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If there’s one recent beauty trend I’ve embraced wholeheartedly, it’s glittery eye makeup. It’s shiny. It’s beautiful. It puts me in touch with my inner child who secretly wants to be a magical, sparkly fairy. Do I end up spotting rogue pieces of glitter on my face for days afterward? Usually. But the joy a sparkly eye look brings me is undoubtedly worth it.
In true Lauren fashion, I couldn’t just stop at the first shiny eye product I liked. No, I’ve been on a quest to try just about every liquid glitter, sparkling pigment, and shimmery shadow I could get my hands on. Some of them have been downright beautiful, and others downright disappointing. And today, I’m recapping my thoughts for you on all of them.
Liquid Glitter Shadows & Liners
Generally I’ve found that the easiest method of glittering up your eyelids is to use a liquid shadow or liner. All that sparkly goodness is suspended in a liquid base, so there’s usually very minimal fallout with application. They also tend to offer quite a bit more precision, especially if you’re layering glitter on top of a finished eye look. Here are a few of my personal favorites!
When it comes to liquid glitters, the Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Shadow is THE product that started the trend. Yes they’re expensive, but honestly worth every penny. Many, many brands have attempted to dupe this product, and while some have come close, nothing I’ve tried has been quite on the same level as the original. The glitter in these eyeshadows is very high quality and dimensional, and the lasting power is superb. It also has one of the best shade ranges of any liquid glitters I’ve seen, with 18 different colors to choose from. Of all the shades I’ve personally tried, Kitten Karma is still my favorite. It’s packed full of silver and copper glitter, and gives the most gorgeous, impactful sparkle to the eyes.
Flower Beauty Warrior Glitter Shadow ($10.99)
As far as Glitter & Glow dupes go, the most promising I’ve found to date is the Flower Beauty Warrior Glitter Shadow. These are less than half the price of the Glitter & Glows, while giving a similar effect on the eyes. There are unfortunately only six shades available, but several of them are fun and unique. The Warrior Glitters have a relatively pigmented metallic base so they can easily be worn alone, or layered over another shadow. The glitter particles may not be as fine or multidimensional as the ones in the Glitter & Glow, but they definitely will still give your eyes a pretty, sparkling finish (see it for yourself in this tutorial). Definitely a great option if you’re seeking something a bit more budget friendly!
The Pixi Liquid Fairy Lights were one of the first Glitter & Glow dupes to hit the market, and they’re definitely still a great alternative to try. The formula of these shadows varies from shade to shade, with some having a more pigmented base than others. There are seven colors total, with the two newest being a fun Pixi Green and a turquoise blue. Much like the Flower Beauty glitters, the glitter in the Liquid Fairy Lights seems a bit plastic-y and not quite as luxe. It still looks pretty when it catches the light, but doesn’t have a super high end feel. If you want to see swatches of the original five shades, you can check out my dedicated Pixi review here.
Now, if chunky glitter isn’t your speed, these Milani Hypnotic Lights Eye Toppers might be right up your alley. These liquid shadows have a high shine finish and a micro-fine sparkle. They go on fairly opaque and look beautiful on a naked lid, or layered over another shadow. The first round of these were limited edition, so they can be a little difficult to get your hands on, but it looks like they’ve recently released some new shades. I’ve had the best luck spotting new Milani products in Walmart stores, but you can also order them online from Milani directly.
And of course, if we’re going to talk about glitter, we can’t forget about the Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliners. These liners have a completely clear base and are packed with tons of fine, brilliant glitter. The brush applicator is extremely skinny, which is perfect for a more precise application. Whether you want to accent a cut crease, or apply glitter all over your lid, the Heavy Metal Glitter Liners is a solid go-to. The one shade I have (which is perhaps the most popular) is Midnight Cowboy. It’s a neutral dirty gold that works with pretty much any eye look. It’s definitely a cult classic for a reason!
Pigments & Pressed Singles
Loose pigments and glitters are undoubtedly more high maintenance than anything in a liquid or cream format. They almost always require some kind of a sticky primer to stay in place, and can be a bit messy to apply. That being said, pigments often provide a shine to the lid that’s crazy brilliant and beautiful. If you’ve never worked with a loose pigment before, this YouTube video demoing some different techniques might be helpful to you.
Anyone that has been watching my YouTube channel lately is probably more than aware of how obsessed I am with this pigment. It is SO sparkly and SO impactful it’s honestly mesmerizing. Unlike traditional loose pigments, the Sparkling Foiled Pigment is gently pressed, and has an almost creamy texture that allows it to stay in place in the pan. You can definitely pick this product up with a brush, although I find using my fingers gives the most intense application. Even though this will stick fairly well to the eyes all on its own, I would still recommend using a glitter primer underneath to help minimize fallout or creasing throughout the day. Want to see it in action? Check out this Makeup Playtime video.
If a gorgeous but foolproof eyeshadow look is what you’re after, you need one of these trios in your life. Each stack comes with three coordinating shades of highly shimmery, buttery smooth shadows. I personally find they go on best with a finger, but could also probably be applied with a damp brush. A few quick swipes of one of these shades across the lid gives the most gorgeous, brilliantly shimmering finish (you can see it in action here). Even though $21 is a lot to spend on an eye product, when you realize the cost actually breaks down to $7 per pan, it ends up sounding way more reasonable.
Okay, so I’m not going to lie, these are a bit of a mess. And yet they’re so stinkin’ beautiful and so reasonably priced I’m willing to forgive them. The Chromatic Pigments come in some insanely beautiful shades, are intensely pigmented and smooth, and give your eyes a shiny, often duochromatic finish that easily rivals shadows costing four times the price (which you can see for yourself in this tutorial). They do need to be foiled or layered over a sticky primer to properly adhere to the eyes, so I would make sure you have a glitter glue or setting spray at the ready. I’d also highly recommend laying down some paper towels wherever you’re doing your makeup to catch the rogue bits of pigment that will inevitably spill from the packaging. So yes, these are a little high maintenance, but the end result is 100% worth the extra effort.
NYX Pigments ($6.50)
NYX also makes a great range of pigments in a number of different finishes. The one thing I will suggest (which again, increases the mess factor) is to remove the stopper that comes in the jars. I found it near impossible to actual shake the pigment out through the holes, and after much frustration, realized I was better off risking spillage than spending 10 minutes fussing with the packaging. Once you can actually access the product, though, it ends up being really beautiful. One of my favorite shades for an ethereal sparkle is Vegas, Baby!, which is full of silver and gold pearls.
Not gonna lie, I was VERY excited to see that ColourPop was revamping and relaunching their collection of loose pigments. I’ve rarely been disappointed by ColourPop products, and these ended up being no exception. Not only is the packaging beautiful (and very reminiscent of MAC’s pigments), but you’re also getting a pretty ridiculous amount of product for the price. I’m currently loving on the Libra shade called The Scales from the Kathleen Lights zodiac collaboration. It’s a beautiful pink with tiny bits of purple and blue shimmer.
When it comes to quick and easy, cream shadows are definitely where its at. They unfortunately don’t have as long of a shelf life as powder products, but I do enjoy having a couple of options on hand. Here are few that I’ve really loved over the years.
The first product ColourPop ever launched, the OG Super Shock Shadow is still one of the best cream eyeshadows on the market. I feel like they often get looked over, especially considering how many new products ColourPop releases, but are definitely deserving of some love. These shadows have an almost bouncy texture to them, and can be applied with a finger or a brush (although I always have preferred using my fingers). The shimmer versions offer some intense sparkle, and come in a zillion amazing shades. The only thing I would caution anyone considering picking one of these up is to not buy 10 different colors at once. They do tend to dry out after about 6 months or so, so I would only keep on hand what you’ll actually use.
One of my more recent discoveries has been these J.Cat Eye Mousses. They have a really unique and slightly chunky texture that is full of gorgeous shimmer. Because they’ve got such a pigmented base, they can easily be worn alone all over the lid, or layered over a powder shadow. The one thing that I will note about these guys is that the formula does require a little bit of smoothing to get an even finish. That being said, I find they apply best with a finger in a swiping motion, or with a silicone applicator. A flat brush may also work, but anything fluffy will probably just cause tiny shimmer particles to fly everywhere.
The Butter London Glazen Eye Glosses are a true hidden gem. They’ve been around for years and years, and very rarely get attention. These shadows are much more liquidy than other cream shadows (it kind of reminds me of pudding), and work best as a shimmery topper to finish off a look. They don’t have chunks of glitter persay, but they do have tons of microfine sparkle that really glimmers in the light. These Eye Glosses come in a variety of beautiful shades, some with a stunning duochrome flip, and can really transform a look!
Now, if what you want is good old fashioned glitter, look no further than the MBA Cosmetics Chromalights. You’ll get all of the impact of a loose glitter without all of the fuss and mess. The Chromalight formula suspends loose glitter into a silicone base, which allows the particles to adhere to the eyes with a lot less fallout. Unlike cheap drugstore glitters of yesteryear, these pressed glitters are PACKED with sparkle, and will coat your eyes in some seriously intense shine. They also come in an almost overwhelming number of colors, so you can find exactly the shade of glitter your heart desires. One thing to note, even though these glitters will stick on their own, I would HIGHLY suggest using some kind of a sticky primer beneath them, just to help lock the glitter into place.
Inevitably, when you’ve tried as many glittery, metallic products as I have, you’re liable to encounter some duds. It’s not that all of these products are terrible, I just found the majority of them to be underwhelming, especially in comparison to everything else I mentioned above. Here’s what I personally would pass on.
There’s honestly nothing wrong with the formula of these shadows. They’re highly pigmented, smooth, and reflective. My issue with the Chrome Paints is that, for $22, they’re incredibly basic. You could easily achieve a similar finish with a standard pressed metallic shadow. The 8 shades that are offered are also very neutral and common. Given how many other more interesting, sparkly options there are at a similar price point, this would never be my first recommendation.
I was so excited when I saw these eyeshadows launch, but unfortunately the formula was incredibly underwhelming. Unlike the Liquid Fairy Lights or Warrior Glitter Shadows, these Crystal Fusion Liquid Shadows don’t contain glitter. They’re very sheer with a fine, shimmery finish that looks patchy and uneven when worn on their own. You can try to layer the product up to get a more opaque finish, but it will start to crack and crumble. Even though they’re very affordable and the packaging is enticing, I don’t think these were worth the $6 that I paid for them. ***Another aside, after having seen swatches of the entire range of this product, not all shades perform the same. Some are very pigmented with a metallic finish, others are more shimmery. All of the shades I have tried have the shimmer finish.
So, my biggest gripe with this product is the name. When I hear the phrase “Glitter Goals”, I expect to see glitter. In reality, these are shimmery metallic liquid eyeshadows. They’re still pretty, and they wear nicely on the eyes, they just aren’t at all what I would call a glitter liquid shadow.
Tools & Primers
As a lover of glitter, these products are absolutely essential to have on hand. The right applicators and the right primers can mean the difference between a beautiful look that lasts all day, and your face being a crazy mess of glitter fallout!
When it comes to making sure my glittery and metallic products stay locked in place all day, my number one go-to is the Too Faced Glitter Glue ($20). If you’re at all dubious about whether or not a glitter glue is necessary, or how it compares to a regular primer, I’d recommend checking out the dedicated review I did of this product a few years ago. Even though it’s a bit pricey, one tube will last years, and the staying power it delivers is 100% worth the investment. Still, if you’re not a glitter fanatic and don’t want to shell out $20 on a product you won’t use every day, the NYX Glitter Primer ($6.50) is a great affordable alternative.
When it comes to applying loose pigments, metallic shadows, or loose glitters, my all-time favorite brush to use is the Sigma Exact Blend Brush ($16). It’s small enough to be precise without being tedious, and has the perfect balance of fluffiness versus denseness to pick up exactly the right amount of product. It’s a little splurgy, but the quality is excellent, and with proper care it will serve you well for many, many years. You can also save 10% on your next Sigma purchase by using code BLUSHINGBIRDIE at checkout!
If you’re looking for something a bit more budget friendly, I also really love the MODA Metallics Small Eye Shader ($5.99). It’s very similar to the Sigma Exact Blend, but is perhaps a little bit larger and a little bit flatter. Still, it gets the job done very, very well at a fraction of the cost (you can also save an additional 10% off your MODA order online with the code BLUSHINGBIRDIE at checkout).
For cream shadows and creamy pressed glitters like the Chromalights, I’ve found the Sephora Give Me Glitter Applicator Set ($12) to be a total game changer. The flat applicator specifically allows you to spread out shimmery products like the J.Cat Pris-Metals with SO much ease and a lot less mess than using your fingers. I also love how thin it is, which makes it perfect for getting into tricky small areas like the inner corner of your eye.
In Direct Sunlight
1. Stila Glitter & Glow in Kitten Karma
2. Flower Beauty Warrior Glitter in Bullet
3. Pixi Liquid Fairy Lights in RoseGold
4. Kokie Crystal Fusion Liquid Shadow in Polaris
5. Milani Hypnotic Lights Eye Topper in Beaming Light
6. NYX Glitter Goals in Polished Pin Up
7. Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner in Midnight Cowboy
8. Butter London Glazen Eye Gloss in Unicorn
9. J.Cat Pris-Metal Chrome Eye Mousse in Chrome Galaxy
10. Kaja Bouncy Bento Eye Trio in Orange Blossom (middle shade)
11. Touch in Sol Metallist Sparkling Foiled Pigment in Sun Aurora
12. ColourPop Loose Pigment in The Scales
13. NYX Pigment in Vegas, Baby!
14. Tarte Chrome Paint in Top Yacht
Not In Direct Sun
Looking for a little glittery eyeshadow inspiration? Here are some of my favorite looks I’ve created with the products from this post!
Whether you’re a diehard glitter lover, or just starting to experiment with the sparkly good stuff, I hope you found this post helpful! My hunt for new shiny things to play with will probably be never-ending, so please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what I should try next!