First, the strobing makeup trend was born as a more natural way to accentuate features than highlighting and contouring. Now, hair is getting in on the strobing action, too, as a way to add shimmer and lighter shades that accent the positive.
The technique adds “shimmer” to hair the same way as one would highlight and contour the face. The highlight is added to areas where the sun would naturally hit on strands, followed by creating contrast and dimension with color choices that are two shades lighter and two shades darker. “Strobing has allowed us the ability to not only personalize each individual's hair color to them, but to cater to their specific face shape and style for the best possible results," says Amanda May, colorist at Alibi Salon in New York. "Someone with amazing cheek bones and eyes, for example, would have more and higher placement of color around the face and highest point of the cheek bone to draw attention, 'highlighting' these areas.”
This might sound similar to ordinary highlights and lowlights, but strobing has an end result that’s tailored uniquely to you, putting your best features in the spotlight. “Traditional highlights can give a more saturated effect, and although very similar to strobing, balayage can be very soft and blended or have an all-around lighter look with a softer and more natural growing out period. Strobing is the intentional placement of light and dark color, meant to enhance and bring out the best of one's features and hide or downplay the not-so-favorite areas,” says May.
Color trends often can be intimidating, but perhaps strobing’s biggest benefit is that the method is versatile and works for long or short styles. May says that while long hair has more room for adding multiple dimensions that make an impact without going overboard, on shorter hair the technique can make certain areas the focal point or distract the eye from other spots.
Derby notes that Gigi Hadid, Suki Waterhouse, Jourdan Dunn, and Perrie Edwards are perfect examples of celebrities working the strobing trend. It may not be the most drastic color transformation, but if you’re looking for a change that’s a natural upgrade of your current hue, get into the light and give strobing a try.