How to Pull Off Gaga-Worthy Glitter Eye Makeup Without Making a Mess

model with glitter eyeshadow looking down
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Call it the Euphoria effect, but we're sold on glitter eye looks. Glitter instantly enhances any eye shape or color by catching the light and picking up the natural shades that comprise your iris. And while it may seem messy and difficult to control, it's actually super easy to create a glitter eyeshadow look using loose pigment and materials you probably already have at home (like tape and cotton swabs...stay with me). The application process is only five steps and takes just a few minutes, even if it's your first time experimenting with loose glitter. Ahead, celebrity makeup artist Matin shares a step-by-step guide to creating a beautiful glitter eyeshadow look.

Meet the Expert

Matin is a celebrity makeup artist and non-toxic beauty advocate, with clients among the likes of Angelina Jolie, Rebel Wilson, Awkwafina, and more.

Step One: Gather Your Materials

To recreate Matin's glitter eyeshadow tutorial, you'll need:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Loose glitter
  • A mixing medium (alternatively, you can use setting spray)
  • Tape
  • Clean spoolie brush

Step Two: Dip a Cotton Swab into a Mixing Medium

mehron
Mehron Makeup Mixing Liquid $14
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Start the application process by dipping your cotton swab into a mixing medium. Matin recommends the above option from Mehron, as do many other makeup artists. The mixing medium will help give the glitter more of a spreadable consistency, helping it glide across the eye when you go to apply the glitter in step four. Note that you can use setting spray if you don't have a mixing medium on hand, but the glitter will have less staying power. If you choose to use setting spray, spritz one end of the cotton swab until it is wet (but not dripping wet). Whether you use a medium or a setting spray, be sure to keep one end of the cotton swab clean and dry so you can use it to clean up the look later.

Step Three: Roll Your Wet Cotton Swab in Loose Glitter

abh loose glitter
Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina Loose Glitter $15
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By now, one end of your cotton swab should be wet from being dipped into the mixing medium. Once you've completed this step, roll the wet end of the swab in the loose glitter of your choice, ensuring that the entire bulb of the cotton swab is covered in glitter. You can use anything from chunky stars to loose glitter powder, as long as the glitter isn't pressed into a compact or pan (like traditional eyeshadow).

Step Four: Roll Glitter Onto Eyelid in Upward Motions

To create your glitter look, you might opt to create more of a glitter eyeliner look by keeping the pigment closer to the lash line, or you can go full throttle and cover your entire lid in glitter. To create an eyeliner look, tap the glitter onto your eye using patting motions with the cotton swab, moving slowly across your lash line.

To cover the entire lid (as Matin is doing in this tutorial), use a rolling motion to sweep shadow in an upward motion from the lash line to the crease of your eyelid. Using a rolling motion helps to evenly distribute the glitter across your lid, which is often a pain point when it comes to applying loose glitter.

Step Five: Clean It Up

spoolie brush
Wayne Goss Spoolie Brush $12
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You can easily remove any excess or clumped glitter by using the clean end of your cotton swab, just sweep anywhere that's unevenly concentrated. To create sharp edges along the crease or "wing" of the eye, swipe your clean spoolie brush along the desired edge (the soft spirals of your spoolie are extremely effective at picking up glitter from the skin).

Once you have your desired glitter eye look, you'll want to remove any fallout from under your eyes and on your cheeks. Matin has an easy, affordable way to do this: Tape. Using either medical tape (preferred) or basic Scotch tape, simply dab areas (sticky side down) of the skin where there has been glitter fallout. If any tape residue is left on the skin, simply go over this area with micellar water or a makeup remover wipe. Once all of the excess glitter has been removed, go about your normal makeup routine, just be careful not to mess up your glittery lids.

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