If you find contouring too complicated, sculpt your face with this easy highlighting trick face for a more luminous, natural complexion

By Melanie Rud Chadwick
September 16, 2015
Corbis Images

Forget complicated contouring-this season, the beauty spotlight is on strobing. The simple new makeup trend is all about radiant, dewy skin, the antithesis to the heavily made-up look of contouring.

"These techniques are complete opposites," says celebrity and fashion makeup artist Neil Scibelli. "To contour, you use multiple dark tones to create shadows and definition. Strobing involves adding shimmer and strategically highlighting to create a fresh, healthy, glow. "

And whereas contouring gone awry can quickly leave you looking clownish, strobing is simple and fairly foolproof. Follow these simple steps to get your glow on.

1. Apply your makeup as normal. Strobing is a finishing touch. One caveat: If you typically wear a luminous foundation, swap it out for one with a matte or velvet finish. "The contrast of the shimmer set against a matte base accentuates the whole effect," explains Scibelli. Keep lips and lids fairly matte too, so that your glowy skin really pops. (Find The Best Nude Lipstick to Flatter Your Skin Tone to enhance your glow.)

2. Reach for a cream highlighter. We like Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured ($38; sephora.com) or Jouer Highlighter ($22; jouercosmetics.com). Consider your skin tone when choosing a color; those with paler complexions should opt for sheer, champagne hues, while richer gold and rose gold are choice for darker skin, advises Scibelli. Regardless, steer clear of silver, which can look frosty and unnatural.

3. Stipple the highlighter on the spots where light naturally hits your face. Use a synthetic foundation brush-it disperses the product evenly without absorbing it. "Start on your brow bone, above the middle of your brow, then work out and down around your temple and across the top of your cheekbone, in a 'C' shape," Scibelli says. Dab a tiny amount down the bridge of your nose and finish with a dot on the cupid's bow, just above the center of your top lip. Blend thoroughly, until the product is worked seamlessly into your skin. (No highlighter? No problem-concealer can do the trick. Here, 4 Cool Ways to Use Concealer for Face Contouring.)

4. Top the cream highlighter with a powder formula. It'll help step up the shimmer even further. Scibelli likes Nars Albatross Highlighting Blush ($30; narscosmetics.com), or try the new L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator ($13; lorealparisusa.com). Dip a fan brush into the product, tap to remove any excess, then lightly dust across the same areas where you applied the cream. (You can also use the powder on its own if you have oily skin and are concerned about looking overly shiny).

Prefer a more subdued shimmer? Try a toned-down version of the trend by employing the same application technique using a luminous tinted moisturizer instead of a highlighter. "This adds radiance, but without any color, making the end result much more subtle than full-on strobing," explains Scibelli. Our pick: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer-Illuminating ($44; lauramericer.com). (Now, master the rest of your beauty routine by learning How to Apply Makeup, According to a Makeup Artist.)


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