- Glitter eyeshadow is notorious for being messy to wear, but this new generation of creams, liquids, and gels stay where you want them — on your lids, not coating all your worldly possessions.
- Our favorite iteration is the Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow, which comes in 18 sparkly shades that dry down and don’t budge until you wash them off.
I don’t know what happened but sometime in the last six months, I went from die-hard natural makeup obsessive to a person who wears glitter. Until recently I had the idea, as many people do, that glitter is high-maintenance. When I heard "glitter makeup" I envisioned jars of sparkly pigment like the ones I used during childhood craft sessions.
But I’ve discovered some truly foolproof formulas that have converted me over to the glitter side. It is so much fun to wear, and while you may not grab it for a day at the office, you don’t have to reserve it for New Year’s Eve or Coachella either.
The glitter shadows on this list bear little resemblance to the finicky, glue-required glitter dust you decorated Mother’s Day cards with in elementary school. As a general rule, I look for liquid, gel, or cream formulas as opposed to loose pigments or powders, as these tend to apply more easily and with little fallout. They usually stay put for several hours of dancing, too (or crying in front of Netflix, whatever you do on a Friday night) and come off with a couple of swipes of waterproof makeup remover.
These five picks are so user-friendly that you may find yourself reaching for a little extra sparkle at 7 a.m. on a Monday.
The best glitter eyeshadows you can buy in 2019:
- Best glitter eyeshadow overall: Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow
- Best budget glitter eyeshadows: Glossier Play Glitter Gelée
- Best cream: Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadow
- Best gel: Lemonhead LA Spacepaste
- Best smoky: Smith & Cult Glitterbaby
Keep scrolling to read more details about our top picks.
The best glitter eyeshadow overall
Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow gives you a wash of high-impact shimmer in one quick swipe.
The Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows are the ones that started my obsession with glitter. I wore them to every holiday party I attended in December and quickly found that I didn’t want to stop reaching for them after January 1. These are, simply put, the easiest glitters you will ever use.
Each one comes with an extra-long doe-foot applicator that distributes pigment across the lid in one quick swipe. Some colors are more opaque than others. For example, my favorite shade, Kitten Karma, has a metallic copper base with silver and champagne glitter overlay, while Wanderlust is sheer with gold and pink flecks.
I apply them straight to my lid with the applicator and pat with my fingertips to blend. The Stila Glitter & Glow shadows can be combined with powder shadows or worn on their own; I usually throw something matte in my crease for definition. They’re a bit of a challenge to wash off completely, but it’s a small price to pay for long wear-time and very minimal fallout. For high-impact with minimal effort, they can’t be beaten.
Shoppers and beauty editors agree: The Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows have a 4.6 Sephora rating based on more than 1,600 reviews. Countless publications like Best Products, StyleCraze, Refinery29, Glamour, Coveteur, Rank & Style, and Byrdie have praised the formula. Glamour assistant Tess Kornfield even wore it to a concert, writing, "I applied it an hour or so before the opener went on and when I got home around midnight my eyes were still intact — even after all of my crazy dancing!"
A related product, the Stila Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow, is one of our best liquid eyeshadows you can buy — another one of my go-to’s. You get very similar results and costs the same, so you can’t go wrong there either.
Pros: Easy-to-use applicator, long-wearing, minimal fallout, can be more subtle or impactful
Cons: Tough to wash off, may cause slight cooling or tingling sensation when first applied
The best budget glitter eyeshadow
Glossier Glitter Gelée provides a cool, unique chunky glitter effect for less than $20 a jar.
Glossier Glitter Gelée is the affordable chunky glitter gel of your dreams, part of Glossier’s new Play line. Described as "multidimensional paillettes," the Glitter Gelée has different-sized particles suspended in a transparent gel that dries down to a budge-proof finish.
This product gives off a different look from the other glitters on this list. It’s chunky and less opaque, though to varying degrees depending on the shade. For example, I use the color Phantasm, which is very sheer with big chunks of opalescent glitter in different sizes. The other shades are Bijoux Bijoux (gunmetal), Glass Bonsai (greenish-gold), and Firewalk (copper rose).
I recommend using Glossier’s silicone Detailer tool or a similar brush to apply these, especially if you’re going for precision. These are a bit harder to work with due to the varying sizes of the glitter, but the results are cool and unique. I love that you can add just a few flecks of sparkle in specific areas. My favorite way to wear Glitter Gelée is to layer it over eyeliner for a glimmery cat-eye.
Editors at PopSugar, Refinery29, Man Repeller, The Zoe Report, and HypeBae give the product high marks. "[T]he light-reflecting, holographic glitter pieces make it seem as if you’ve put in a lot of effort when it actually takes no time to achieve the playful eye look," wrote HypeBae’s Teresa Lam.
One thing to keep in mind is that this, like many glitters, is made of plastic; Glossier asks users to "[a]void washing off with water to prevent getting glitter into the waterways." This is a frequent issue with glitter-based products, so I remove them with a remover-soaked cotton pad that I can toss in the trash instead of rinsing down my drain.
Pros: Dries down, doesn’t move, versatile, vegan, hypoallergenic, affordable
Cons: Can be tough to work with (especially without Detailer tool), difficult to wash off, should not be rinsed down the drain
The best cream glitter eyeshadow
Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadow is a cream eyeshadow dialed up to 11, thanks to micro-glitter particles and light-reflecting pearls.
I love cream eyeshadows so much because they are often easier to use than powders, especially when it comes to trickier formulas like glitter and metallics, and the stunning Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadows are no exception.
The glitter particles are micro (not chunky) but that doesn’t make them subtle. Your eyelids will be spotted a mile away when you wear these. But the tiny glitters and light-reflecting pearls give off less of the festival vibe you’d get from bigger particles. Even though they’re sparkly, they’re quite sophisticated.
Currently available in five shades — Reflect (champagne), Blaze (copper), Foil (gold), Aura (pink), and Smoke (taupe) — these shadows are soft to the touch and highly blendable. You may experience a tiny bit of creasing, which is normal for cream shadows, so I recommend applying over an eye primer.
The product has a 4.6 Sephora rating, based on nearly 200 customer reviews. Best Products, Refinery29, Glamour, and Coveteur also recently featured Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadows. "[The] formula is a mix between a cream and powder, and hits the light in such a cool way that you don’t even need to blend it with other shades," Lindsay Schallon, Glamour’s editor, wrote.
Pros: Easy to use, long-lasting cream-to-powder formula, subtle yet expressive
Cons: Only five shades
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