Glitter eyeshadow is the makeup beast every fashionista needs to conquer. Sparkly eye makeup can vary in intensity and be considered a perfectly flexible way to show off your love of glitter and glam. You do not have to have the past life of the last unicorn to pull this off, just a steady hand and few tutorials and recommendations that we are happy to provide.
Plenty of influencers have already mentioned their intention to wear glitter eyeshadow year-round. Glitter can be messy, there is no denying that, but there are ways to apply it without making a mess. There are tips for making sure it stays put and even tips on how to remove sparkly eyeshadow without covering your surroundings with glitter.
The allure of glitter eye makeup can be yours with a deft hand, a bit of practice and some information on how to apply glitter eyeshadow. Read on for the glitter makeup tips and tricks you’ll need!
Glitter Eyeshadow Makeup Guide: Contents
• Types of Glitter Eyeshadow
• Glitter Eye Makeup Tutorial: How to Apply Glitter Eyeshadow Mess-Free
• How to Remove Glitter Eye Makeup
• How to Wear Sparkly Eyeshadow: Dos and Don’ts You Should Follow
• 13 Best Glitter Eyeshadows to Get Now
Proper glitter eyeshadow application requires a bit of finesse. The difference in application is based on the type of glitter eyeshadow you wear. There are four types of glitter eyeshadow.
1. Loose Pigmented Glitter Eyeshadow is the best of both worlds. Each container will have eyeshadow pigment and glitter thoroughly mixed together for a more natural shine and a spectacular amount of color on application.
2. Loose Glitter is usually just the reflective glitter in whatever color you chose. This option can typically be layered onto an existing look or mixed into anything that you want to have a bit of extra sparkle to it. CAUTION: Loose glitter worn as makeup MUST be cosmetic grade glitter, which is designed for this type of wear. Wearing glitter that is not designed for this purpose has caused medical problems, cuts and more to the face, skin, and eyes.
3. Pressed Powder Cream Glitter is a hybrid that feels like a cream upon application – usually smooth and soft. When a hybrid pressed powder and cream glitter dries, it feels and stays like a powder.
4. Cream Glitter is just a creamy base with glitter in it. The cream may have the color mixed in or not, but the application requires care for it to be applied and to dry smoothly.
Glitter eye makeup can be done several different ways. The best way is the mess-free way that lasts the longest. Mess-free glitter eye makeup is possible, and easy once you know what you’re doing.
First, you have to choose your style. Everything from a smokey eye to a dramatic cut crease can be done in glitter. Steady hands and a bit of practice will allow you to create any look you want.
To Prime or Not to Prime?
Wearing makeup primer is a choice, not a necessity. You can use your foundation as the base for the glitter eyeshadow (any of the four types). If you prefer a more organic look, apply your choice of glitter directly and enjoy! Be aware that the look will be more randomized and subtle. Additionally, the glitter eye makeup look you design is not likely to last as long as if you did use a primer.
Using a primer is a better option. Primers are designed to give your makeup a smooth surface for your makeup to adhere to evenly. Your glitter eyeshadow will adhere better, your look will last longer, and the colors and glitter will show more vibrantly against your skin.
Certain eye makeup primers are better for one look than another. One that is designed like an adhesive specifically for glitter eyeshadows will not only hold whatever glitter you are choosing to use in place, but will also give a boost to the color of any pigment. A more lightweight glitter eye makeup primer is designed to give you a more even, adhesive surface for a softer sparkly look.
White Base or Black Base?
A white base allows colors to shine more vibrantly and be truer in appearance to what it is in the container or in the pan.
A black base allows for more saturated, richer colors. The colors look deeper so if you intend to go for a moody, sparkly smokey eye, a black base is a good option.
How to Apply Loose Sparkly Eyeshadow and Loose Pigmented Shadow Glitter
Loose glitter is the culprit of most glitter messes. Of all the options, loose glitter eyeshadow has a greater tendency to fall off the eyelid. When applying loose glitter eyeshadow, a bit of prep is required. Fortunately, both versions of loose glitter work essentially the same way.
1. Place a small amount of glitter in the lid or on a clean surface.
2. If you are wearing shadow beneath your loose glitter, apply your primer first. Apply your shadows and blend for your desired look from a smokey eye to an artistic sweep. If you aren’t wearing an eyeshadow, skip this step.
3. Apply a thin layer of cosmetic glitter glue/ adhesive to your eyelid with your finger or applicator.
4. Hold a folded tissue beneath your lower lid, against your cheek to catch any falling glitter.
5. Use a flat shadow brush (for precision), a small, damp fluffy brush (for full lid coverage) or your finger and tap it in the loose glitter. Shake off the excess, and apply it to your eyelid. Repeat until the desired effect is achieved
How to Apply Cream Glitter and Pressed Powder Cream Glitter Eyeshadow
Both cream glitter and pressed powder cream glitter eyeshadows go on very smoothly and adhere in place. Once the glitter is on, you only have about half a minute to build or blend as needed to create the look you want.
1. Apply your primer.
2. Apply your base shadow and define your intended look (smokey, cut crease, etc.).
3. Highlight your brow bone and the inner corner of your eye.
4. Apply your cream liner in dots, and then blend out, building the layers if you need to and blending as you need to.
5. Apply your eyeliner.
6. Add any falsies, if you are aiming for an intense look.
7. Top everything off with mascara.
Removing glitter eye makeup is not as easy as just washing your face. Because of the texture that most glitter eyeshadows have, even the ultra-fine type, you can scratch your liner or even make your eyelid raw.
Be careful, and do your best not to fall asleep in your glitter makeup. My biggest suggestion is to use olive oil or coconut oil on a damp cotton makeup pad, hold it over the glitter makeup for a few seconds, and then remove the glitter in soft, gentle swipes.
If you prefer to use an eye makeup remover, make certain it is an oil-based one for the best results. If you don’t have a brand in mind, olive oil and coconut oil are always best!
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to remove the glitter eyeshadow safely.
• cotton balls or cotton rounds,
• an oil based cleanser, olive or coconut oil
1. Dampen (not soak) you cotton pad.
2. Put a bit of oil or oil-based cleanser on the pad.
3. Hold the pad to your eyelid for a few seconds to loosen the adhesive.
4. Lightly smooth the cotton across the lid.
5. Repeat as necessary until the glitter eyeshadow is removed.
6. Rinse your face.
If you have a complicated nighttime skincare routine, remember to treat the removal of the glitter eye makeup as a separate thing. Even if there is an eye makeup removal step, it is important to pay extra attention to removing your glitter eye makeup. This is not somewhere that you want to make a mistake – you definitely do not want glitter in your eye, or on your partner or all over your bed. Try your best not to just use makeup wipes.
• Do your eye makeup first, as glitter has a tendency to be messy, and the look will be diffused if the glitter is not only where you intended. Once your eyes are perfect, do the rest of your foundation, contouring and so on.
• Never underestimate the beauty of glittery cat eye makeup – just outline, fill with gel liner and tap glitter on before it dries.
• When doing your glitter eye makeup look, put your mascara on last so the glitter does not stick to it.
• Use a large fan brush to lightly flick away any glitter that fell on different parts of your face during application.
• Daytime sparkly eye makeup looks are best on neutral or natural color makeup.
• Nighttime looks can benefit from a bit of glitter-touched somewhere else for a balancing effect. Try glitter lips or cheekbones.
• If you are doing a cut crease, use a matte shade for the cut crease or use the glitter for the cut crease, but not both.
• If some glitter has hit your cheeks or fallen out of place while you are out, use a bit of tape or a clean spoolie to pick it off without having to redo your whole look.
• Don’t over accessorize your eyes.
• Mini jewels are still in the glitter family, and perfect placement will still sparkle beautifully.
• Consider brushing a tiny bit of shadow into your brows.
• If you don’t want glitter in your brows, use glitter as a highlight for your cheekbones.
• Consider wearing glitter nail polish to match your sparkly eyeshadow.
Below are a few of our favorite glitter eyeshadows to create the sparkling look you really want. We included several different kinds, even an amazing palette. Do you have a favorite to recommend? Let us know in the comments!
1. Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Gold Goddess
Stila’s Gold Goddess glitter liquid eyeshadow shines brilliantly thanks to the water infused textured sparkle. The glitter and pearl combination glides onto the skin, adhering smoothing and minimizing fallout for extended wear. You can get yours at Sephora.
2. Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Full Metal Shadow in Onde Sable
One of the best glitter eyeshadows, this one is a soft creamy color that packs a stunning amount of sparkle in each swipe of the blendable formula. The Onde Sable is a neutral shade that is blendable, buildable and can even be used as a sparkling liner. Pick one up for yourself at Net-a-Porter.
3. Lime Crime Diamond Dew Liquid Eyeshadow in Rose Goals
Lime Crime’s sparkly liquid eyeshadows are brilliantly shiny and metallic with a smooth applicator. Rose Goals is a stunning pigmented color that is beneficial for all skin tones. These are only available online at Ulta Beauty.
4. MAC Pigment in Kitschmas
MAC Pigment is always highly concentrated but loose enough to go from being a way of sparkling, glittering color to an intense, prismatic, light-reflecting application. You can apply it with a wet or dry brush, and it will last for hours without diminishing. It uses special ingredients to help it adhere to skin but is easy to blend as needed. Pick one up for yourself at Nordstrom.
5. Too Faced Pure Gold Ultra Fine Face & Body Glitter
Too Faced’s ultra-fine loose glitter can be worn on the eyes, face or lips and is infused with real gold. The formula is buildable to allow for use as a highlight or a high-impact, eye-catching sparkle wherever you place it. You can get one for yourself from Sephora.
6. Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art in Topaz Twinkle
This glitter eyeshadow is meant for a lid, line and lash, and is a dual-ended set. On one end is a deeply pigmented cream eyeshadow, and on the other stunning, bright sparkles. The applicator for the cream shadow allows for smooth application, while the sparkling end has a slim brush applicator to allow the glitter to be added as a liner, on the tips of the lashes or on the lid. Pick up a dual-ended glitter eye makeup set for yourself at Ulta!
7. Make Up For Ever Glitter Finish Eyeshadow in Celestial Earth
Make Up For Ever’s glitter eyeshadows are incredibly pigmented, offering amazing color with more than a hint of sparkle to accentuate each shade. Celestial Earth is a stunning copper brown that shimmers from every angle. You can purchase yours at Sephora.
8. Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eyeshadow in Silver Lilac
Bobbi Brown’s Silver Lilac sparkly eyeshadow is one of the best glitter eyeshadows thanks to its versatility and clear shadow base. It can easily be added over another eyeshadow to give a bit of sparkle to the look. The prismatic shimmer is due to flat shaped pearl in the shadow. The soft look is ideal to keep the glitter from being overpowering. It’s available through Nordstrom.
9. Make Up For Ever Glitters in Midnight Glow Gun Metal
Make Up For Ever has a versatile face and body glitter that appears to shimmer and glow in even the lowest of light. Application only requires patting the glitter onto the skin with a wet brush, and it lasts a long time. The glitter is lightweight and can even be mixed into lip gloss. You can order yours right from Sephora.
10. Burberry Beauty Shimmer Dust in Gold Glitter
Burberry’s Shimmer Dust is a loose glitter shadow inspired by sequins. This glitter can be worn on the body or on the eyes if carefully applied and held in place. The gold shines brilliantly, just like sequins, and the loose glitter comes in a small Burberry branded pot that you can purchase at Net-a-Porter.
11. Urban Decay Liquid Moondust Eyeshadow in Zap
Urban Decay’s glitter eyeshadow can be swiped on smoothly thanks to the creamy liquid glitter formula. The formula is designed to dry and stay put within 30 seconds, so you have that window of time to blend as needed once you apply it. You can get it from Nordstrom.
12. Too Faced Glitter Bomb Prismatic Glitter Eyeshadow Palette
Too Faced’s Glitter Bomb eyeshadow collection is the glitter eyeshadow palette you want for all the occasions where you want to dazzle and sparkle. The palette has 8 different mega sparkling eyeshadow shades, a brightening base and an intensifying base. Get your palette at Too Faced!
13. MAC Le Disko Dazzleshadow Eyeshadow in She Sparkles
MAC’s Le Disko Dazzleshadow sparkly eyeshadows are textured to feel like the perfect combination of cream and powder. The glittering eyeshadow goes on smooth, and the color is buildable. The formula works best over a primer, but still looks dazzling when blended onto lids alone or with a brush. Get yours at Nordstrom!