What in the world is ‘strobing’ and why is it all over your Instagram feed? We’re pretty sure J.Lo’s been doing it for years, but the beauty world finally has a name for that dewy, ultra-highlighted look. The aim is to make your skin as glowy as possible by mimicking the appearance of light on the high points of your face. We can't get enough of this look, so we tapped Sephora makeup artist, Josh Stark, to give us all his strobing secrets.
Your glow starts with your skin.
According to Josh, the first step should always be skincare. “Strobing is meant to be very dewy and bright, and you need to have well-moisturized skin to achieve the look,” he explains. Be sure to prep your face with moisturizer and eye cream before applying any highlighting products. This will help soften the appearance of your skin, and keep your makeup looking fresh throughout the day.
Know your undertone.
It’s important to determine your skin’s undertone before choosing a highlight shade. Josh’s favourite trick for this is as easy as looking at the veins in your arms. If your veins are green, you most likely have warm/yellow undertones. If they're blue, you're more likely to have cool/pink undertones. For lighter skin, champagne shades complement warm undertones, and pink highlights typically work best with cool undertones. Those with darker skin should choose a more golden highlight for warm undertones, or a copper highlight for cool undertones.
Powder or cream?
When choosing between powder or cream formulas, consider your skin type. Josh recommends powder for oily skin, since it won't slide around throughout the day. If you have dry skin, cream products might be a better choice as they will apply more smoothly, and won't dry out the skin further. “Don’t be afraid to use both, as layering your products is just going to make your glow that much more intense and improve the longevity of the products,” says Stark.
Cream products should always be applied right after your foundation, while your skin is still tacky. If you’re using powder strobing products, set the face with a regular powder first and then apply the powder highlight. “Never apply cream over powder,” says Stark. Doing this will look “cakey” and create unwanted texture on the skin.
Focus the product where the light hits your face.
“Strobing is actually the opposite of contouring – it helps enhance your features by creating the illusion of light on specific areas,” says Josh. Everyone wants radiant, supermodel cheekbones, so be sure to apply the product across the tops of the cheeks where the light would naturally hit. You can also apply the highlight to the bridge of your nose and on the tip, to give the illusion of a button nose. Josh also suggests applying the highlight to your cupid’s bow with your ring finger, to make your lips appear more full.
Less is more.
"Keep in mind that Instagram artists have filters and apply their makeup for photography, not necessarily for the everyday person,” says Stark. You want to achieve a lit-from-within-glow, not the ‘disco ball’ look. Blend out the edges and dust off any excess so the product fades into your skin.
Don’t forget your setting spray.
For the perfect finishing touch, try choosing setting spray over setting powder to keep the skin looking fresh and dewy. “Setting spray will help to set your makeup so it lasts all day,” says Josh. “If you ever go too crazy with a powder highlight, setting spray will help tone it down, and turn you into a glowing goddess.”
Check out the video above to see Josh work his strobing magic.
Visit Sephora St. Vital Centre to pick up any of the products mentioned, or to get a tutorial from Josh (or one of their other great makeup artists!):
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (Vanilla): Sephora, $36
Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer: Sephora, $31
Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector (Champagne Pop): Sephora, $46
Beauty Blender: Sephora, $28
Sephora Pro Flawless Airbrush #56: Sephora, $40