Every time you look around, there seems to be a new beauty debit. God forbid you should not hear it, otherwise “Have you ever lived under a rock?” Or, “How come you have not already heard of blank filling *?” To my complete and utter surprise, I went out once again when my sister mentioned something about casual strobing. Images of neon pacifiers, manic panic and sweat ravers have been on my mind since I was a kid in the 90s, however, apparently strobing is the latest makeup trend and heavy hand definition is coming out.
There was no one to admit my obvious flaw in the waist at all, I made sure to mention this word mentally so Google could do it later without judgment. As far as this newcomer can tell, strobing is against the skin. Emphasizes fringe depth and shade and creates angles with darker shades, strobing is the highlighting and playing of high points on your face, i.e. raising the apex of your cheekbones or right under the curve of your eyebrow. Stropping can give the appearance of completeness, such as highlighting your filtram (the indented, groin area above the center of your upper lip), or make your eyes look more beautiful, or reflect the inner corners of your eyes with a larger, brighter eye.
After going down to the rabbit hole in the YouTube beauty tutorial videos, I got hooked on the promises of strobing. But, pale, almost 30 years old, the mother of a toddler, can pull off this youthful and trendy look? As I mentioned in previous beauty experiment pieces, I am definitely far from being an expert makeup artist. But cosmetics are fake, anyway. So, hoping that only online tutorials can give you, I went to my nearest beauty shop to get all the tools I need to see if I can master strobing.
Day 1: Go Pro
I can talk a great game, but I was so intimidated by the idea of trying a makeup technique that it would end in complete disaster. So I did what any logical (and very insecure) person would do: I went to my local zebra to seek the knowledge of the brilliant makeup artists in it. Showing up with a makeup-free face at a store without makeup was already enough for me, but it was so embarrassing to try to explain that I needed help learning how to do strobing.
Fortunately, Bobby (whose Instagram will give you life), an amazingly talented makeup artist, was very comfortable walking me through every step of the process to please. One thing he showed me that I have never seen in any YouTube videos is that he never used the same makeup tool for the whole face. For the areas above Cupid’s bow, he used a small brush. I also learned that when using a highlighter, tapping is the best application method, not wiping sideways, as the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfect Pearl is pressed. I adored the subtle shine it gave me and was excited to remove the second day training wheels.
Day 2: Baby Steps
Armed with products and knowledge from the previous day, I was confident enough to try to tackle strobing myself. But, full expression, I wanted to take baby actions. So on the second day I simply kept it with the foundation, concealer and pecca highlighter. I don’t know if I did it right, but it was definitely more interesting than my usual routine, so I felt like I should have done something right.
If I was 1, 000 percent honest, I felt like I was as vague as a stranger. Some exotic Katy Perry is not like extraterrestrial things. My face has been like an inverted triangle since I created focal points on my cheek bones, the bridge of my nose, my biltrum and the center of my cheek. Still, my first time was not alone.
Day 3: Me a little bit
the second day I felt like I was missing a step because the finished product didn’t really feel like “me”. So, I decided to combine several of my usual routines into this strobing experiment. All I did was apply a muted lipstick (Russell Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick) and my co-eyeliner (Urban Decay 24/7 on Rockstar). Already I feel like myself and feel less like the old timer trying to be hip.
Day one and two, I didn’t really get any feedback or strange views (to my knowledge) from the public. So I hope my complete satisfaction on the third day guarantees at least some kind of reaction. Neither the barista nor the grocery store cashier nor anyone else I came in contact with that day said anything about what I thought was an unusual highlight craft.
Day 4: Stropping + Blush = ???
try to keep it simple with my reliable eyeliner and modest lips (Mapleline Baby Lips Crystal in Pink Quartz), otherwise I just wanted to see how it would add a little color to my porcelain color. To me, strobing seemed to reveal the glowing quality of my fair skin, but that also made me look somewhat ghostly. So with the addition of blush (native to urban decay), I felt more consistent.
My husband was the first person to notice that I was trying a new technique. Although he did not know what the word “strobing” meant, he thought I was “beautiful and kind of bright”. For me, this is a great compliment from a guy who often can’t even tell if I’m there or don’t wear makeup. I wished I could enjoy this idea of a “spark” usually reserved for special occasions on a regular weekday.
Day 5: Channeling My Inner Gwen
queen of red lips and flawless skin, Gwen Stefani, inspired me on the fifth day. I was a little scared that tapping everything on my own would already make a bold statement, so doing bold lip might be more. But I took the decline anyway because I felt adventurous. With a ruby satin lip (UT | Gwen Stephanie in Spiderweb) and shaking my stroped-out face, I felt so bad.
There’s something about the intense red lip that makes me immediately feel powerful and more confident. Combined with the touch of glamor strobing, I felt a little overwhelmed when directing my mistakes. But Starbucks Barista said she loves my lipstick and my skin looks like a toy. I choose to take it as a good thing.
Day 6: Replacing it
Empowered by the success of my dangerous red lip movement I decided to go in the opposite direction and make a strong, smoking eye on the sixth day. As I have said over and over again, I am not a true extension artist of the imagination. I relied heavily on my urban decay smoky palette mini look book and was pleasantly surprised by the result
Although the strobing seemed like taking a backseat to my eye makeup, the overall effect was really quite awesome. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was having a hard time despite the time I actually did it. Honestly though? I don’t care if it took me too many attempts or if I followed a guide. The highlight technique made me feel better, and that was all I could hear from the makeup course.
Day 7: Can’t resist the edge
know, I know, strobing was supposed to be the opposite, but I had to see what would happen if I did both. Feeling like a harmful chemist combining combustible materials, I used both my highlighter and my bronzer. I can’t really tell a difference, but maybe I didn’t even make a dramatic definition of it because of my fair skin tone. To me, it looks like I was fighting with a brown marker. So I played it safe.
In a way, I don’t really think it added definition to the depth I thought it had to my look. Sure, it was fun to do something a little different than I had been sticking to for the past week, but in the end I could have skipped the bronzer and saved 10 precious minutes.
Did I see the light?
So is stropping really the new definition? Am I a member of Team Highlights? I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, I saw the light! I absolutely loved Pep Stropping placed on my step. I may not do it dramatically like I did for some of my looks, but even a dub of highlighter can do some good deeds for my self-esteem.
It may seem like fun, but it reminded me of when I was a kid, having to wake up late one weekend night to see a movie. Stropping, highlighting, whatever you call it, gives shine to my routine and felt like I was engaging in a special feast of glamor on a daily basis.