Meet "Strobing," the Anti-Contouring Beauty Trick You Need to Know Now

Channel your inner French girl.

Needless to say—contouring as we know it today, despite its face-narrowing, cheekbone-carving powers, is not for everyone. And if you're looking to buck the airbrushed trend once and for all, the new strobing trend is a game-changer. It's kind of like contouring's au naturale French cousin (opens in new tab).

Here's the gist: Instead of painterly bronzing and blending, strobing seeks to define your features by using light—and light alone. The makeup technique will help you channel your inner disco ball by letting your born-with-it (or, erm, enhanced) radiance shine through with reflective products.

"It's about using reflection on high planes and points of the face that catch the light to create spotlit areas," Alex Box, creative director of Illamasqua, told (opens in new tab) the London Evening Standard. "It's a much more forgiving way to bring focus and shape to the face."

But while it sounds like it's totally less maintenance than contouring, don't be fooled—this look requires healthy, naturally-glowing skin as its base, which, as you know, calls for a disciplined skincare regimen (opens in new tab) (cleansing and moisturizing daily, you know the drill) and an antioxidant-rich diet (opens in new tab). Plus, if you want to take it a step further, bi-weekly brightening face masks you can try at home are a necessary extravagance.

From there, you can correct and enhance your complexion beginning with a hydrating serum for a dewy canvas, iridescent tinted moisturizer for light coverage (MAC Strobe Cream (opens in new tab) is the gold standard), highlighter to brighten/accentuate your features, and a luminescent powder to set the look.

As far as application, here are two tried-and-true tips for a strobe-like effect:

1) Fuse your skincare and makeup together as much possible for a dewy, wet-shine finish. For example, if you're going to use concealer, add moisturizer to it.

2) Add shine to the areas of your face that catch light naturally, like your cheekbones, bridge of the nose, or temples.

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Lauren Valenti
Lauren Valenti

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.