Why Strobing & Highlighting Are Not The Same

by Jessica Willingham

It's not quite the roll-on glitter body lotion of yesteryear, but extreme glow, or "strobing," is the new en vogue routine. But is strobing just highlighting? Here's the difference. First, let's start from the beginning. Contouring and highlighting are techniques that have always been utilized within the makeup industry. However, only recently have those outside of Hollywood been let in on the secret, thanks to YouTube makeup and beauty vloggers and more diverse, affordable product launches from both top and drugstore brands.

So now that everyone can get their hands on the same highlighting and strobing products, it all comes down to style. How you want to wear your highlight defines whether or not you're "highlighting" or "strobing." Both techniques have highlight basically everywhere — the tops of your cheekbones, the brow bone and above the eyebrow, the bridge of your nose, your cupid's bow, and chin. Go ahead and bathe yourself in it. The main difference is that highlighting is usually paired with contouring, while strobing is highlight that stands alone and typically has a very dewy finish thanks to setting sprays, moisturizer or serum mixed into the foundation, or cream products.

Think of it this way: Highlighting is contour's best boo thing, while strobing flies solo.

If you aren't sure what style is best for you, or even where to start, try a multi-purpose palette that allows you to explore with both highlight and contour shades. If you find out contouring and highlighting isn't for you and strobing is more your style, you can still use the matte contour shades as eyeshadow. Here are a few of my favorite contour palettes to help you determine whether you should highlight or strobe.

1. Too Faced Cocoa Contour Chiseled to Perfection Palette

Too Faced Cocoa Contour Chiseled to Perfection, $40.00,

This palette allows you to play with various levels of contouring and highlighting, or you can simply strobe and use the matte shades for eyeshadow.

2. Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette

Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette, $32.00,

A pink highlight is perfect for pale skin, or giving someone that fresh-out-of-the-sun glow.

3. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, $62.00,

If you think strobing is your jam, these creamy and bendable highlights are perfect.

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