Our resident beauty columnist, Ava Welsing-Kitcher, is ready to answer all your questions.
I’m not going to lie to you – as a Virgo, glitter makes me nervous. But the surge of happiness it gives me as soon as it’s swiped on makes all the mess worth it. Finding sparkly specks in my hair and bed sheets for days afterwards is all part of the package, but I’ve found a few make-up bits that make the application and cleaning-up process much easier to control. I’ve gone for gold as it feels so Christmassy (and also suits my skin tone better than silver), but that’s not to say that colours are a no-go. One of the best things about glitter and metallics is that the usual colour ‘rules’ don’t apply: anyone can make pink, green or purple work, in a way that seems much easier than eyeshadows in the same shades. I’m putting it down to the transparency of it, and letting your skin shine through the sparkles elevates it to a clean and modern level. Whether you want just a touch of it in the inner corners, a light wash over the lid or it properly packed on, follow my step-by-step guide to help you nail a glitter eye every time.
I like to start all dramatic eye looks by laying down a baseline. If you’re using a warm-based eyeshadow, like gold, rose gold, bronze or orange, then a brown eyeliner is much softer than black. Silver, green, purple and blue pair beautifully with black, but you can always opt for a deep brown-black instead. I love Estée Lauder Double Wear Infinite Waterproof Eyeliner in Espresso, as it’s not too soft, yet not so hard that it crumbles, and is a twist-up job rather than needing a sharpener. Scribble it gently in between your lashes as a baseline definition, then bring it out slightly past the outer corners in a soft tiny wing. Smudge it gently with the tool on the other side or a tiny brush, then almost dot the liner along your lower lash line to fake fullness.
Pat McGrath Labs
There are eyeshadows, and then there are the creations that Pat McGrath bestowed upon us. I’m going for the Mothership VII: Divine Rose palette. The metallic shades are truly spectacular – they pack great impact when applied with a brush, with no need to endlessly add layer after layer for an even covering. But when swiped on with just a clean finger (the heat and natural oils from our skin pick up more pigment and almost bring it to life), they look almost molten. I like to have more control over where the shadow’s placed, so I cheat it with a flat brush moistened with some setting spray (Urban Decay’s All Nighter is a cult classic and stops make-up from budging, no matter what gets thrown your way).
TOM FORD BEAUTY
You don’t have to go in with an eyeshadow first, but it’s a nice preliminary step to lay down the shape and give the glitter something to stick to that’s less oily than your skin, to avoid creasing and settling in fine lines. Pack it onto your lid, starting near the lash line and bringing it up, slightly extending it past the outer corners. I advise a more densely packed brush to apply, then a fluffy blending one to soften the edges: Tom Ford’s Eyeshadow Brush 11 actually does the trick for both. If you want to blend it further, you can add a matte eyeshadow slightly darker than your skin tone to help blur any lines between skin and shadow, but Pat’s buttery formulas settle beautifully into the skin and forego the need for extra blending. Magic.
You can add a pair of false lashes here or my personal favourite: a little cluster cut off from the strip and added to the outer corner to lengthen the eye. I’m skipping lashes this time and going in with the next best thing: Charlotte Tilbury’s Push Up Mascara. Its clever flat brush lets you deposit the carbon black formula close to your lash line, acting like an eyeliner but on your lashes. Then with a comb on either side, you can draw the formula up to the tip of the lashes. Just one or two swipes and you’re done, giving major impact. When working with pigmented or metallic shadows, I do my under-eye concealer last, in case any of the shadow particles drop down to where they shouldn’t be.
And we’ve arrived at our final stop. I’ve chosen OPV’s pressed gold glitter in Decision, as the shade is a beautiful antique gold rather than a brassy yellow, and it’s housed in a slightly waxy formula that means it doesn’t get everywhere. It’s so controllable and doesn’t go where it’s not supposed to, and all I have to do is dip a small flat brush and pat it onto the lid. The formula makes it easy to move around into the desired shape, but it does settle a little into the crease as the hours go by – as is always the case with glitter. Keep the concentration below the crease, then softly diffuse it outwards and upwards. OPV do incredible palettes with metallics that are pretty much glitter – make sure to check out the ocean-themed Yemoja palette, which has the prettiest bronze glitter shade.
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