The Chic Guide to Glitter


I have a complicated relationship with glitter. Deep down I love it. My inner magpie gets all chirpy at the idea and I love how it just looks festive and makes me feel like whenever I rock it that it’s some kind of celebration or special occasion. But then there’s the flip side. It can look OTT and you know how I love my barely-there makeup and let’s not even talk about how difficult glitter can be to remove, or how it ingrains itself in your carpet for the next two years. Pretty – yes. Practical – no. In my eyes there are two areas where I feel comfortable rocking glitter makeup-wise and if you’re a regular reader round these parts, this admission will come with no surprise; eyes and nails. So today I’ve compiled what I like to dub ‘The Chic Guide to Glitter: how to wear shimmer without channeling your inner ’90’s teen’…

For eyes you have a few options. First, there’s a glitter liner. If you go for something like the above – Collection’s Glam Crystals Dazzling Gel Liner in Funk – then keep it bare on the lid, pop this on the lash line and layer up the mascara. However if it’s something darker, more of a steel-like grey then use it as you would a normal liner with whatever else you fancy on the eye. I’d say this is the easiest way to do glitter on the eye (and shhhhh – it doesn’t even matter if the line is wobbly). Then there’s the pigment option. There’s always the pressed version like Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill Silk Eyeshadow in 9. Still as sparkly, but just without the impending glitter dust crowd. Or if you’re brave enough for the loose stuff my favourites are the Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Ore or MAC’s Pigment in Tan – both shades that can either be applied foiled (by using a wet brush with them) or patted on alone. May I suggest a specific primer to come into play here? The Urban Decay Bondage Primer is a great base and almost works as a skin-safe glue to hold glitter in place and with this formula, the bigger the better.

Glitter on the nails may be the biggest ballache in the world to take off, but it’s the easiest and most subtle way to incorporate some shimmering festiveness into your look. You can do a little ombré effect number over the tips, or do that whole ‘ring finger accent’ thing, or splash it over all 10 digits and ignore the fact that you’ll be weeping as it takes you 30 minutes to remove at a later date. My favourite formulas are from OPI and Essie. Pictured we have OPI’s Rainbow Connection and Bring on the Bling – unfortunately now both discontinued, but OPI’s Christmas collection always throws up a kickass glitter shade – and Essie’s Rock at the Top and Set in Stone. I usually start by attempting an ombré nail and then painting it alllll over. Hey – if you can’t have gold sparkly nails at Christmas time, then when can you?


  • Jodie Vernon

    I really like the sound of the Collection glitter liner! Definitely going to pick this up before all those New Year parties!

    Jodie // La Lune Song

  • Sharmi Shah

    Was thinking of doing a glittery look for new year’s. Thank you for this post! 🙂

  • tirurit

    Fellow magpie here!

    I love shiny everything: make up, clothes, knick knacks… but you are right, it is so easy to fall into tacky with glitter!

    Personally I love glitter eyeliners, shiny or glitter eyeshadows, pigments and highlighters. Of course not all at the same time! And on the lips I’ve tried putting a sparkly gold eyeshadow on top of a red lipstick a couple times and it looks gorgeous!

  • Subtle glitter accenting winged liner can be so stunning! I also love it on the lids for more “party” looks.

  • I really love the Essie glitter nail polishes, so pretty! x


  • Love love the neutral tones in glitter! I could wear it anytime of year! 🙂

  • Hope Richardson

    I really love the look of the glittery nail polishes, I’ve seen so many this year which I absolutely love! I’m the same with glitter on the eyes though but definitely think I’ll be trying it in eyeliner form this year!

  • I’m loving glitter this season more so than usual! I will have to give a liner a go:)


  • emily couture

    love the glittery nail polish 🙂

    emily xx

  • I go for glitter on the nails only on Christmas or New Years eve, because I hate having to remove it!

    Glitter on the eyes is something I wear more often. May be I still am a child of the nineties.

    Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

    • Try a peel-off base! You can use pva glue, pva mixed with clear varnish, or Miss Sporty do a ready-made mixture 🙂

      • Thank you, I had never heard of those bases before. Definitely going to give them a go!

  • Feel like you can’t go wrong with MAC pigments, they’re divine! And those nailpolishes look so good 🙂

  • Wow love all of these pieces, definitely want to get that Essie polish!

    Josie XOXO

    Fashion Mumblr

  • AvantiGarde

    Lovely post! Great timing because Christmas is on its way and that is always when I whack out the shimmery and glittery products.


  • The Essie nail polishes always look gorgeous. I love glitter around Christmas x

  • I love the essie one in gold 🙂

    I’m running a “Christmas” giveaway (lorac pro pallet+ the wet brush), if you’re interested, check this link:

    little taste of heaven

  • Lacey Dearie

    Great post. I am a lifelong glitter fan although I think subtlety is key. I prefer a dusting on some dark jeans to actually wearing makeup with glitter though.

  • I heart glitter nails! xx

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle Blog

  • Rachael Stewart

    If you can’t get out the glitter at Christmas time then when can you 😉 I’ve just remembered that I bought a gorgeous gold glitter Maybelline nail polish last year for Christmas and I’m totally going to wear it today! 🙂 x

    Rachael |

  • I usually shy away from glitter on my face, but I absolutely love it on my nails. I’ll definitely be checking out some of the things you’ve recommended!

  • This post is great! Like you Anna, I also love glitter, but am a little afraid of it. This year, though, I’m all over it. 😉

    Cleopatra | Cleopatra’s Notebook

  • If you fancy a very budget alternative to the pictred OPI rainbow number, might I recommend Technic varnish in ‘Carnival? It’s 99p from bodycare, and if you apply some to a sponge then dab it on you can build up the glitter easily!

  • mikaylaa.s

    I love the Essie Glitter Polishes!

    Mikayla 🙂

  • I love glitter, always adds a little something something.

  • Maggie

    I love glitter it makes everything feel so festive!

  • Brianna Johnson

    I’m in the same boat as you – I get magpie eyes for anything with glitter! I haven’t tried a more subtle liner though so I will give that a go!
    Brianna ||

  • I love glitter but I just stick to gold eyeshadow since it’s ‘glittery’ without giving others the impression that I’m a disco ball. The Essie polishes look great but I probably won’t have the patience to take them off!

  • I don’t usually like glitter, but I’m really getting into it!

    The little things in life

  • Kathryn

    I forgot how good your blog is! I normally just watch you on Youtube but I’ve caught up with a few posts!

    I have the Collection liner in the Silver and I’ll be wearing it this Christmas!

    Kathryn /Cherries in the Snow

  • i love shimmery eyeshadows, charlotte tilbury does such great ones!

  • I LOVE wearing glitter on my nails, I’m wearing it right now! I’m still learning the ropes when wearing glitter with eyeshadow but this post is great for suggestions!

    Life With Kendal

  • Love all the products you’ve mentioned!

  • Glitter and I have a very special relationship too but for NYE I tend to crack them all open ! Great picks!

  • Mandy Bajwa

    the products look great!

  • Such a great post, I always struggle to wear glitter but all those products look great, especially the nail polishes x

  • I’m all about the glittery nails this time of year. It’s a must. 🙂

    She Likes to Shop

  • I have a love-hate relationship with glitter too! I think everyone does. I’m cooing over my glitter nails one day; the next I’m swearing at them as I try to remove the polish.

    Tiff | AMtoPM

  • The Mac glitters look so pretty! x

    Blog Marjorie

  • Chantal

    I love metallic and glitter eyeshadows, they look so pretty on 🙂 x

  • I feel the pain of glitter nails – so pretty but so darn hard to remove! I’m thinking more heavy glitter eyes this season; v.eye-catching and great for dazzling!

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty –

  • Those glitter polishes are sooooo festive. Love the golden one
    I hate removing it especially when the cotton wool sticks to it and makes me feel all strange lol . xox

  • Ella

    I have SUCH an obsession with glitter, especially this time of year (hence my YouTube username… Sparkles… lol). I think Mac’s Tan pigment is one of the most beautiful ways to wear glitter on the lids (I like to use it wet!).

  • Emily

    I love Ulta’s collection of glitter as well!

  • Mehar Singh

    Perfect post for the holiday time! 🙂

  • Ahhh! I absolutely love glitter. This is a good go-to post for New Year’s Eve planning.

    Connie | Sponsored by Coffee

  • Emma and Emily

    Great festive post Anna! You’ve got me in the mood for painting my nails!

  • One of my favorite posts to date! It’s so sparkly!!! 🙂

  • Yes to the festive glitter. Just got two RMK nail varnishes (sparkly navy, and sparkly burgundy/purple), and both are so beautiful. Can’t wait to get my sparkle on

    Ting |

  • You can’t go wrong with some glittery eyeshadow!


  • Leanne Boyd

    I’m always afraid that I look like I’m trying too hard if I wear glitter. This is persuading me to try it this holiday season, though. Thanks for the tips!


  • Essie’s glitter polishes are amazing!

    Kate xo //

  • Cherie Tang

    I love pigments! At the moment I’ve been using Makeup Geek’s ‘Vegas Lights’ which is a stunning coppery orange. I want to get a glitter polish as well to achieve the ring finger accent haha. x

  • I need to find myself some glitter!


  • I love a bit of shimmer on the eyes! I think it looks fab on nails as well but I find it hard to convince myself that’ll it’ll be worth the effort of removing it later. The accent nail definitely is a result of us girls loving glitter but not committing to the removal xx

    Love and Marmalade

  • I love the glitter nail polishes! They’re always such a pain to take off though haha. xo

  • Love all the glitter picks!

  • rebeccadolores

    I never feel brave enough to wear glitter but since I’m feeling festive I think it’s time to dive in; The Urban Decay Pulp Fiction heavy metal liner is a really subtle glitter which I think would be perfect for Christmas!

  • I love a good pigment for the festive season!

    Cass | CassandraMyee

  • I like bling bling anytime so festive season is my the most favourite 🙂 lovely post