MAC Unsung Heroes: Strobe Cream

Published in: Face, MAC Makeup, Unsung Heroes

MAC Strobe Cream

Since I’ve been wearing MAC Strobe Cream ($29.50) practically every day since November, I figured it was high time I gave this bad boy some official Unsung Heroes love. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I can’t leave home without it!


Strobe, a permanent member of Team MAC, resides under the Moisturizers section of MAC’s skin care line, where I’m sure it illuminates the place because that’s what it does. Worn alone or beneath foundation, it adds a very subtle brighting sheen to the skin — an opalescent glow, subtle, and more like pearls bathed in candlelight than sequins caught in the spotlight.

While I do find it to be moisturizing, by itself, it’s not quite moisturizing enough for my combination dry/oily skin, so I apply it on top of a helper product like Clarins Hydraquench. If you have normal to oily skin, however, you should be just fine without a helper.

Oh, and if Strobe feels too heavy for you, MAC also has a lighter version called Strobe Liquid, also $29.50.

MAC Strobe Cream back

MAC Strobe Cream

MAC Strobe Cream unblended (left) and blended (right)

I think it gives dimension to my skin and makes me look well rested and refreshed…like I got a facial and a deep tissue massage at a spa.

And it looks great in pictures, too. You know how some matte foundations can leave skin looking flat? MAC Strobe does the opposite. It makes skin reflect just enough light to look more alive.


It doesn’t look or feel greasy, either, and has yet to cause a single breakout (knock on wood).

I’m kicking myself (right this very second, LOL!) for not trying MAC Strobe sooner. Now it’s on my “Products I Would Freak Out About If They Were Discontinued” list. Thank goodness it’s part of the permanent collection.

You can find Strobe at MAC counters, in stores and at

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


The MAC Unsung Heroes series features some of my favorite products from MAC’s permanent collection


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So far, 35 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. rose says:

    wow i love to have that bad boy Karen, expensive for me ugh:(

  2. i’ve been wanting to try this for a while now but i keep forgetting to grab one :p.

    thanks for the reminder, karen 🙂
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … Urban Decays 24-7 Glide-On Eye Pencil In Zero Is A Must Have!

  3. Kate Williamson says:

    Does this have any primer qualities? I only ask because if I were to add this to my makeup routine, that would be a lot of steps. I am wondering if I can use this instead of my primer. Otherwise, I would be layering on eye cream, moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, Strobe Cream, then foundation. Whew!

    • Anne says:

      I’m wondering the same thing — do you still need primer if you put this on? And if yes, what order?

      • Sam says:

        This stuff is just like a moisturiser, but with a pearlized finish. It’s certainly not a lotion-type primer. So, you’d use this in place of a moisturiser if you have oily-normal skin, or mixed in with a heavier moisturiser if you have dry skin. (Btw, moisturiser ALWAYS comes before primer, never after.)

        Two other ways to use this are mixed in with your foundation to give yourself an all-over glow (though this *will* sheer down the coverage…) or patted onto the high points of the face (cheekbones, chin, nose, forehead, browbone, etc.) after foundation application but before powder (to act as a more muted version of something like Benefit High-Beam)

        If you plan to mix this into your foundation, I’d advise looking more towards the Strobe Liquid, as it’s much less viscous.
        Sam recently posted … Can I Have a Redo

  4. vonnie says:

    ooooh that sounds like heaven! pearls bathing in the moonlight, yesssssssss
    vonnie recently posted … More Crackle Manicures

  5. Phyrra says:

    Wow, Strobe cream is beautiful!
    Phyrra recently posted … Morgana Cryptoria Full Moon Sale

  6. Jeni says:

    I really like Mac Strobe Cream, but it has pore-clogging ingredients in it, and I broke out from it:( If I wasn’t prone to acne I would be using it! I will have to look up the ingredients for the Strobe Liquid.
    Jeni recently posted … Addicted To Lip Balm

  7. Emily says:

    I have really wanted to try this product, I will def. have to pick it up now! Thanks for the review!
    Emily recently posted … Garnier Nutritionists Skin Renew Anti-Dark-Circle Rollerball

  8. Wow, I am really going to have to try this. Most things I try make my face look like a big shimmer bomb, even layered under foundation. This looks just perfect. Know what would be cool? If hey made a Strobe Cream with SPF. I would really jump all over that… it would mean less steps in the morning!
    Jessi (Lacquered, Painted, Polished) recently posted … China Glaze Rated Holographic

  9. AtelierGal says:

    Swatches look good! I love highlighters that give me a dewy finish but it also means making me look extra oily, given my combination skin. Let’s see if Blot Powder can be a good buddy!
    AtelierGal recently posted … Sometimes I get a little blue

  10. Cristina says:

    Hi! I have it! and rarely use it, cause I forget!!! But know I will put a post it on my MS..
    I have dry skin, I Think that If I use it under Foundation will cover the glow! Can I use it over my F???

  11. applepark says:

    I loves me some Strobe Cream too. I tried the Liquid version and don’t like it as much. I have actually started using Nars Brightening Serum over Strobe Cream recently because I enjoy its texture more and feel as if it has more skincare “good for you” ingredients. But the negative is that it’s more expensive.

    I am with you that Strobe Cream needs more praise! Hooray Strobe Cream!
    applepark recently posted … La La La Bella Bamba Blush by Benefit! Swatches- Photos and Review

  12. Melody says:

    I’ve been curious about this stuff for a while. The liquid might be better for me since the Texas heat causes cream products to suffocate my skin. Do you find that a tube lasts a good while?

  13. Silva says:

    I’ve never heard of it, but now I want it!
    Silva recently posted … China Glaze Ruby Pumps

  14. Tiffany says:

    I love this stuff and have been using it for years! I still have one if the old style tubes for back to MAC! I’m thinking of getting the liquid too just to be able to mix it up.

  15. Shirley says:

    Strobe Cream fans, do you ladies use it as a moisturizer under foundation or as a targeted highlighter for cheekbones over foundation? Thanks! I’m thinking about hitting my MAC counter soon…

  16. Cassie says:

    Ooh, it does look pretty. Is it more of a cosmetics type product, or does it actually have some skin nourishing property? It looks quite similar to the Nars illuminators. Perhaps mix with current moisturiser instead?
    Cassie recently posted … Moroccan Oil review

  17. TJ says:

    I tried this on the recommendation of a friend and I LOVE it. It gives me just enough healthy glow and energy. It looks so good, I’ve even been able to go out without foundation (I’m a product junkie so that’s saying something) and feel good and look good too.

  18. I´m so glad I came across this! This is actually a product I´ve been thinking of getting for a really long time. I´m definitely checking it out now! Thank you sweetie 🙂

  19. Aida says:

    I love it and thinking about the liquid version, wondering if it just as good.
    By the way is there a section: nars unsung heroes? I would love that

  20. Victoria says:

    I don’t know why, but seeing this cream kinda makes me want to go fist pump!

    So how about this “Products I Would Freak Out About If They Were Discontinued” list? Sounds intriguing! Tell me more!


  21. Nina says:

    i have no idea why i havent used strobe. i should check this out … maybe w/ my mac giftcard that ive requested from my sister on my birthday. 🙂

  22. amy says:

    A few years back, I used to love Strobe Cream and I used it quite often, but when I finished my last tube, I never bought another tube and forgot about it. Thanks for renewing and reminding about this gem. I would need to check out the lotion version because I don’t know it even existed. 🙂
    amy recently posted … The Body Shop Baked to Last Blush Duo in Coral

  23. Meghan says:

    I HAVE to try this!!
    Meghan recently posted … A review- NYX eyeshadow trio

  24. Krissy says:

    I use MAC Strobe Liquid and love it! I mix it with my foundation to add a little coverage.

  25. kelley says:

    i have this in a pink tint and OMG best mac cream/luminazier/face brightering-glow in a tube 🙂 lol

  26. Yash says:

    Can I use Mac strobe cream as a night cream plz help me

  27. Leizel says:

    How long does a tube last you? 50ml (for $40 CDN) seems stingy on MAC’s part… especially if I were to use this everyday ‘coz who wouldn’t want to be fabulous everyday?!

  28. glittergirl says:

    I want to try this out but I’m thinking it might be too much to incorporate in my daily skin/makeup routine.

    1.) After moisturiser i would use the colour mac corrector primer in illuminate.

    2.) Then i would use a little bella-pierre primer and

    3.) Then a foundtion or bb cream on top.

    I’m concerned that i would applying too many layers on my face making an overload of mess!
    At which stage would i use the strobe cream and is it mixble with moisturisers and foundations?

  29. Gina says:

    I really want to try this!! Do you think it would work well with Mac Studio Sculpt since it is gel based??
    Gina recently posted … Christmas love #2: cheesy jumpers..

  30. Irene says:

    If i have liquid sunblock, which one is More recommended? The cream or the liquid? FYI my moisturizer is Creme de LaMer. Which already very moist.
    Thank you

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