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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020

Skin Deep: How to fully embrace the glitter this festival season

Go wild.


Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

Every single year, without fail, someone writes an article slagging off festival fashion. It’s impractical, they say. Irish women need to stop copying Coachella style. Flower crowns are OVER. Just dress practically, for god’s sake. While I don’t entirely disagree with some of those points, I find myself getting frustrated when I read another tired piece slagging off young women for having a bit of craic and getting loose for a weekend. It’s not often in life you can dress up like Snow White just for the hell of it and ramble around a field making friends with total strangers (as I did at Electric Picnic in 2009). It’s fun to wear something you wouldn’t usually, and it’s doubly fun to dip yourself in glitter and go a bit mad with your makeup.

The great thing about festival makeup is that there is a look to suit every level of ability, and it usually looks better if it’s a bit messy. So, with the Irish festival season kicking off in earnest, I thought I’d give you some ideas as to how you can get involved this summer.


Glitter is a festival essential for many people, and the easiest to lash on. The key to getting it right, in my experience, is to get some chunky glitter. The finely milled stuff doesn’t give the same grungy impact as proper chunks, and festival makeup is not about being delicate. Topshop and Inglot both sell pots of chunks (I’m wearing Inglot in this article’s image).  If you have time to shop online, check out Go Get Glitter and Gypsy Shrine. They have got festival glitter down.

Back in the day I used to use Vaseline to stick this stuff onto my face, but these days you can get dedicated glitter primers inexpensively from brands like NYX and E.l.f.. This is not a look that needs to be sharp or pretty, so the more lived in it gets the better it looks, making it perfect for a festival. The coolest girls I saw at Glastonbury last year looked like they’d put their glitter on on Thursday and simply lashed more on as the weekend went on.


Stickers are a great way to add something special to your look, without getting overly complicated in a sweaty tent with a hangover. Use a bit of eyelash glue to make them last, their own adhesive won’t last five minutes in an Irish shower. In fact, I’ve been known to use eyelash glue (Duo is the best) to stick loads of old shite on my face in the name of festival fever. Should you have some nail jewels or random crafty stuff (googly eyes, anyone?) hanging around the place, throw them in your bag. You never know what kind of inspiration might strike.



I couldn’t tell you who decided that throwing a load of dots over your eyes was a festival look, but I like it! It’s also really easy. For this look I used some UV face paint (easily purchased at most festivals, or at your local Art and Hobby shop) and the smudger end of an eyeliner. I’ve tried other methods of applying the dots, and found this to be the best. Brushes are a lot of faff and don’t give you even dots, and my fingers are frankly, too fat to dial in this instance. Simply dip your smudger in your paint and stamp on your face and you’re left with even dots!

Combine them all

Want dots, and glitter, and gold leaf and stickers? Do it. There are no rules here, the point is to have fun. Although, I would discourage you from wearing a bold lip, it’s impossible to maintain in a festival setting, unless you’re checking it every hour, and no one wants to do that.

Obviously you don’t have to wear festival makeup to have fun at a festival, but if you want to, then by god you should. At least go a bit mad with your highlighter. You only live once, you might as well have a bit of fun.

New Product


Benefit’s Hoola has been a favourite of mine for some time, due to it’s lack of shimmer and orangeness, the downfall of many a bronzer. I was positively thrilled when I found out that there was a new edition of the product called Hoola Light, which is perfect for fair skin. It’s €34 and available now.

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