What is Strobing?

What is Strobing? Phyrra gives highlighter recommendations for all skintones! - Phyrra.net

By  now I’m sure you’ve seen strobing mentioned all over. I’ve received a few emails asking what is strobing? No idea why people are acting like it’s a new thing, when people have been doing it forever. Strobing is highlighting, aka emphasizing the bone structure of your face. I’m usually too lazy to contour, or if I contour it’s nothing more than the hollow of my cheeks, but I feel like my makeup is incomplete without a highlight. Today I’m going to show you some highlighters and make recommendations based on skintone. This post contains a mix of press samples and products purchased by me.

What is Strobing?

Fyrinnae Matte Liquid Lipstick Wizardry
Wearing Notoriously Morbid Osteomancy
Taylor Swift Bad Blood Makeup
Wearing Dose of Colors Pearl Dust
Purple Pravana Hair
Wearing Dose of Colors Pearl Dust with Too Faced Melted Rainbow. See my review of Pearl Dust.
Best Summer Glow Highlighters - Phyrrra.net
Some of my favorite highlighters. See them all in my Best Summer Glow Highlighters feature.

To be quite honest, I love highlighters and I’m not interested in subtle highlighting at all. I bought a bunch of the Colour Pop highlighters, and they’re definitely more for those who prefer a subtle sheen. I like mine to be more visible, but if subtle is your thing, definitely check out Colour Pop. I feel like the highlighter shades I prefer to wear give me that gorgeous glow without looking like a disco ball.

I have been obsessed with Dose of Colors Pearl Dust (ethereal silvery pink) since I bought it a few months ago and I’ve been wearing it non-stop. I am also in love with Notoriously Morbid Osteomancy (iridescent silvery blue). My long time, like 6 year favorite, highlighter is Too Faced Candlelight Glow Duo (white gold, golden pink).


What is Strobing? It's highlighting! Phyrra gives highlighter recommendations for all skintones! - Phyrra.net
Wearing Urban Decay Afterglow Blushes in Video, Rapture and Obsessed, plus Dose of Colors Pearl Dust Highlighter

The places on my face that I like to strobe (highlight) are my cheekbones, browbones, and the inner corner of my eyes. Sometimes I hit the cupid’s bow above the lip. If you don’t have a dimple in your chin, like I do, you can add shimmer there, but I feel it’s overkill on my face. The center of your forehead and down the center of your nose are good places to add shimmer too.

How to Strobe

  1. Before you attempt to strobe, you want your skin to be at its best. Start with a hydrating moisturizer. The Glossier Priming Moisturizer or Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentrate are both great. You want your skin to be fabulous and plump.
  2. Then apply your foundation. I’m bouncing between Cover FX Custom Cover Drops mixed with Buxom Show Some Skin foundation, Cover FX CC Cream and Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation mixed with Laura Geller Balance n Brighten. Since it’s summer, if you have great skin (which I do not) you can go with a tinted moisturizer, BB or CC Cream.
  3. Put on a blush or two, preferably matte or satin. I’ve actually been experimenting with layering 2 and 3 blush shades. Recently I tried Urban Decay Video as a sort of contour / bottom blush, Rapture as my middle blush, and a tiny bit of Obsessed for the top blush.
  4. Add your highlighter of choice. If you have oily skin, you may want to use a setting powder first. If you don’t want to use a powder highlighter, you can mix in something like NARS Illuminator with a liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer.

You’ll find all kinds of recommendations on highlighters for skintones, and I believe there are many flattering shades out there in addition to my recommendations, but here are my picks to get you started:

See my Pale Girl’s Guide to Highlighting and Contouring for more HAC recommendations! Or check out my Best Summer Glow Highlighters for even more pretty makeup.

Looking for more? Check out

So tell me, do you strobe / highlight? What’s your must have highlighter?


  1. I actually haven’t ever heard of strobing.. I feel sort of left out! I think I definitely should try it out though.. my face could use some subtle highlights.. I just need to get into a better beauty routine in general.

  2. I never skip highlighting either. I mean, strobing. XD If I could pick one word for what I’m going for it would definitely be “ethereal”. From a soft glow to iridescent and everything in between…I love it all! I don’t like the SUPER-subtle formulas as they just disappear on me. Also, no chunky glitter.

    Wowww there are so many amazing swatches in your Best Summer Glow Highlighters post!!! And it reminded me to check back to see if the Life’s Entropy Illuminators were back in stock. *so pretty*

    OMG I NEED the Dose of Colors Pearl Dust!!!!!! *serious swooning* / *next purchase* <3333333 Thank you so much!!!

  3. I pretty much strobe on a daily basis. That’s what cracks me up! I try to contour but I just don’t feel it looks super natural on me and I prefer flushed cheeks with glow at the high points of my face. I feel it looks best with my skin tone and complexion (neutral-leaning-cool undertones with fair skin). Never realized I was so hipster with my face products “I was strobing before it was strobing!” haha! 🙂

  4. Love your looks in this post. The very top and bottom are my favorites! Love vampy looks but also love the colors in the bottom pic. What eyeshadows did you use? UD’s new blushes are on my wish list – Video and Rapture!

  5. I always love your posts 🙂 I hope you’ll keep blogging into eternity! haha

  6. Great explanation and diagram. Leave it to marketing people to give a new name to something old and start the hype! I love using a highlighter now, too. That Dose of Colors is pretty!

  7. When I used to do makeup for drag queen fashion shows here, strobing was a big deal and they all wanted that done. That was years ago, back in my MAC days. I like how people give something a new name to reinvent it some way. 🙂

  8. I agree, it’s just a “hyped name” to reinvent a technique that’s been there for years

  9. I’m super pale and never got the hang of contouring so I’m thrilled that highlighting is making a comeback, and seems like I’m allowed to be glowier than ever! Like you, I used to love MAC Strobe Cream when it was cruelty free, but now I love the Too Faced Candlelight Duo even more, it’s got plenty of oomph 🙂

      1. I want Osteomancy just for the name!! Plus (as an added but unnecessary bonus) I think it would suit my skin 🙂

  10. I’ve been strobing all these years and didn’t even know it! Your diagram is perfect and your makeup is done to perfection in that shot.

  11. I like how you stated that it isn’t a new thing. I remember assitant Vincent Oquendo, he loved his MAC Strobe Cream. For my complexion copper is too warm.

    1. MAC Strobe Cream is actually what first introduced me to the term! I used to buy it when MAC was cruelty free! 🙂
      For your skintone, does Rose Gold work? Or what is your favorite color for highlighting? I definitely think more than the shades I recommend work for people, I just wanted to give people a base shade to look at 🙂

  12. That last photo is just TOO gorgeous! I love how they come up with these new terms in makeup, it keeps it interesting!

  13. Firstly: That top picture of you is especially gorgeous.

    For those confused, as I understand it, strobing is just strong highlighting. I think it’s emphasizing that there are no contouring products used. Just highlighting. “Strobing” is a new buzzword to sell highlighters, IMO.

    I find strobing far more attractive than the heavy contoured looks we’ve been seeing the past few years, especially for myself (i.e.: pale, pale, pale).

  14. You look so great here! Strobing must have just come out this week, suddenly it’s all I see everywhere. I have this sudden desire to buy all the strobing things, but then I realized it’s only a fancy name for highlighter! lol

    1. Thank you! That’s exactly why I wrote this post, I’m sure everyone has highlighters in their stash 🙂

  15. I just recently saw some people using the term strobing and had to look it up. I don’t get it. Why call highlighting by a new name? XD I’m with you though. I don’t like to use subtle highlighters.

    1. I have no idea why they decided to call it strobing instead of still refer to it as highlighting. Kind of silly to me too! And yeah, subtle highlighters do nothing for me.

  16. I honestly don’t live under a rock, but I’m just getting back into “doing” my makeup after a long health battle of over a year. So I’ve been outta the game for quite a while. If I have the gorgeous facial feature that you have I would highlight like crazy!! But I don’t so I’m a little timid about it. Do you have a resource for contouring a round (I mean really round thanks to meds) face? I think if I could conquer that I would feel a lot better. Thanks for all of the links…I’ll def check them out too! 🙂

    1. I hope this helps: I used to work at a makeup counter, and we were trained that if you can easily find the hinge of someone’s jaw by their ear, follow that natural line and select a color less rich than for someone with sharper bone structure–you can also pull your lips back sort of unnaturally to find the curve if you can’t feel it with your face relaxed. It works for many round faces. And then do the area by the sides of the brows and nose.

      Good luck with your health!

    2. I contour very, very lightly around my chin with a taupe shade. If I’m using a little bronzer on my face, I’ll use a fluffy brush and tiny bit of the bronzer on my entire neck, including the sides, but don’t contour my jaw. If I contour my jawline, I literally just have a line going around my face. (I’m ultra pale, so if I use bronzer, it’s Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil, which is matte.)

      1. Do you ever hit your collar bone with highlighter? I forgot to mention that above but it does look nice too

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