The definitive guide to strobing

The definitive guide to strobing

Glow getter

Text: Sandy Young

Love that subtle, illuminated look everyone is sporting? Makeup artist Cindy Goh shares her tips and tricks for getting your strobe game on

The most modern way to wear makeup today is strobing. Also called the new contouring, strobing is a technique that focuses on sculpting the face with light. Similar to how an architect designs windows to draw in light, strobing draws light onto key facial points, dressing the skin in a luminous veil.

Taking a cue from the pros, Buro breaks it down with makeup artist Cindy Goh, as she shares her makeup artistry and techniques. Here's strobing done right — complete with our it list of the best products, tools and application tips.

Gigi Hadid

Build your glow from the base up. Always begin by prepping the skin with the correct moisturisers before strobing or foundation. "I love the dewy look that creates a youthful glow on [the] skin," asserts makeup artist, Cindy Goh, "Strobing enhances the features of a face and is definitely easier to achieve than contouring."

For the ultimate quick-fix, opt for multifunctional products such as M.A.C Strobe Cream, or Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant-Glow which both redefine skincare as makeup. These dream creams brighten and clarify lacklustre complexions and give dull or tired skin a wake-up call with a boost of antioxidants, including green tea and gingko leaf respectively.

Pro Tip: Liquid or cream formulas are preferred for a skin-like finish and blendability. Using light, tapping motions, blend and build the product onto these major facial points: along the temples, the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose and in the middle of the chin.

The difference between strobing and highlighting is that the latter focuses on adding a light-reflective layer as a finishing touch. This often sits on the surface of the skin, and can look artificial. Strobing involves a more holistic technique that requires layering several highlighting products in harmony to create a cohesive look.

Consider the way light interacts with the skin. Look for textures such as liquids and creams that help to attract light: think sheen, instead of sparkle. Skip the heavy contouring (hello Kylie Jenner!) and work with radiance enhancing products to define and sculpt your face instead.

Pro Tip: For a-lit-from-within glow, Goh prefers to use a damp sponge or fingers for seamless application. Dior Glow Maximizer Primer and NARS Illuminator in Copacabana are her go-tos for a customisable glow, which can be applied under, over, or mixed into foundation for added radiance.

Barbara Palvin

Select the right shade according to your skin tone to help sculpt the face with the most natural light. Think of strobing as you would when selecting a foundation shade — instead of covering the skin, you are drawing light to it. Don't be afraid to play with textures and layer products for a multi-faceted glow.

Pro tip: To commission a convincing glow, Armani Fluid Sheer 07 is perfect for fair skin tones with its pink and champagne hues. While the limited-edition Tom Ford Moodlight Skin Illuminating Powder Duo fits the bill for medium to dark complexions, which suit gold or terracotta undertones best.

There are occasions where you might prefer to tone down the shine. Perhaps you're living in a hot and humid climate, or want something more subtle and office-appropriate. Being discerning about textures and product placement are simple techniques to try out the strobing trend for those who are reluctant to go overboard.

To tone it down, use only one type of highlighter — as opposed to layering multiple product — and avoid areas such as the forehead and the chin. Dusting a lightweight finishing powder with a fan brush, such as NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder, or the trifecta of light-diffusing shades in the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, help to maintain a subtle radiance while avoiding an oil slick effect.

Pro tip: For a satin-matte finish, combination to oily skin types should opt for a powder highlighter, instead of liquid or cream formulas. 

Jourdan Dunn

For the woman who believes that luminous skin is the best accessory, consider layering a radiance boosting serum, such as SK-II Cellumination Essence EX, which helps to illuminate skin from the inside for a youthful and radiant complexion to complete your look.

To amplify the strobing effect, use a cream highligher before foundation and layer it with a powder highlighter. The crème de la crème of highlighters, Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in 11 Pastel helps to create that coveted Korean celebrity glow, sans a trip to the dermatologist. You'll be all aglow before you can even utter Gangnam Style.

Pro tip: Try micro-strobing: often neglected areas such as the brow bone, the inner corners of the eyes, and the cupid's bow for an ultra-luxe finish. For those who want it all, RMS Beauty Living Luminizer is a multi-tasker that is nothing short of magic. With an ultra sheer formula infused with skin-loving coconut oil, rosemary extract and a handful of pure ingredients, this mini miracle worker imparts a sensuous glow.

Read more stories by Sandy Young here