Strobing vs Contouring

Monday, 13 March 2017

Gone are the days of looking anything but ‘on fleek’. With the host of fads and beauty products out there, it’s hard to decide which ones to try – and stick to. Case in point, strobing VS contouring.

There’s always something new! But the truth is, most of us definitely don’t “wake up like this”, so we try every technique to find a look that works. We spend hours watching YouTube tutorials in a bid to perfect MUA (make-up artists, according to the internet) techniques and experiment with an array of products to look perfectly primped – and sometimes even iridescent.

Contouring was cool and all, but hear us out. While Kim K definitely paved the way for contouring and had us trying to contour our face into oblivion, the not-so-new to celebville trend-to-try is strobing. It seems it’s out with the old and in with the effortless glow.

So what’s the difference between the two?

Contouring is defined as the art of skillfully sculpting bone structure and creating a more refined, defined look – A.K.A drawing an entirely new face. Beauties create the look using make-up that’s a shade closer to your skin colour, contrasted by a shade that’s slightly darker.

Strobing involves a more effortless approach to highlighting our features and will save you at least 20 minutes. Score? This technique emphasises the high points on your face that light catches, and aims to give you a more dewy, radiant look.

Both approaches certainly have their place, but strobing seems lighter on the skin and gives that youthful glow we all search for.

The verdict

Judging by runway beauty trends at Fashion Week, there’s a marked trend of a more relaxed approach to beauty and make-up, and it’s quite refreshing that minimalism is the way forward (apart from the contrasting 90’s-inspired blue eyeshadow and glitter lips, that is).

While the name is inspired by strobe lights, it’s important that we don’t get carried away. We likey.

It’s all about the lazy girl’s guide to beauty – because who really has time to construct a new face every morning? So here goes.

Get the look

Simply moisturise and prime your skin, apply your foundation and then get strobing! Apply your strobing powder or highlighter to the middle of your forehead, cheekbones and brow bone, as well as on the tip of the nose, the Cupid’s bow and the centre of your chin.

For an awesome cheat, mix your strobe highlighter with your moisturiser for an even easier way to get glowing, and get going on your way.

We tried it and absolutely love it! Strobing effortlessly highlights dimensions, sculpts the nose and enhances your pout. We love how easy it is to create the look with a few dabs of powder and a quick blend.

Product to try: L.A Girl STROBELite Strobing Powder. Available in 12 shades, the new L.A Girl STROBELite Strobing Powder is priced at R149, exclusive to Dis-Chem Pharmacies.

Check out the fun new shades and a quick tutorial to help you achieve the look:



Written by

Tatum is an all-round digital being with a penchant for lipstick and a slight shopping addiction. After completing her Honours in Communications and Media she was thrust into the world of publishing and has since worked for some of the biggest magazines in South Africa. As a writer, editor and social media consultant, she’s all about spreading body positivity and a revised attitude towards beauty.

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  1. Ayanda Maleka

    Great article! Personally I do both contouring and strobing. On the daily I mix my primer with strobe cream then do a light contour with powder to enhance my cheekbones. When my face is beat to the gods I do a full contour with cream concealer for a more intense look and use highlighter and not strobe cream. Strobe cream is my fav for an instant glow that radiates from the skin naturally. MAC strobe cream is great to try out aswell, comes in different shades too ;-)

    1 year ago •

  1. SonellvN

    What a quick and easy way to look fresh and awake! Thank you.

    1 year ago •

  1. Alison Raubenheimer

    I’m glad to give contouring a break and start strobing! I was never sure what it was but it definitely looks more in my skill-range. Going to look out for the L.A Girl strobing powder, looks pretty decent

    1 year ago •

  1. Feli0017 CHEYANAND

    I like the contouring look but I feel like my face is plastered with make-up, I think the contouring look will be perfect for functions and photoshoots, strobing is more natural, I want a flawless look but I still wanna look like me with as little make-up as possible, I am definitely gonna be trying the strobing technique! :)

    1 year ago •

  1. Sashnee Rambaly

    I love both techniques but recently i have been loving strobing more.

    1 year ago •

  1. Teboho Saohatse

    I prefer strobing. Always have and always will.It is much cleaner and much faster then contouring.

    1 year ago •


    I love the contouring look, but yes it is time consuming, especially for your everyday work look. Will definitely be trying this technique and save the contours for the weekend glam

    1 year ago •

  1. Tanya Lawrence

    Yes, time is precious especially when you have an 8 – 5 job. However I would try this on weekends, looks really simple. I love anything that hides imperfections and dark circles.

    1 year ago •

  1. Mark Parr

    I prefer Strobing, time is precious.

    2 years ago •

  1. Portia Mathebula

    For some reason I don’t think i can do this (contouring). It almost seems like too much make up but it looks nice when done by Professional make-up artists.

    2 years ago •

  1. Arlene Beukes

    I LOVE the strobing technique! Minimal effort, time-saving, budget friendly… RESULT: Perfect glow!

    2 years ago •


    I feel like this is just way too much make-up.

    2 years ago •

  1. Siobhan Hughes

    I love the idea of strobing, but with my combination/dehydrated skin, often it ends up looking oily.
    I love a bit of subtle contouring though!

    2 years ago •

  1. PrudenceB

    I did try contouring and it wasn’t for me, It took too much time in the morning. I’ll try the Strobing and see, sounds very nice.

    2 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    Contouring was not for me even though I love it when its done, I just couldn’t do it, lets see how strobing goes.

    2 years ago •

  1. Mpoyif

    Who has time to do this? I put on my BB, with lip gloss and a touch of mascara and I’m ready to go.

    2 years ago •

  1. Danielle Cateley

    I’ve stopped trying to learn how to contour as I’ve realised the strobing looks WAY better on my pale skin :) Great article!

    2 years ago •

  1. Parbie

    I love contouring my nose to make it look slimmer and sharper as it naturally wide-flat.

    2 years ago •

  1. Aston Rae Maharaj

    Strobing powder seems perfect and affordable, still highlights without spending so much money awesome.

    2 years ago •

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