Is Strobing The New Contouring?

Strobing is everywhere: It's constantly making headlines, it's always making appearances on your favorite celebs' Instagram accounts, and beauty companies the world over have taken the trend and ran with it. So, can we make it official? Is strobing the new contouring?

In some ways, yes... but when you really look at the two trends, they're not actually all that different — after all, both techniques are designed to draw attention to the cheekbones, and both use highlighters to do so. In fact, the defining difference between the two schools of thought is the mere presence or absence of a bronzer. While contouring utilizes a matte bronzer in contrasting conjunction with highlighter to emphasize bone structure, strobing just uses the latter. When finished, contouring tends to give a more sculpted look — strobing, on the other hand, leans towards a youthful, glowy look.


The absence of dark contour shades is part of strobing's accessibility — it calls for less expertise (not to mention less products). Shimmery, light-catching products tend to be a whole lot more forgiving than matte contour shades, which makes the trick a little easier to master. Plus, there's no need to worry that you've painted enough bronzer on your cheeks to reach Oliver! street urchin-levels of muddiness, and there's less risk of a general makeup malfunction mishap (you should, however, watch out for flashback). And, there's always the fact that you'll be able to fake a little of Lupita Nyong'o's enviable glow. Win-win, right?

Rich Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

So, with all that in mind, yes, strobing has, in many ways, become the new contouring — but then again, it's not exactly a new trend. When it really comes down to it, strobing is basically plain old-fashioned highlighting — just repackaged with an exciting name. After all, it works in the same way as highlighting — you just apply the luminizer of your choice to your c-zone (the c-shaped area arcing around your temple to the tops of your cheekbones), nose bridge, brow bones, Cupid's bow, and chin.

Highlighting, strobing, contouring — it all leads to fun face painting time, no? Plus, it gives you an excuse to splurge on new products — starting with this cult-favorite luminizer from RMS:

RMS Living Luminizer, $38,

Even if you're a contouring addict, you might as well give it a go, right?

Image: Dayeong's Beauty Drawing/YouTube