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Style & Beauty

How To Wear Glitter Makeup, According To Pro Makeup Artists

“We are going for sparkle, not full-out Christmas robot.”

Nothing says holiday makeup quite like a little sparkle.

Maybe it’s because it represents the magic of the holidays. Or perhaps it’s because glitter is just downright fun. Whatever the reason, sparkles and glitter have become a holiday staple.

And while you may think wearing sparkles, particularly on the face, is only for the bold, think again. It’s definitely possible to wear glittering, sparkly makeup without looking too costumey or over-the-top. And glittery makeup is a great option for anyone who wants to look a little festive without having to wear sequins (another holiday go-to).

We asked makeup artists to share their top tips for wearing glitter makeup this holiday season. Check them out:

1. Pick one glitter accent and stick to it.

“Good glitter makeup is definitely tricky,” Gloria Elias-Foeillet, a celebrity makeup artist who works with Missy Elliott, told HuffPost. “I would pick one feature to glitter up and just stick to that. If you use glitter everywhere, it starts looking like a costume instead of a chic fashion look.”

For instance, you can go with a glitter lip, à la Jeremy Scott’s spring 2019 runway show, or try sparkly eye makeup, as seen in Ulla Johnson’s fall 2018 show.

“If I were to do metallic or glittery lips, let that be a statement and not a distraction,” said makeup artist Mimi Johnson, whose celebrity clients include Angela Simmons and Kenya Moore. “If you watched the runway for 2019, you witnessed a lot of clean skin with either statement eyes or statement lips, not both.”

“You don’t want to look like a glitter disco ball!” she added.

Morgane Martini, who’s done makeup for Ashley Graham, agreed too, telling HuffPost that, although there are no real rules for wearing glitter, she likes keeping the focus on the eyes.

A model with a face covered in glitter at the Giambattista fall 2018 ready-to-wear show in Paris. If you don't want to look like a disco ball, this is probably a look you should avoid. 
A model with a face covered in glitter at the Giambattista fall 2018 ready-to-wear show in Paris. If you don't want to look like a disco ball, this is probably a look you should avoid. 

2. Keep things balanced.

If you want to wear glitter on more than one spot on your face, just keep things balanced. That is, if you have a super-bold sparkly lip or eye, maybe keep your highlight a little more subtle. Makeup artist Beau Nelson, who’s worked with Kate Bosworth and Kristen Stewart, warned, “We are going for sparkle, not full-out Christmas robot.”

Johnson added, “Unless you’re going to Coachella, I’d skip on highlight overload. As long as you bring balance with your makeup application and not just randomly place it all over, you can still execute a gorgeous highlight along with a gorgeous glittery eye.”

3. If you don’t want to be too bold, stick to neutrals.

A glittery look can be a big statement for some people, especially those who typically wear little to no makeup. The easiest way to dip your toes into the trend is to stick with muted, neutral, shimmery tones.

“I think if you’re nervous, stick to a neutral color, like a bronze or black glitter,” Blair Petty, a New York-based makeup artist, said. One of his favorite glitter products is MAC’s Reflect glitter, which comes in a variety of colors.

“Glitter is already a strong statement in itself, so no need to go for an extreme color as well!” Martini said. “I love adding a touch of glitter on the eyes with more subtle shades, like white, beige, copper, brown, etc.”

Nelson also noted that neutral shade,s like flesh tones and bronzes, “are flattering to everyone” and said that if you already know you look good in a certain eyeshadow color, “you’ll most likely enjoy a similar glitter tone.”

4. Apply sparkly eye makeup before everything else.

While we’re fans of a finished sparkly makeup look, we hate how messy the application process can be.

One way to cut down on all the glitter fallout ― i.e. when you apply sparkly eyeshadow and end up with the product all over the rest of your face ― is to do your eye makeup first. Most of the makeup artists we spoke to recommended this method, which will save you time and make it easy to keep things looking neat.

Kaia Gerber walking the runway with some very glittery eye makeup at the Valentino spring 2019 show in Paris. 
Kaia Gerber walking the runway with some very glittery eye makeup at the Valentino spring 2019 show in Paris. 

5. If you do end up with stray glitter, use tape to get rid of it.

Both Elias-Foeillet and Nelson suggested using Scotch tape to remove any of the loose sparkles that fall onto your face during application. Elias-Foeillet also said she sometimes uses a little bit of cleansing water.

6. Try using a cosmetic glitter glue for maximum hold.

If you want your glitter to last all night, Petty suggested using a glitter glue ― you can buy cosmetic ones ― to help hold everything in place. Elias-Foeillet agreed, saying she uses glitter glue or mixing medium before applying glitter “so it has something to stick to.”

Martini also suggested using a setting spray once you’ve finished your whole look to keep things in place.

7. Avoid applying glitter on the waterline.

Unless you want to scratch your eyes, Nelson suggested avoiding glitter makeup along the waterline. Much of it is textured, and our eye area is extra sensitive, so anything too rough could be irritating.

Martini also warned against using craft glitter (like the stuff you buy at art supply stores) on your eyes.

“The eyes are very sensitive, and if it’s not cosmetic glitter, it can be dangerous to apply them inside your eyes,” she said.

Both she and Johnson suggested using glitter eyeliners instead. Martini’s go-tos are the Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Glam Glitter gel eyeliner pencils, which she said are safe for the waterline. Johnson said she likes Urban Decay’s glitter liner and the NYX glitter liner for use above or directly below the eyelid.

Vintage Holiday Party Style