Contouring is OUT! Strobing is the new contouring! No, wait, now strobing is out, striping is in! Striping is the new contouring! Or is striping the new strobing?
I can't keep up.
Oh, BEAUTY. It's as exciting as it is senile sometimes. I love trends, because whether it's a product or a technique, there's always something new to try out. At the same time, it can be a little exhausting to keep up with it all. Whether you're contouring so hard that you're reshaping your whole face, or not at all, I just say do whatever the hell makes you feel (and look) good.
I always kind of rolled my eyes at strobing because I had already been doing since I started doing makeup, it just didn't have a stupid name yet. For those of you who are unfamiliar, strobing is basically highlighting without contouring. Simple, right? It's a great way to get fresh, glowy skin, or a full out glam, flashbulb look.
Hourglass Cosmetics, who a lot of you already love, already has their Ambient Light collection which I LOVE. It consists of finishing powders to mimic the natural glow of ambient light, as well as blushes and bronzers in the same vein. And now, highlighting powders, which they're calling "Strobing Lighting Powder," which I guess was inevitable.
I've worked with the Ambient Light powder before and it's so good, ugh. But instead of just telling you about the products, why don't show you how I ~strobe~ using them.
Disclaimer: This is my highest of high beam techniques. The word "subtle" isn't exactly in my beauty vocab, but sometimes, a guy just wants to be HI-LIGHT-ED. So that's what we'll be doing today.
First, prime your face.
I used Too Faced's Hangover Replenishing Face Primer because the name is too real.
NEXT. So, there are a billion ways to highlight and, though this look is going to go off, I wanted to show you how you can do a more subtle, glowing from the inside sort of look to start off with.
What I love about highlighters is that there are a ton of different finishes you can choose from, depending on what you're going for. From tons of obvious shimmer, to a more diffused, barely-there sheen, a girl has options these days.
One way to make a highlighter with a ton of horsepower more wearable and versatile is to apply it under your foundation.
I'm not inventing anything new here as I'm definitely not the first to say this, and I'm not even sure where I learned it. I've narrowed it down to either this pretty girl I know on Facebook or the Kylie app. Regardless.
After I primed, I reached for the gleamiest, most reflective highlighter that I own, Benefit's High Beam.
I love it because you can make it as subtle or mean as you want, and when you really want to shine, it does all the work for you.
Highlight in all the places you normally would, as much as your little heart desires.
I layered that shit on, then tapped it around with a Beauty Blender.
High Beam is so gorgeous. It's cooperative and will go, and stay, exactly where you want it to. The only issue I ever have with it is that it's on the stickier side of liquid highlighters, which makes it a blessing and a curse. Because of this, I have to make sure the edges of my highlight are blended out so there are no hard lines. I do this with my finger, the original Beauty Blender.
Observe and admire your shine.
Next, apply your foundation. I used one of my favorites, Charlotte Tilbury's Light Wonder Foundation. It's the perfect sheer to medium coverage foundation, light enough to let your natural coloring show through, but pigmented enough to even tone and cover any problem areas. It's perfect for this strobing method because it's going to soften your highlight while still letting it glow through, making it look like your skin is naturally radiant.
Apply as you normally would.
I cover my face with one layer then go back in with a second under my eyes, and anywhere that gets a little more red, like around my nose.
Set with your favorite powder. I used It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Translucent Powder ($24), as always.
See how that High Beam is still popping through the foundation?
It's not heavy metal and reflective, but it freshens up my face and amps the glow of any foundation.
And now for the product of the hour, the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Euphoric Strobe Light.
The compact is a bit smaller than the original Ambient Light Powder, but don't let the size fool you, they come to play.
The shade I used was Euphoric Strobe Light, a sheer, pearly beige that, aside from the highlighting factor, had the color payoff of a neutral tan blush.
To apply, I used the Heavenly Luxe Angled Radiance #10 brush from It Cosmetics, a fairly dense, angled brush great for packing on blush or highlight. I wanted something a little sturdier because I really wanted to lay this shit down.
And I did:
You guys know how to highlight so I'm not gonna sit here and bore you with the details. Just know that I packed the brush and went in on my cheekbones, then started swiping the brush in "C" motions around my brow to bring the highlight up to my temples. My temples sort of jut out of my head like a supermodel/gargoyle so they're fun to play around with if I'm trying to get a really good highlight going.
Oh, and I don't usually highlight the bridge of my nose, but since all bets are off today, I hit that area too.
And was surprised...
by how good it looked:
Maybe I'll get a nose job. Anyway, then I hit my cupid's bow, because 1. that always looks incredible and 2. it make your lip color pop.
So, you'll start to see the highlight in a minute, but you can already begin to see the color payoff of the strobing powder. That neutral beige is adding a nice bit of color to my cheeks, without looking heavy, or even like I used a bronzer. Just a bit of warmth that looks, dare I say, almost natural?
One of the main reasons I hate using powders is because I always feel like they build up too quickly, but these strobing powders put highlight first, color second, so they're hard to overdo. The highlight is created by pearl particles that vary in size so they refract light differently around the face, but never end up looking chunky or glittery.
Unlike some highlighters which can accentuate uneven skin texture, large pores, or acne scars, these were made to diffuse light and bounce light around, like candlelight dancing across your face, which actually works to refine skin texture. I have pretty smooth skin to begin with but after a few swipes, my skin looked even better than, well, my skin.
If all powders were like this, I wouldn't be so opposed to using them.
For blush, I actually use the original Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light, a lavender pink, for just a bit of color on the cheeks.
And things are starting to come together.
If my face above looks like I just shot myself up with Novocain and am trying to relearn how to smile, ignore that and just take in the glow of my face. I think the blush paired with my admittedly heavy-handed application of the strobe powder everywhere I could get it actually turns out to be a cohesive look.
I finished it off by filling in my brows, throwing on this new mascara I'm road testing, and sheering out a matte lip color for a sheer, flushed lip.
Now, try to find the best lighting in which to photograph your glow:
I'm into this.
I love that they're so easy to work with, and never build up too much with highlight or color. I mean, I laid this shit down and I still think it looks flattering, which just speaks to how wearable they are. What do you think?
Tynan is constantly glowing on Twitter @TynanBuck.