three photos of models wearing glitter foundation
Photography courtesy of Imaxtree

Glitter Foundation (Yes, Really) Is Such a Fun Way to Add Sparkle to Your Makeup

Pros break down how to achieve the New Year's Eve-worthy beauty look here.

Who can deny the twinkling temptation of glitter makeup at this time of year? After all, there’s an unspoken rule that sparkle is the unofficial icon of holiday party glamour — and #BeautyTok’s latest trend on the rise elevates this shimmering texture to editorial new heights. Behold: glitter foundation.

@fredrikskoglunddGlitter foundation and lashes✨💞♬ Escapism. – RAYE & 070 Shake

Glitter foundation is an offshoot of the Twilight-inspired “Vampire Skin” trend sparked by artist August Sombatkamrai, who went viral on TikTok during the Halloween season. And not much about this luminescent look has changed the second time around, aside from the more approachable new name — a mixture of liquid foundation and cosmetic-grade glitter as the base of your glam is still the essence of this look. While “vampire skin” may not sound like the most appealing of looks for a New Year’s Eve party, “glitter foundation” sure does.

Not only does TikTok love a shimmering face finish, but so too does the runway. Look to holographic facials sent down the catwalk in Giambattista Valli’s fall 2018 RTW show or Valentino‘s fall 2022 couture catwalk for editorial examples of the trend. Much to our delight, with New Year’s Eve soirées ahead, TikTok’s take on glitter faces is far more subdued.

With advice from on-air makeup expert Veronica Chu and editorial beauty pro Robert Weir, we’re breaking down how to best execute this glittery glam — with all the tips and tricks necessary to ensure your skin won’t suffer in the name of beauty throughout the process. Here’s how to master glitter foundation.

Prep the skin

Before glitter gets involved, you want to begin with a fresh and clean skin canvas. Once you’ve cleansed your face, Chu recommends following up with a facial toner to unclog your pores before sealing everything in with an ultra hydrating moisturizer. The last skincare step? Priming. “I would suggest using a primer that fills the pores and adds moisture to make sure you have the smooth space to apply your glitter,” explains Chu. “The Milk Hydro Grip primer would be perfect for this and it gives you a nice base for the application of the glitter.”

Use your fingertips for a smooth application

Much like different sized and textured paint brushes can alter the outcome of a painting, the same can be said for applying foundation and the finished product of your makeup. When working glitter into your face base routine, Weir advises ditching brushes and sponges altogether in exchange for your fingertips. “You will end up with more glitter in and on a sponge than on your face. I would personally suggest fingers, because the glitter will be stuck in your makeup brush even after multiple washes.”

Choose your glitter colour wisely

The deciding factor regarding exactly which shade of glitter you should select when recreating this beat all comes down to your complexion. As per Weir’s expertise, champagne and white glitter works best for fair skin tones, while gold and bronze pairs well with darker skin. “You want to pick a fine glitter in a light colour,” he insists. “Dark-coloured glitter generally just looks like small dark spots on the face.” The glitter itself should have a milled texture — and should be made for exclusively for cosmetic use.

Apply with care

Ah yes, the fun part! On the back of your hand, mix your go-to liquid foundation with a small amount of glitter to ensure it can be evenly and smoothly applied. In the wise words of Chu, “a little goes a long way with glitter. You don’t need a lot of it for the impact. It’s easier to add more on then try to take some off.” Noted! When going in for application, she also encourages using gentle padding motions instead of dragging or pulling. “If you drag it across your face, the glitter could come off the skin, and you might look a little bit patchy.” Once complete, be sure to take a step back and inspect your glittered work of art in different lighting to get a well-rounded sense of how things are looking before proceeding with the rest of your routine.

A final application tip from Weir? Stick to setting only the under eye area and corners of the nose to avoid dimming your shine.

Don’t forget to double cleanse

It’s no secret that glitter is notoriously stubborn but — as the saying goes — beauty is pain. To safely bring your skin back to its cleanest state, a double cleanse is key. “I would use a cleansing balm like Milk’s Hydro Ungrip Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm first to try and remove a lot of the glitter,” advises Chu. For your second cleanse, she recommends a gentle cleanser followed by a toner to deep cleanse any unwanted particles that may be trapped in your pores post-glitter foundation.

@golloria In: @Freddy✨ GLITTER IN FOUNDATION ON DARK SKIN?! #makeup #beauty #greenscreenvideo ♬ original sound – golloria

Though our pros have guided us through the best application practices, we can’t stress enough the importance of using the right kind of glitter here — especially if you have sensitive skin. “It’s important to use cosmetic glitter, not craft glitter,” warns Weir. “Some craft glitter has sharp edges that can damage pores and injure eyes.” Once you’ve followed these prepping procedures, Weir tells FASHION that you can safely pull off this look as often as you’d like (and as long as you can withstand finding traces of glitter around!).

If you’re feeling glitter foundation for New Year’s Eve, shop our roundup of sustainable cosmetic glitters below to amp up your glam.

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