+ Ask The Edit, + Makeup

Quick Beauty Queries, Vol. I, No. Five

Dear Belle,

What on earth is ‘strobing’ and why are the women on the Today show raving about it?  Isn’t it just highlighting?  The name alone makes me want to skip it, but maybe I missed something.


Strobing is like the lazy woman’s answer to highlighting/contouring.  Instead of painting lines on the skin with different foundation, strobing uses a highlighter to draw attention to the high points on the face.  (And yes, the name is totally stupid.  I feel like I should be listening to EDM and wearing a glow-in-the dark necklace every time I hear it.)

If you want to try it, there are a couple of products I can recommend.  I like Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (now in a mini-size) for a subtle amount of highlight.  For something a bit more serious, NARS The Multiple stick is a solid choice.

For something under-$15, I’m all about the NYX Illuminator or Sonia Kashuk’s translucent illuminating liquid.

Dear Belle,

Do you have a favorite lip balm?  My lips are already drying out and it’s not even October…

Sincerely, Chapped

To keep your lips in tip-top shape, you need to exfoliate (either with a scrub or a nubby wash cloth).  The apply a rich, hydrating balm.  I like Blistex Medex it’s good for harsher climates.  You can also go with Rosebud Salve in the tube or the highly recommended Badger lip balm.

Hi Belle,

My sister uses toner every night and she swears by it for keeping her pores clean.  I sometimes use hers but I don’t see much difference. I’m curious whether you think it’s a must or if I can keep saving that cash.  

Feel better! Liz

To tone or not to tone is one of the biggest debates beauty bloggers have.  Allure covers the basics of what toner does and whether you should use one.

I use Clinique Clarifying Lotion toner because it removes excess oil and is great for gently exfoliating my neck and décolletage.  There are different strengths, so you can choose one for sensitive skin, oily skin, etc..  I also keep a small bottle Simple’s soothing toner to help calm my skin when it’s irritated or dry.

Dear Belle,

I travel a lot for my new job and the constant flying is killing my skin.  When you travel for campaigns, do you do something special to keep your skin in shape?  Any tips would be appreciated.

Thank you for your blog.  Good luck in law school.  -Erin

It’s been a while since I’ve been out on the trail, but I remember the havoc that flying regularly wreaked on my skin.  I think the important thing when you’re changing climates and subjecting your skin to airplane conditions regularly is just to baby it.  Your skin is stressed, it’s tired, it’s dehydrated.  Now is not the time for the harsh products.

Simple’s gentle, Micellar makeup removing wipes are a good choice.  I also like Boscia oil face cleanser.  A calming sheet mask that fights acne is definitely on order.  And moisturize with something good like Bobbi Brown extra repair balm, or the less pricey Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream.

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  1. Sam says:

    I was a Softlips chapstick addict until they stopped stocking the Raspberry flavor. I couldn’t leave the house without it for fear of having chapped lips. I switched to Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning lip balm with Kokum Butter and will never go back. It’s incredibly hydrating — I use it maybe a couple times a week, when needed. At night, I use Vaseline to prevent any mouth-breathing side effects.

    October 6, 2015/Reply
  2. Katie says:

    Regular highlighting can often be a more matte look, just using a slightly lighter concealer or powder color to emphasize certain areas. Strobing uses a shimmery product to make the cheekbones, etc “pop.” The Balm’s Mary Lou-Manizer is the Holy Grail as far as strobing is concerned, although it is on the lighter side so those with very dark skin tones may not like it as much. I also really like the Becca highlighting products and Benefit’s Watts Up.

    Chapped – try Bite’s Agave Lip Mask if it’s in your budget. A little pricey, but lasts forever, smells divine, and works great.

    October 6, 2015/Reply
    • Anna says:

      I think what you’re describing with the matte look is just contouring. It doesn’t just have to be with bronzer or darker colors but also involves using lighter matte shades to bring certain areas forward while the darker shades push areas back.

      October 6, 2015/Reply
  3. Emily says:

    For the toner question, I just use a basic bottle of drugstore witch hazel (less than $3 and lasts for probably 5-6 months)on an exfoliating cotton pad each night. It’s amazing how much dirt and makeup are still on my face even after a shower, and I’ve noticed much fewer breakouts since starting this habit. If the smell is too offensive, there are Rose Water Witch Hazels on the market, it will just cost a bit more (but still much less than a fancy toner).

    October 6, 2015/Reply
  4. sherry @ save. spend. splurge. says:

    I noticed the more lip balm I used, the more I would need it… Once I stopped applying it daily, my lips adjusted.

    October 6, 2015/Reply
  5. MK says:

    Lip balm: Clinique All About Lips + Superbalm. The All About Lips is not a balm, but it is the first thing that prevented my extremely sensitive lips from flaking, cracking, and bleeding during the winter. I think it has mildly exfoliating properties — whatever it is is amazing. I use it morning and night and use the (also extremely mild and nonirritating) Superbalm during the day, either alone or as a very thin layer under gloss or lipstick.

    October 6, 2015/Reply
  6. Monica says:

    Seconding a cotton-pad with witch hazel after cleansing and in the morning. It’s great for making sure your hair line is clear of any product that you didn’t get rinsed off or hair products. I don’t spend a lot of money on it, it’s just a final cleans.

    October 6, 2015/Reply
  7. Valerie says:

    I asked Belle last month whether the Hourglass highlighter was worth splurging (v. saving on a drugstore version). I definitely think it is, especially if you’re very pale in fall/winter like me and never seem to master the different hues in a contouring palette (when someone else puts contouring powders on me, it looks fine, but when I try to use it on my own, I look like I’ve put on stage makeup).

    October 6, 2015/Reply
  8. Shanghai says:

    For flying, masks are great! If you don’t care about the stares, bring a sheet mask to wear. If you do care, try a “sleeping pack” instead. Sleeping packs are really common among Asian skin care brands. They’re called sleeping packs because they are gels or creams that are meant to be applied in a thick layer before bed, then washed off in the morning. Most can be layered on so that a thin layer will be totally transparent–like a very emollient moisturizer. Amazon is starting to carry more. My favorite is CosRX’s honey sleeping pack. On Amazon it’s called the “CosRX ultimate moisturizing honey overnight mask.” I’ve found that it goes on clear unless you apply a really really thick layer. It moisturizes so well!

    October 6, 2015/Reply
  9. Jenn S. says:

    Thirding the thought that, “strobing,” is a silly name. The mini hourglass ALP is beyond adorable, but I don’t know that the ALPs are best-suited for strobing, if you’re into that (I’m not). I think they might actually be too subtle.

    October 7, 2015/Reply