Is Strobing Better Than Contouring? The Two Techniques Are Very Different

Thanks to the Kardashians, contouring was completely ruling the beauty scene — until strobing came along, that is. One of the biggest new trends of 2015 and 2016, strobing focuses on dewy faces, facilitated by the judicious use of various forms of highlighting products. So, here's the big question: Is strobing better than contouring?

Of course, when it comes down to it, neither face-sculpting trend is "better" than the other — it's all a matter of personal preference. They're two very different looks, and you can rock whichever one suits your fancy. Love the ultra-chiseled Kate Moss look? Contouring might well be your weapon of choice. Love Lupita Nyong'o's lit-from-within glam? You might want to give strobing the old college try.

Bottom line is, contouring focuses on creating shadows (juxtaposed with highlights, of course), while strobing puts all of the emphasis on manipulating light — when you think about it, it's kind of like Maleficent vs. Sleeping Beauty, or the Evil Queen vs. Snow White, right? Both have ultra-on-point beauty games, but they're rocking totally different looks — you can either go with the #wokeuplikethis dewy princess look, or the "I can turn myself into a dragon at will" evil queen look.

Ken Ishii/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

That said, strobing (which is basically a fancy word for highlighting) does offer a few unique advantages over contouring — chief of which is the fact that it's easier. The art of contouring can be tough to master, since a heavy hand can lead to a harsh and unnatural look — British makeup artist Lisa Eldridge rather memorably referred to overdrawn contour stripes as "the two Snickers bars." Strobing, on the other hand, works primarily with more forgiving, shimmery products. Of course, it's still possible to go overboard, but in general, the ethereal Benefit High Beam is never going to pose as much of a challenge as a whole palette of matte bronzers.

Benefit High Beam, $29.99, Amazon

Strobing's a fun way to draw attention to your bone structure, and it's a great way to get in on the whole dewy skin trend. Interested in giving it a try? Here are a few products to get you started.

1. RMS Living Luminizer

RMS Living Luminizer, $38, Amazon

2. NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator

NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator, $7, Amazon

3. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, $62, Sephora

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Images: Courtesy Brands