Contouring and strobing are hot news at the moment, and they’re not just for runway models and high-budget editorials anymore. With more products available (and more YouTube tutorials to make sure we don’t mess it up), these seemingly complex techniques are in everyone’s reach. Here’s what to know about these two makeup miracles:
Contouring vs Strobing: What’s the difference?
Contouring is using a makeup powder and foundation that are two shades darker than your natural skin tone to create shape, dimension, and to minimise flaws. While surgery helps slim the face, narrow the nose, hollow the cheeks and define the jawline for example, contouring achieves a similar effect but without all the invasive cutting. Yes, it’s the facelift in your bag. No scarring, no fear, no needles. The savviest contourers can change their natural assets dramatically, without anyone being the wiser.
Strobing has a similar concept but includes using a concealer two shades lighter than your skin tone where natural light would normally hit your face. This creates definition while bringing out a beautiful glow. This effect is created by light-reflecting pearls embedded in highlighters, catching natural light hitting your face and reflecting it in just the right way. Since strobing is the singular use of a highlighter to create the same contour effect, it can be seen as the evolved version of contouring. Strobing doesn’t feel as heavy on your skin and is far easier to apply, technique wise, which is why it’s growing in appeal.
When to use
Strobing is the perfect daytime look because of its lightness and subtlety. The perfect occasion to glow up is a warm day where heavy makeup is not an option! To achieve the dewy look, apply NYX Bright IdeaIlluminating Stick over your foundation around the cheekbone, the bridge and tip of your nose, the corners and tops of your eyebrows, the Cupid’s bow, chin and forehead – and blend with a blending sponge.
Since contouring is heavier on the face, it’s better kept for after dark even though it has been popularised as an everyday day look. It’s not ideal for us regular folk who aren’t on reality TV! Wear this as an evening look, whether for a special dinner or a fun night of partying, but even then, keep it subtle. If you have trouble with contouring, L’Oréal Infallible Sculpt Contouring Palette Medium-Dark is convenient for contour-shy users, and come with nifty instructions and a mirror on the back of the kit.
We’ve all got features we’re not 100% happy with, and now – with the right products and a little practice – it’s possible to sculpt without the scalpel