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What Exactly Is Hair Strobing?

We previously introduced you to the art of hair contouring, and now hair strobing is hot on its heels. For those who still can’t make the distinction between the two techniques when it comes to makeup, or don’t understand how this differs from regular highlights, we’re here to break it down for you.

<> at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on July 21, 2015 in New York City.

Cara Delevingne

Pioneered by the likes of Cara Delevingne and Gigi Hadid (who has had a big few days between this and fooling the whole world into thinking she had short hair), hair strobing could very well be the future of hair colouring, presenting the evolution of highlights into this more sophisticated form. “People are asking about it a lot more and they come to you because they want you to tell them,” shared O&M Credit Director Lucie Summer Hamilton, so you best stay informed.


Gigi Hadid. Image via marie claire

Let’s start from the beginning – contouring on the face utilises shades both two tones too dark and two tones too light in order to lighten or shade particular features. Strobing focuses on the ‘lightening’ part, tactically highlighting features such as the cheekbone, temples and bridge of the nose to enhance the face’s natural features. This technique can be utilised to brighten the eyes, enhance the cheek bones, sculpt the nose and emphasise the lips, and hair strobing applies this principle to the hair.

Celebrity colourist Daniel Moon told Good Housekeeping that this more strategic approach to highlighting extends the process from two primary steps to three. “It’s accomplished by applying wider strips of colour for dimension and contrast, using colors that are two shades lighter and two shades darker than the natural hair colour,” he said. “After you do the toning and highlighting process, you go back again and highlight to accentuate and build dimension.”


Image via Good Housekeeping

Lucie revealed that she has cut down on her traditional highlighting services as the process has evolved to involve more freehand techniques and these strobing and contouring hair trends. “It’s obviously personalised to each individual client, you’re looking at lightening around the eyes, then that helps to lift the cheekbones and widen the eyes,” she shared.

“It’s about making sure that you’re getting the best out of your colour, you are highlighting those areas that you want to make pop a bit more,” she continued. “Your regular highlights are more of a natural, all over sort of feel, whereas this is a bit more tailored, and accentuating the best bits of the face.”


Gigi Hadid

With supermodels singing its praises and clients now requesting it more and more, trends like hair strobing truly present the evolution of commercial colour, and in our minds, progression of any kind is a positive.

“It’s beautiful, it’s really beautiful colour,” Lucie says to all the sceptics out there. “I definitely love this trend; I’m trying to grow my hair out at the moment so I can get it done!”

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