Grown-up Glitter: Tips and Tricks
If the word “glitter” makes you think of fairy-dust, arts ‘n’ craft, and all things generally associated with “little girl”, you may want to rethink how to use it.
When done right, glitter can be dramatic and eye-catching, but still sophisticated and grown-up.
The trick is to pack it tight so it has an intense, foiled-metal look. This maximizes the contrast with the rest of your skin (which is ideally very clean and sparkle-free), and will not look like you’ve doused yourself in your niece’s art supplies.
Glitter is not easy to work with, so if you’re thinking of giving it a go for Halloween or just any party, here are some general tips for getting that really intense, foiled look above:
Silicone-based primers like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance are good for eye shadow pigments, but NOT necessarily for loose glitter as they are not “tacky” enough. Some people apply gloss on the lids, but I don’t like how the glitter tends to shift and crease after you blink a few times. Others like using lash glue, but it can pill, flake, and be a general pain to remove.
My solution? Clear brow gel. Cheap, portable, and works like a dream, lasts so much better than water-based mixing mediums, and easy to remove.
Look for a formula that includes carnauba, which is a wax that will set and lock your glitter in place.
Just pat it onto your lids in a thin even layer, let it set just a little so it’s still moist but already getting a bit tacky (they don’t usually set for about a minute), before gently pressing glitter on gently with a flat brush. You will need to press on in patches. DO NOT SWEEP OR RUB.
To see how foiled it looks, here is a shot of glittery lids in in-door fluorescent light.
Glitter is made of plastic mostly, except for expensive mineral ones. For a really fine-grained and foiled look, get glitter that is no larger than 200 microns (about .005 squares). Bigger bits don’t stay on well, fall out onto your cheeks, don’t feel as comfortable to wear, and are much harder to pack tightly together, but they do tend to be more obvious than smaller particles.
Most art store glitters are usually too large and not safe to wear around the eyes, although that doesn’t stop most people.
Glitter comes in a whole gamut of colors other than pale pink, pale yellow and pale blue. I went for a golden bronze just to show how a glittery texture looks in a warm and less “girly” color. But use whatever color you love!
All colors tend to work quite nicely with the exception of black. It always looks like SUCH a good idea in the jar, and then just weird and tacky on the face. I call them the little jars of black madness, because all it looks like is eye shadow or mascara fall-out on your skin, and BEGS to be wiped off.
Final word; Don’t bother with black because it doesn’t reflect enough light to sparkle anyway.
Glitter does not adhere in a thick, opaque layer so when you apply it normally, you get sparkle all over your face.
The best way to intensify the color over your entire lid without losing the sparkle is to mix micro-glitter with equal parts eye shadow of the same shade. What I used was a sparkly bronze pigment, mixed in with bronze glitter (Coastal Scents Sahara Sand). When the glitter is fine enough, you don’t need to worry about it separating from the shadow easily, or not showing up when applied.
Other Tips For Getting It Right:
- Don’t forget to define your lash line with strong liner and lashes.
- Pack, don’t sweep glitter pigments over your base. This gives maximum impact.
- Cleanse with an oil-based remover as this removes everything fastest and in the most gentle manner. If you can’t get everything clean in one round, just repeat your washing routine once more. Don’t rub your skin harder to get everything off, as some glitter flecks can be abrasive.
- Keep the rest of your makeup simple. Glittery lids plus glittery lips can be tacky.
- Apply liner after. Gel and liquid liners tend to work the best over glittery makeup, but do make sure you clean off the brush a bit before dipping it back into the pot, especially if you did not use a strong base, and the glitter came off on your brush.