The Very Best Glitter Makeup, From Lip Balm To Eye Gems

Glitter makeup is hit or miss for me. Normally it's a hit when the application is light, well precise. It's funny, too, because I was talking to legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath recently and I figured out what makes her glitter makeup looks so good: there's a sense of restraint.
We're not doing sparkle for sparkle's sake, but instead using sparkly makeup as an accent — a dusting of shimmer over an ordinarily-bare eyelid that draws the eye like a gemstone earring (and a lot less expensive). Here, we give you the best of holiday makeup: glitter edition. If you're inspired to try a sparkle lip balm, we have a good one sourced from TikTok. If eyeshadow is more your speed, this is the palette to grab.

Shimmer lips

@rudiberry I personally think @beaubble and @ave have perfected this formula already 👀👀👀💋🍓😮‍💨 #glitterlips #glitterlipstick #glitterlipbalm #shimmerlips #macglitterlip ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys - Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey
You can try a glitter lip balm or a gold-tinted lip gloss, both make great layering pieces. Not to mention the fact that they’re fun to pull out of a purse and swipe on at drinks.
For where to start: I’ve heard fabulous things about the Beaubble x Avrey Diamond Cherry Balmshell, which is a sheer, shimmery balm. It's currently out of stock — Beaubble produces in limited quantities so the products are released on a drop cycle — but you can sign up to be notified when it’s back and grab it then. According to @rudiberry on TikTok, it's perfect for celebratory occasions outside of the holidays, like a birthday party. Another fan favorite is the Pat McGrath Labs glitter lipstick that has a bronze pearlescent tint that really grabs the flash of a camera. A cheaper option is the Winky Lux Glitter Balm Stain.

Face-gem eyeliner

For New Years Eve, instead of buying a sequin dress you'll realistically feel weird wearing anytime after January, consider a gemstone eye. It's festive, low stakes, and scratches a crafting itch (you have it, I swear). You can grab a pack on Amazon or Target, but we, at Refinery29, are huge fans of Euphoria makeup designer Donni Davy's line, Half Magic.
Davy created these face stud sticker packs that R29's Senior Editor Hannah Rimm raves are fantastic because they're tiny, reusable, and sticky. "I looooove the size range (tiny rhinies forever!), but what I think is best about them is how reusable they are," Rimm says. "I’ll get like 5-6 uses out of each rhinestone before they stop resticking and that’s mostly because I’m putting them on top of other makeup; if I was putting them on bare skin I could get even more use out of them. They also stay on so well, I wore them for our holiday party and put them on at 7 a.m. and they were still going strong when I got home at like 10:30 p.m."

Sequin lids

The eyelids might feel like the most obvious place to add glitter (personally, it's my comfort zone), but that doesn't lessen the impact. What you want is a glitter shadow. You can get it in a single pot or a palette. Here, Non-Professional MUA and Art Director @lavanyawiles uses a biodegradable glitter by DreamSQNS. However, if you're looking for the best eyeshadow formula out there, you'll find it in a Pat McGrath Lab palette. Which one? I'm partial to the brand's new collab with Star Wars. The five shades are velvet matte with fine-glitter pigments that you want to swipe your finger through. It's also a collector's item.

Velvet nails

@yodeebs sorry about my sick voice 🤧🫶 credit @heluviee #velvetnails ♬ original sound - Adeeba
Though not technically makeup, we can't leave the glitter conversation without mentioning the trending nail art of the holidays: the velvet manicure. The process involves a magnetic gel and you wield a magnet over the top and the glitter particles almost stand at attention. It's very cool to watch, but even more fun to wear.
We'd recommend bringing this inspiration to your nail salon, as it does involve a professional gel system that requires a lamp. However, a glitter or iridescent polish could get you close. Maybe a subtle sparkle is more your jam anyways, in which case, I'd recommend a just a simple sparkle polish. Like the holidays this year, glitter is just not that serious.
Shop good glitter makeup, below:
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