Strobing: How & Where to Add Shimmer & The Best Products For It

lede shot for strobing

While there’s no substitute for flawless skin, there is an elusive element nowadays that you will see on the most beautiful faces in print and film–a modern characteristic which every woman covets, but few know how to master–and that is: The Glow.

Strobing, as it’s known in the biz, is all the rage these days, and it’s the technique for creating that enviable look of perfect, vibrant healthy skin. There are a billion products out there to get that luminous glow and just about as many theories on how to do it. Here’s a little guide to strobing, with advice from one makeup artist pro who is definitely in-the-know about going-for-the-glow! Welcome my dear friend from Down Under, Australia’s very own Susan Markovic, pictured below.

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No one could be more demanding than a bride on her big day, and Susan is a gifted makeup artist and educator who specializes in bridal hair and makeup.

As owner of Makeup Mode Masterclass, an incredibly successful and respected makeup artistry school in Sydney, Susan expertly caters to this most discerning population while teaching other artists how to make women look their most beautiful.

Here, Susan gives us the low-down on laying the glow down! Pay attention!

“Bronzers, highlighters, illuminators–these are the products that give the face its glow,” Susan said. “When applying this to the face, think of all the areas that protrude forward and there you have the placement of highlighters. This product is multi-dimensional, enhancing bone structure and brightening the face.”

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Location, Location, Location

As in real estate, location is everything when you’re going for the glow. Examining the model’s face above, you can clearly identify the areas that benefit from strobing: just under the browbone, the inner corners of the eyes, on top of the cheekbone (without going into the under-eye area where concealer is applied), the top center of the lip, known as the Cupid’s bow, the chin, and down the center of the face, especially the bridge of the nose.

Real Glow-Getters: Products & Tools

Highlighting products come in liquid, cream and powder consistencies. Here are some stellar strobing products and glow-enhancing goodies for adding luminosity.

Liquids & Creams & Powders & Other Things

Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal Rebel is a mainstay in Susan’s kit, along with MAC Lustre Drops in Sun Rush and Pink.

Liquids can have a moist finish, leaving a wet or dewy look on the skin, or they can be water-based and, once applied, dry to a powdery but shimmering finish. They are very practical for a wedding or an event requiring long wear. “Liquids provide the lightest of applications and have a sheer veil effect,” Susan stated.

I adore SeneGence’s Pearlizer, which I have written about before. Check out my full review on this awesome product, which is made by a truly innovative company. It’s a liquid highlighter that’s perfect for brides, affordably-priced…and it’s also great for your skin!

Makeup artist Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish 003, by Pat McGrath Labs, is now sold-out nationwide at Sephora, and I must say that this little collection is a full-on game-changer, and truly amazing for creating luminosity, dewiness and radiance. It came in two tones–Nude, or my favorite, Gold–and was worth every cent! The brush is brilliant, and the double-ended stick, with highlighting cream on one side and a dew-inducing balm on the other, is nothing short of genius.


Kevyn Aucoin’s eyeshadow single in Whisper is a gorgeous fleshy nude frost that can create the most wonderful shimmery glow, and I also love Giella’s Eye M Glam, which now comes in four colors and is custom-blended by Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist, the brilliant Mario Dedivanovic.

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Originally, Eye M Glam was the only color of the Eye M Glam highlighter squad. It’s the deep, peachy-bronze copper that you see gilding Kim Kardashian’s exquisite face and ideal for darker complexions. But now, Dedivanovic has created Rose Glam, a soft, warm, incandescent pink; M Glam, a golden shade; and Strobe, a bright shimmery white. Try ‘layering’ your strobe with Giella’s Eye M Glam pigments. That is, sweep the cheekbone in a crescent-like shape with your base highlighter–either Eye M Glam for dark skin, Rose Glam for lighter complexions, or M Glam for Asian beauties and those with yellow undertones. Then dot the highest pinnacle of the cheek with just a speck of Strobe, the white shimmer, on each side of the face. You can use Strobe to illuminate the innermost corners of the eyes and the peaks of the brow bones, too…just a hint beneath your eyebrows, ever-so-sparingly, to create a multi-dimensional sparkle.

A delicate fan brush works for the cheeks, but you can never go wrong by simply using your hands. The greatest makeup artists count their own fingers as their top tools. Be prepared to blend, evaluate, and blend again. Remember, this is artistry. Your face is the canvas and you are the painter. It may take time at first, but soon you will understand your own face, your products, and how they work.

Oh, Guerlain!

Guerlain has a brilliant lip pencil called ‘Cupidon’ which is the most effective way to highlight the Cupid’s bow, without a doubt. This lipliner goes distinctly outside the lipline, and the color is the most beautiful pearly-pink you’ve ever seen.

guerlain cupidon

Because it comes in a slim pencil, you get the benefit of ultimate control in placement and can draw the highlight precisely where you want it. This pencil is a favorite of Pamela Anderson and her makeup team. Just a flick of Cupidon flirting along your lipline will look so very lovely. Thanks, Guerlain!

Keeping it Consistent

Remember to keep your consistencies consistent when adding shimmer or highlight. That is, liquids and creams go over other liquids and creams. Once you powder down, you should only top with powders thereafter or you might end up with a clumpy, caked-on mess.

A Word (Or Two) of Caution

Although strobing works well with many skins types, one time to definitely avoid it is with problematic skin, according to Susan. Remember, highlights draw attention to an area, so if you have large pores or breakouts, avoid highlighting that area. Ditto for wrinkles or crow’s feet.

Discretion: Foiled Again!

The key to effective highlighting is to only highlight a few areas. Use discretion and care in placement.

Susan cautions against over-highlighting the ball of the nose because sometimes it turns downward. “This creates the illusion of a broader nose and gives the impression that the client has a runny nose,” she stated.

And don’t overuse the product or you may end up looking oily, sweaty, or like you fell in a tub of shimmer, especially in photographs.

In fact, if you are going to an event where you will be photographed, make sure that you take some pictures of yourself in similar lighting well in advance, and with the type of makeup that you will be wearing, so that you are prepared to make adjustments. We don’t always photograph the way we look in-person, and there’s nothing worse than getting all dolled-up, only to see the horrifying aftermath of yourself with an unflattering reflective glare all over your face because you were unaware of the lighting and how your products ‘read’ on film.

Now you are set to strobe with the greatest of glow. On your marks, get set…..Glow!

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