Let's Talk About Strobing

Naaila Khan

The contouring trend isn't going away any time soon, but you know what we're really feeling at the moment? Dewy skin that looks like it's illuminated from within. Highlighting (or strobing, as it's also known), has been amassing tons of fans lately (look for #strobing on your Instagram to see some extreme examples), and for good reason; who doesn't want to look like they have a lighting team following them around at all times?

The best bit? It's not nearly as tough as its other half, contouring - all it takes is a few swipes of a shimmery, luminous powder or cream and you're good to go, as makeup artist Sabrina Suhail demonstrated recently. She's so gorgeous we asked if she'd model for us as well - turns out, she's a bit of a natural! 

Step 1: BASE + NOSE

Start by applying your base – foundation, BB cream, primer, concealer, whatever rocks your boat. It's important not to skip this step entirely because the highlighter needs something to grab on to. Sabrina's using the M.A.C Pigment in Melon.

“A highlighter with golden undertones works best for darker skin tones while a silvery one is great for lighter ones. If you’re in between, a mix of both is perfect,” says Sabrina. A tip for those dealing with more troubled skin: “Instead of a shiny highlighter, use a matte powder or eyeshadow a few shades lighter than your skin tone – it’ll give you a similar highlighted effect, but won’t make blemishes look more prominent.”

And if you’re wondering whether you should pick a powder or a cream formula, Sabrina has a rule of thumb. “Generally, powders work well for tropical climates because they won’t get greasy, and creams are good for winter or monsoon.”

Now dip the tip of a foundation brush into the highlighter and run it down the length of your nose, fanning at the tip so it doesn’t appear harsh. Blend it in a bit so it settles into the skin well.


Next, swipe the highlighter from the apples of the cheeks right up to the temples to accentuate the sides of your face. Blend, blend, blend – you don’t want streaks. (If you’re in the mood, you could add a touch of powder that's a few shades darker than your skin right below this for a subtle contour!)


For the forehead, a brush works better, so pat very little highlighter onto the centre and give it a quick buff. It's easy to go overboard here though, so be mindful!


With your fingers, touch a dot of the highlighter on the centre of your chin, on the cupid’s bow and just under your lower lip.


Now for one last touch: give your face a quick buff of blush going from the apples of the cheeks diagonally upwards into the hairline. It lends a healthy glow and makes for a flawless finish. If you’re not a big fan of blush however, or it’s OTT for the occasion, you could skip this step.

And with that, you’ve successfully nailed the art of strobing. We bet you're, um, beaming with pride – go show it off!

Model and makeup artist, Sabrina Suhail.

Photographed by Clint Soman.


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