Strobing 101

July 10th, 2015

July 10th, 2015

You can put down your contour kits, there’s a new trend in town!  After a year of Kim K-inspired chiselled cheeks dominating the beauty press and social media, make-up artists are leading the movement away from such obvious structuring.  The new buzzword on the block is strobing – which is, essentially, a fancy term for highlighting.  All the benefits of contouring on your bone structure, with half the fuss – we’re sold!  Strobing is a bit more heavy-handed than a subtle dusting of highlighter, but here at Warpaint we’ve gathered some useful tips, tricks and product picks to help you rock a gorgeous glow.

First of all, prep skin with a hydrating moisturiser or base to perk up dull skin and ensure it looks juicy, never ‘sweaty’.  Something like Clarins HydraQuench Cream (£35) is ideal – they have dedicated formulas catering for all skin types which plump up skin with hyaluronic acid, Katafray extract and Arctic Cloudberry.


For a dewy base look, from which you can really ramp up the glow factor, it’s worth looking overseas.  Sephora’s shipping opens many doors to UK-based artists, including the much-lauded Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer ($32) which unfortunately hasn’t made its way into Debenhams yet.  Cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, and silicone-free, it’s a fantastic base for really prepping the skin for make-up.  Like a good night’s sleep in a tube, skin looks more radiant thanks to ingredients including coconut water and caffeine.


Next, be aware of your context – is this a day look?  Use a light touch.  Glamourous editorial?  Break out every shimmer powder you possess!  Strobing can be as easy to go overboard on as contouring if you’re not careful.  For a subtle look, use a liquid or cream texture which can be blended into your foundation seamlessly.  RMS Beauty Living Luminizer (£30) is a classic – Kenneth Soh has raved about it, saying it “surpassed everything I’ve expected from an organic range!  This beautiful radiant illuminator is based on coconut and Castor oil and is so light and illuminating without any stickiness or oiliness.”


It’s worth bearing skintones in mind when choosing a highlighter – subtle differences in undertones can make a world of difference.  Fair skin suits pale champagne tones, while light-medium can carry off a more pink-based champagne.  Olive skin wows with golden tones, and darker shades look fantastic with burnished terracotta tones.  Benefit’s classic High Beam and Sun Beam (£19.50 each) are perfect pairings for light-medium and olive skintones, and their petite, sturdy packaging means they slip easily into any kit.



Oily skins need not shy away from the strobing trend, for fear of looking oil-slicked rather than lit-from-within.  Keep your other base textures matte – foundation, powder and blusher – so that just a touch of highlighter has an extra kick against the mattified base.  Keep the placement on the high parts of the face, where light would normally catch (tops of cheekbones, browbone, bridge of nose and cupid’s bow) and avoid placing too close to imperfections or enlarged pores.  Draw attention to a client’s bone structure with finely-milled powder – we love the Glo & Ray Luminescent Light Loose Setting Powder (£14), which works as both a setting powder and a subtle highlight. It’s ideal for a daytime look or weddings, and is difficult to overdo!


Similarly subtle, and ideal for older skin types, are the coveted Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders (£38).  With their success morphing into a range of luminescent blushers and now bronzers, these pans of perfection come in a range of shades which should work on most skin tones.  Some are clearly highlight shades, but other deeper colours work as an all-over setting powder to give a beautiful lit-from-within glow.


On a budget?  You can’t go wrong with a champagne-toned shimmer stick.  There’s the Beautiful Bronze Glow Stick from the new Sunkissed beauty range which has enough warmth in it to avoid being too icy and blends brilliantly.  Best of all it costs just £3, available from Primark!  Max Factor’s CC Sticks (£8.99) have a couple of highlighter shades, including a champagne option – we liked the precision of the more dainty stick, ideal for inner corners of the eye.  No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter (£9.95) is another chunky, chubby stick with a rounded top, which can be swiped over the top of cheekbones and blended out in seconds.


If you’re on the hunt for an eye-catching glow, you need MAC’s Strobe Cream (£24.50).  Whether used under or on top of make-up, the namesake of the trend is the undisputed favourite of so many artists.  Another classic is the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, which comes in the traditional liquid version (£33), a powder compact (£30), and the new Poured set cream formula.  Currently only available in the US, we’re anxiously waiting to trial the Poured version of this kit staple.


Finally, for an editorial or high fashion ultra-glow, you can always trust Kryolan to have your back.  Their HD Living Colour (£11.95) isn’t for the faint hearted, but just a tiny amount of these microfine pigments patted onto cheekbones can create swoon-worthy sheen.  The Satin Powders (£6.50) are usually used as eyeshadows but they also work perfectly on the high points of the face with over 200 colours available!


For more fantastic highlighter and illuminator options, check out our feature Let There Be Light!



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By Deborah Murtha

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