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Strobing is just the latest beauty technique to go blazing across YouTube and social media. The new hack is also a red-carpet game-changer for the likes of Rosie Huntington–Whiteley, Jessica Alba and Cameron Diaz. But while it sounds more like a jittery dance move saved for raves in an abandoned warehouse, it’s actually just the opposite of the equally popular (and Kardashian-approved) makeup trend: contouring.
“Strobing is taking highlighting to the extreme and highlighting the higher points of the face,” says Vanessa Eckles, senior artist for Hourglass Beauty. “It’s the opposite of contouring.”
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The Los Angeles-based beauty brand was built on creating luminous skin and the Ambient Lighting Palette ($58) is their hero product beloved by mega celeb makeup artists Fiona Stiles, Lauren Andersen, Monika Blunder and Rachel Goodwin who use the powder to create a lit-from-within glow.
Since strobing can get extreme, it’s important to use a product that is subtle and light reflecting. How and where you apply it is also imperative.
“You can really use any highlighter,” says Eckles about getting the strobe effect. “Apply a highlighting powder with a blush or bronzer brush. For more intensity, get the brush damp and then apply.”
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Artists, including Eckles, have been using the Ambient Palette because light travels through the powder, creating a diffuse glow on the high points of the face. Plus, it has three levels of intensity to subtly highlight certain areas, so skin is illuminated, not two-toned.
To start strobing for real life, begin with the Dim Light of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, and apply with the Ambient brush ($35) all over the “interior” sections of the face (forehead, cheeks, nose, chin).
Next, apply Incandescent Light on the high points of the cheekbone, slightly over the apples of the cheeks and above the brow (creating a letter “C”).
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Still using Incandescent Light, make a line down from the nose to the chin starting on the bridge of the nose, moving above and under the lip and finally on the chin.
To create a stronger strobing effect, dampen the brush before applying Incandescent Light on top of all points where product was previously applied (with the exception of the apples of the cheeks), while also adding under the brow and slightly under the cheekbone
Finally, using the third shade Radiant Light, apply where you would want a touch more warmth (i.e. hairline, under the cheekbone, jaw line, etc.), creating the number 3 on each side of the face.
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Boom. The end result works like an in person Instagram filter for the face — selfie-ready no matter what kind of light you wander into.
But just as contouring can potentially make the face look over bronzed or hollow, Eckles warns not to over strobe and be left with a super shiny “Vaseline face.”
“Using cream highlighter everywhere can be overkill,” she says. “Avoid products that have too much shimmer and glitter and especially avoid products with chunky glitter.”
Though it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if the next huge beauty trend to take YouTube did involve chunky glitter.
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