When you’re a pre-teen, glitter makeup is the best. Finally! Wearing sparkly stuff all over your face is totally appropriate and sooo pretty! I owned three different glitter sticks in the eighth grade, each one in a color that corresponded with my other fabulous, bright, semi-horrifying cosmetic items. (Without its green glitter accompaniment, lime eyeliner just didn’t have the same… effect.)
But the older I get, the scarier glitter eye makeup becomes. I often wonder if it’s even possible to wear it without looking like you’re on your way to a rave. And despite my apprehension, nearly every major cosmetics brand seems to roll out a plethora of shimmery products as soon as the holiday season comes into view. So we wanted to go straight to the source: We asked two of the industry’s top pros — Janice Daoud, the lead makeup stylist for NARS, and Erik Soto, Sephora‘s PRO lead artist — to give us their tips on wearing a grown-up glittery eye.
Wearing glitter as an adult doesn’t have to look like you raided your old Caboodle. For a sexy, modern take, Soto says to use a less-is-more approach by building up sparkle slowly to ensure you don’t go overboard. And have some sticky tape on hand to take care of stray pieces in a snap.
Choose your glitter gradient wisely.
“Eye shadows with ultra-fine glitter are a good way to incorporate sparkle into your makeup look,” says Daoud. Products with a more subtle shimmer offer up glitz without looking gaudy. Soto recommends achieving the look with Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadows in Mirror Finish ($13, Sephora) or those by Urban Decay ($20, Sephora).
And for you go-big-or-go-home types, there’s always loose glitter. Make Up For Ever has plenty of options.
Neutrals are your BFFs.
There is such a thing as sophisticated glitter, but it’s all about creating balance. Neutral shades act as the perfect counterpart to shimmer, complementing it without being overpowering. Soto likes pairing shimmer with matte shadow to add depth and definition, and Daoud can’t get enough of NARS Single Eyeshadow in Night Star ($24, Sephora), a sheer peach that lights up the lid whenever light hits it.
Look for liner.
The most surefire way to keep glitter from looking garish? Instead of covering your entire lid, choose an eyeliner with a bit of sparkle. “If applied the right way it can look very modern and chic,” promises Daoud. Try NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in 47th Street ($24, Nordstrom), a black liner with silver shimmer, or Sephora Collection Jumbo Liner 12HR Wear Waterproof ($14, Sephora), available in a variety of colors.
For extra oomph, Soto suggests brushing a bit of loose glitter onto the tips of your lashes immediately after swiping on your favorite mascara.
Get inspired by the runway.
That’s not to say you need to stay subtle — the most fashion-forward way of wearing sparkle is anything but. “Glitter packed on up until the crease over a dark shadow is huge right now,” says Daoud, pointing to the sparkling, smoldering NARS-created look worn at Thakoon Fall 2013 (photos above). For a more wearable yet dramatic version of the look, brush a finer glitter over a deep-hued shadow. Then get ready to bat those lashes all night long, lady.