will work best with those of you who have the same, but I will try my best to recommend alternatives where I can and the whole technique can be replicated by everyone of course!
Personally when going for the stobing look I like to have a natural looking base so of course I opt for the Make Up For Ever Face & Body Foundation (reviewed). I like this because it’s not matte by any means, so all the extra highlight doesn’t look super harsh against my skin but at the same time it’s not so dewy that my whole face ends up looking sweaty. A drugstore alternative that I enjoy using is the Bourjois Happy Light (reviewed) again it has a nice amount of dewy whilst still looking rather natural and looks lovely on the skin!
Step 1: Cream/Liquid
It’s important to start with a liquid or cream base as this will be the primer for your highlight. It’ll ensure longevity and more importantly it will help to make your highlight really stand out. Start off with applying this to your cheekbones as you normally would, but extend the cream highlight a little lower down the cheek and a little higher up the cheekbone. Basically: highlight hardcore. Extend your highlight over the usual blush area to really emphasise the cheekbones. Also put some on the brow bone, bridge of the nose (tip of the nose if you want to make your nose appear shorter), cupids bow and anywhere else you want the light to shine on you. The beauty of cream products is that they’re very easy to blend so if you DO over apply it doesn’t matter too much as the warmth of your fingers can blend it all out again! I also pop some cream highlight just over the arch of my brow which I wouldn’t normally do with a powder, however the cream/liquid texture means it’ll look flattering.
1. Kiko Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter 100 Gold (
2. Topshop Glow in ‘Gleam’ (reviewed) or ‘Polished’ (£9.00) both of these shades are beautiful but if you’re a WOC especially you need gleam in your life, it is gorgeous! ‘Polished’ works well on light and medium skintones, it’s a pearly silver highlight with subtle pink undertones and it blends easily. This is more pigmented that the Kiko stick highligher and I opt for Polished most out of all of these when going for that intense highlight.
3. Mememe Beat The Blues - Oyster Gold (reviewed) (£5.95) There are two versions of this, but the gold shade is my absolute favourite and I love it. It looks super intense when straight out of the bottle but when blended out it becomes much more sheer and subtle. This isn’t the best of bases as cream products tend to work better, but it does the job with bringing light to the face.
4. Kroylan for Glossybox in Cashmere (£12.95) Although this looks more pink in the tub, when applied it translates as a pigmented silver/pearl shade which I would really recommend for those of you with lighter skintones. It has a gorgeous slightly gloss like finish which catches the light beautifully and it’s a more subtle version of the limited edition topshop polished, if you can’t get your hands on that.
Step 2: Basic Highlight
This is the step most of you probably do on a regular basis, taking a subtle highlight shade of your choice, grab a thicker fan brush - my favourite is the Ecotools Deluxe Fan Brush (£4.48) and apply a decent amount to the cheekbones first. Then taking a smaller fluffy brush, apply the same highlighter to the nose, under the brow bone and cupids bow. As this will be on top of the cream base, your highlight will already look more intense! I especially love how this looks on the nose, when done precisely it gives the appearance of a much slimmer and short one, which once in a while is nice heh. Under the brow bone is also essential as it’ll brighten up your whole eye area and give the illusion of more space between the eyelid and brows - I’m not too sure why this looks so good but trust me it does.
1. The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer (
BUT side note I’ve dropped this twice now and fixed it using good old ‘surgical spirit’ an alternative to rubbing alcohol!
2. Accessorize Baked Bronzer Duo - Bondi shade 4 (reviewed) This one is vastly different to Mary-lou, it is a LOT more low key and more of a neutral shade rather than golden/white, however I wanted to add this in here because I think its a great highlight for those of you who shy away from the stuff. Okay Iqra, why would anyone who shys away from highlight be reading your post on strobing?? Well I think there are people who don’t know how to highlight or what magical effect it can have on your makeup and they don’t want a pricy intense highlight so here is an option for them ^_^ Also I quite like using this on work days, it’s not in your face but it does the job - it adds some highlight in a more understated way and even when you’re strobing, for step two this still works! I can’t find a link for this online but I bought it from my local accessorize store - however I would recommend baked highlighters in general.
Okay ladies stay with me here, just one more step left to go (kind of!)
Step 3: the INTENSE stuff
Okay so now you’ve got your (slightly extra) highlight on, you gotta step it up a couple of notches and putting the STROBE into the process! This bit involves taking a smaller brush (I have this thin fan brush from a set I got from ebay) loading it up with gold/intense highlight of choice and then spritzing it with a facial spray such as the Mario Badascu facial spray. A golden highlighter WET will instantly enhance the pigment and really make your features stand out. Taking the thin fan brush, apply it on the high points of the cheekbones, gently down the bridge of the nose and the end of it, under the brow bone and if you want to go all out brush some of the cupids bow too. With the cheekbones and the brow bone, imagine them connecting in a sort of C shape and the make sure you intensely apply it to that C in particular. The reason I like to have a bit more precision on this step is because I love how the light first hits the golden intense highlight and then continues to the base we created in step one and two - this is what makes your features looks sharper, longer, wider, whatever you’re trying to achieve with the highlight, step three is like the icing on the glowy cake!
1. Kiko wet and dry eyeshadow 208 (
2. Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Highlighter (£21) this is the most yummy looking highlighter in my stash and also a perfect match for warm/olive skintones. It’s a more orange based gold shade than the other two and for this one I actually prefer using it dry on a more dense brush which picks up more product.
3. NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Jubilation (£30) the gold shade in this is EVERYTHING for strobing for you medium skin toned ladies out there!! A true gold which looks gorgeous when applied wet, it catches the light beautifully truly defining the features you’re highlighting. The peach shade is beautiful but much better for an everyday type of highlight as it’s quite similar to my skintone making it very subtle.
The final step is to firstly spritzing the Mario Badescu Facial Spray on the strobed areas directly. This takes away any sort of powdery appearance and also intensifies the highlight of course! Secondly I have been loving the Kiko Long Lasting Stick in 28 which is a nude/brightening shade for the inner-corner as a base and also along the first half of the lower lashline. I’ll add whichever highlighter I’m using in step 3 on top of this on the inner-corner, making my eyes look brighter and bigger!
A lot of people say you shouldn’t contour when strobing because the whole point is that your highlight should be so intense you have no need for that definition from a shadow tone - but we make our own ‘rules’ in the makeup world! Personally I skip the full face contour but I do add a little bit to the cheekbones and to the sides of the nose - purely because when you add so much highlight to the nose it’ll inevitably look wider so its necessary to add bit more dimension. However I skip adding any contour to the temples or the chin area, which allows the focus of the makeup to be on the gorgeous glowing cheeks and brow bone area. I also apply less blush, but I can’t just skip it altogether because that feels unnatural to me! Just a small amount, right above the contour line so it doesn’t interfere with za highlight.
Now that was a very long blog post so a big well done you if you got to this part!! I know it sounds complicated but I promise it’s not at all, this is pretty simple and only takes a couple of steps to achieve - unlike a full on contour! As you can tell I am loving the whole idea of going crazy with highlight, it makes such a huge difference to the face try it, I’m sure you’ll agree ^_^
Have you tried this strobing trend? Do you like it?
Thank-you for reading ♥