Strobing Makeup Tutorial – 5 Easy Steps With Pictures

Time to prepare your answer for the "What's the secret of your illuminating face?" question.

Reviewed by Barbara Ritzman, Beauty Specialist Barbara Ritzman Barbara RitzmanBeauty Specialist facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (Mass Communication & Media Studies) Esha Saxena MA (Mass Communication & Media Studies) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) Joyce Joyson MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) linkedin_icon
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If you fancy a soft and dewy complexion, strobing is one makeup technique you absolutely need to try out. But first, let’s get down to the basics and understand what this trend is all about. Strobing is a highlighting technique that is used to create an illuminated complexion. There’s no contouring or bronzing involved, and it’s all about that glow! It focuses on creating healthy-looking skin rather than the sculpted look that contouring gives you. If you think strobing is your jam, read on because we’ve put together a simple tutorial along with everything you need to know about the strobe effect.

Strobing Makeup Tutorial

Generally, you ‘strobe’ your face using liquid or cream highlighters. You simply accentuate the areas of your face that bounce off light, such as your brow bones, the top of your cheekbones, and your cupid’s bow.

Miranda Mendelson, a beauty and lifestyle YouTuber, provides a comprehensive guide to strobing. The tutorial delves into the technique of strobing, emphasizing a natural, skin-like finish. She also discusses the difference between strobing and highlighting, stating, “Strobing is another term for highlighting…. The main difference if someone says they are gonna to be strobing vs. highlight their face is that highlighting is more often used to complement contouring…. Now if someone says they are going to be strobing, that’s basically just doing the highlighting part of highlighting and contouring. There definitely is a huge difference in the look of highlighting and contouring and just strobing…. [strobing] is more of a natural look.” (i)

Just a heads-up – strobing is not suitable for oily skin. However, if you still want to give it a shot, make sure you apply a mattifying primer before doing your base makeup.

protip_icon Trivia
During the 1940s and 1950s, makeup artists often utilized Vaseline to enhance the features of Hollywood starlets, including iconic figures like Marilyn Monroe.

[ Read: 10 Best Primers For Oily Skin ]

What You Need For Your Strobe Kit

  • Hydrating moisturizer
  • Primer
  • BB cream or foundation
  • Setting powder
  • Liquid illuminating highlighter
  • Powder highlighter
  • Makeup brushes

Step By Step Tutorial With Pictures

Step 1: Prep Your Skin

Step 1 of strobing makeup
Image: Youtube

The first thing you want to do is cleanse and moisturize your face thoroughly. Apply a pea-sized amount of primer to even out your skin tone and eradicate any redness.

Out of 3,978 surveyed US adults, the data on face moisturizer usage reveals that only 49% use it every day, 33% use it but not daily, and 17% do not use moisturizer on their face. Moisturizers provide essential hydration to the skin, which makes it look and feel healthier.

Step 2: Do Your Base

Step 2 of strobing makeup
Image: Youtube

Apply a lightweight, dewy finish foundation or a BB cream using a rounded foundation brush. The trick here is to give your skin a light wash of color, rather than a full coverage finish. You can also add some concealer if you want to cover any under eye circles and blemishes. Set your foundation with a little bit of powder, so your base does not move through the day.

Tip: You can apply your best strobe cream instead of a BB cream or foundation, or you can mix it with either of the products for added glow.

Step 3: Strobe Away!

Step 3 of strobing makeup
Image: Youtube

This is where the real strobing happens. Use a liquid illuminator, like the All Over Glow Luminizer Gel from Jelly Pong Pong, and apply it on the top of your cheekbones, down the bridge, and at the tip of your nose. Blend it out with a makeup sponge.

protip_icon Pro Tip
When strobing your nose, apply the highlighter in thin vertical lines to make your nose appear more symmetrical and streamlined.

Tip: You can also dab some illuminator on areas like your forehead and chin for an even glow.

Step 4: Add Some Powder Highlight

Step 4 of strobing makeup
Image: Youtube

Use a tapered highlighter brush to go over the areas you applied the liquid illuminator on. Add some to your cupid’s bow, above your eyebrows, your chin, and down the bridge of your nose. Finally, layer on the final highlighter – M.A.C Soft & Gentle Highlighter is a great choice – with a fan brush. Make sure you add some to the inner corners of your eyes.

Step 5: Do Your Lips

Step 5 of strobing makeup
Image: Youtube

Apply a creme-sheen lipstick and top it up with a bit of lip gloss.

Here’s the final look!

Here’s the final look! - Strobing
Image: Youtube

If you’re trying the strobing technique for the first time, remember – practice makes perfect. You might not get it right the first time, but you actually get better with time. We’ve listed out a bunch of easy tips that will come in handy for all you strobing enthusiasts.

Tips: The Strobing Makeup Tips You Need To Know

  • Find The Right Shade For You

Strobing is basically highlighting, so choose a color that is paler than your skin.

For light to medium skin, a pale pearl would work best. For dark skin, use a golden, rose gold, or bronze hue.

  • Choose An Appropriate Finish

Choose your finish wisely, keeping in mind the time of the day. Use soft shimmers and mattes during the day and go crazy with glitter in the evenings.

  • Follow A Face Map When Strobing

You only want to strobe the high points of your face. These include your cheekbones, brow bones, above the arches of your brows, your cupid’s bow, chin, and the bridge of your nose.

  • Follow The Three Golden Steps

Moisturize your skin, apply a clean foundation base, and brighten up your features using a liquid illuminator or a highlighting stick. That’s basically all you need to do!

The right tips will help you ace strobing like a pro. But is there a difference between strobing and highlighting? Find out below.

Difference Between Strobing And Highlighting

There is a lot of debate regarding the difference between strobing and highlighting. While strobing is a highlighting technique itself, there are some features that make it subtly different from traditional highlighting.

  • Traditional highlighting is carried out with contouring, whereas strobing just uses a highlighter to get a dewy finish.
  • Strobing usually uses illuminating highlighter or serums incorporated into the foundation for a contoured and vibrant look without actually defining the features, whereas traditional highlight uses darker and lighter shades to get a chiseled look.
  • Strobing aims to create a radiant and illuminated look, whereas highlighting focuses on accentuating certain areas of the face.

Infographic: The Basics Of Strobing Like A Pro

Strobing gives that perfect illuminating vibe to your face and makes your skin glowy. But there are certain key points to consider while going for this makeup technique. We have included some tips that you can follow to ace the art of strobing and look like a celebrity on the red carpet. Check out the infographic below for more information.

the basics of strobing like a pro [infographic]
Image: Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Since the glazed donut look is trending worldwide, strobing should be your go-to makeup technique. This look is something to die for as it is dewy and glowy like a dream. And all the ladies with oily skin, do not be disheartened that strobing is not suitable for your skin type. Remember, a mattifying primer is always here for your rescue. So, do not hold yourself back from creating a naturally glowing look with the help of strobing. Now, go on and prepare yourself to shine like never before!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a strobing blush?

It is a soft, powdery, and highlighting blush that gives a radiant blush to the skin.

Can I use strobe cream daily?

Yes, you can use it every day before makeup. However, it does not replace a moisturizer.

Can I strobe if I have mature skin?

Yes, but strobe carefully and lightly and use products that suit your skin texture. Strobing can give you a youthful and healthy glow by highlighting certain areas of your face. However, you should avoid using highlighters with chunky glitter or overly shimmery textures, as they can settle into fine lines and wrinkles, making them more noticeable. Remember that matte makeup often emphasizes fine lines and wrinkles, which is why strobing makeup can be a good alternative.

What is the difference between strobing and contouring?

Strobing highlights the high points of your face. It is done in such a manner that you do not need contour to make your cheekbones pop. Instead of using powders and shadows darker than the actual skin tone, strobing employs a dewy foundation, highlighter, and shimmery blushes under the eyes and on the cheekbones, brow bone, nose bridge, and temples to make the skin look radiant. Contouring, on the other hand, is an advanced technique in which you use bronzer and highlighter to shade the hollows of your cheeks, hairline, jawline, and sides of the nose and highlight the apples of your cheeks and the nose bridge.


Ever wondered what makes Kim Kardashian glow on her usual days? It’s strobing – that’s highlighting with a twist. If you’re up for a beauty adventure and ready to shine, let this video be your guide. Tap play to know more.

Personal Experience: Source

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Barbara Ritzman
Barbara RitzmanBeauty Specialist
Barbara Ritzman is a beauty and skin care specialist and the founder of Barbie's Beauty Bits. With over 16 years of hands-on experience as a beauty editor, she has collaborated with a multitude of makeup, skin care, and cosmetic brands.

Read full bio of Barbara Ritzman
Esha Saxena
Esha SaxenaBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Esha Saxena is a writer and journalist with over 3 years of experience. She holds a master’s degree in media and mass communication from St. Francis College for Women, Hyderabad, and firmly believes that makeup is nothing less than art.

Read full bio of Esha Saxena
Shatabdi Bhattacharya
Shatabdi BhattacharyaAssociate Editor
Shatabdi is an associate editor and an alumnus of Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata, where she honed her skills and developed a deep understanding of the world of literature and expression. She has worked with various organizations and websites operating in different industries, ranging from education to lifestyle, showing her adaptability and drive to learn.

Read full bio of Shatabdi Bhattacharya
Joyce Joyson
Joyce JoysonBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Joyce Joyson is a beauty and lifestyle writer with over a year of experience crafting short-form content for the beauty, fashion, and lifestyle niches. She has a triple majors bachelor’s degree in History, Political Science, and Geography from IIS University and a master’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kristu Jayanti College.

Read full bio of Joyce Joyson