If there’s one makeup look to keep in your back pocket, it’s a glitter eyeshadow look. Whether you’re looking forward to a special occasion, you have tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour (jealous!), or you just want to strut your stuff around town with a glam look, knowing how to nail a glitter eye look is a makeup skill that’s a lot easier to learn than it appears. We reached out to makeup artists for a step-by-step breakdown that even beginners can follow.
Read on for our best tips on how to create a glittery eye look, complete with product and tool recommendations. And if you’re not ready for full-on glitter but want a little sparkle, we have some shimmery shadows and shadow stick product recommendations, too!
About the Expert:
As with all makeup products, there are so many different types of glitter to choose from. To decide what kind of glitter is right for your makeup look, it really comes down to personal preference. “There are powder eyeshadows that are made of pressed glitter pigments, as well as liquid or cream products that apply and then dry down on the skin,” says Alex Levy, celebrity makeup artist.
Pressed or loose glitter pigments are generally very pigmented and very glittery, but more challenging to work with due to application and fallout. Liquid or cream products that dry down tend to be easier to apply with doe foot wands, since the formula sets and stays put.
You might be able to get away without an eyeshadow primer on most days, but with glitter eyeshadow looks, a primer is an absolute necessity. You need something for the glitter pieces to grip and stick to! And greasy (or worse, completely dehydrated) eyelids won’t cut it.
“Depending on the product, applying some sort of base will allow the glitter to adhere to the skin more easily. A base with some sort of lighter shade can help knock down the natural color of your eyelids and can help your shadows and glitters present more true to color,” says Levy.
THE BEAUTY CROP Eye Lift 360° Waterproof Primer™ is one of our favorite products to use (an IPSY members agree!). It’s tried and true with its tough grip, and the beige tint helps even out the tone across your lids.
The best way to prevent fallout is to use an under-eye mask to catch all those falling pieces. Prepare your under eyes with a mask like the GENERATION SKIN Brightening Kakadu Plum Eye Patches, which also uses a combo of hyaluronic acid and kakadu plum extract to help plump and brighten your under-eye skin for a wide-awake look. Also, they make a killer guide for a clean winged eyeliner and are perfect for catching pesky mascara flakes.
“Pressing powder products onto the skin rather than buffing, and applying some sort of base to the eye for product to adhere to, helps prevent fallout from your glitter. When in doubt, scotch tape can remove any fallout if any accidents happen,” says Levy.
When it comes to glitter makeup, there are endless options—but choosing the right kind of product to make your eyes pop and nail the look that you’re after is key.
“For powder products, building intensity with patting motions rather than rubbing or buffing will allow for the product to layer more easily without creating a mess of glitter and pigment fallout,” says Levy. HOURGLASS Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadow is a cult-favorite option. It’s highly pigmented and is considered a hybrid powder and light cream formula. JUVIA’S PLACE also has a ton of excellent pressed glitter eyeshadow palettes that Levy recommends and uses on his clients.
Cream products are some of our favorites to use. They’re not as messy as you’d think, and they’re actually relatively easy to apply since the formula is so forgiving. “Creams can be more easily manipulated as they dry down, so blending to create layers of sheer color can be done depending on the product,” adds Levy.
Another way to use cream shadows are for cut-crease definition and looks. It’s so easy to add a second color with a cream product on a cut-crease eyeshadow brush and buff it into the eyelid. “Brands like DANESSA MYRICKS and ABOUT-FACE carry cream-based glitters and pigments that are easy to apply, blend, and avoid the mess of fallout,” says Levy.
For a glittery look, you don’t need fancy brushes. Sometimes it’s better to have a light hand when laying down and smudging cream glitter products with your fingers.
“For powder glitter, I would use dense and more flat brushes that will press into the skin and pick up the powder without it getting lost in between the bristles. You can also use your fingers to press glitter onto the skin or swipe across to create a foil-like effect. For creams or liquid, more loosely packed eyeshadow brushes can be used to blend before the product dries down, and fingers can be used as well for on the go,” notes Levy.
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