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Skin Deep

Skin Deep: How to wear glitter like a grown-up this sparkly season

You don’t HAVE to look like a child at a festival.


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. 


It may still be November, but Christmas fever appears to have been in full swing for a couple of weeks now.

Maybe it’s because this year has been full of fairly bleak news, maybe it’s because the need an antidote to the rubbish weather, or maybe it’s just that we can’t bloody wait, one things for sure, the holiday season is upon us.

One thing which descends with this time of year, is glitter.

We all want to sparkle at Christmas, and the great news is that glitter makeup is like, so totally hot right now. From Penneys to Mac, there is sparkle available at every price point. The thing is, we don’t always want to look like we spent the weekend crawling around the forest at Body & Soul. No no, we want to look like true sophisticates, with glittery makeup that looks modern and fresh, grown up and if we can manage it, fashion. Thus, this week, I have some ideas for how you can achieve that very thing. 

Before we get into the actual lewks, I think it’s important to talk about the mechanics of using glitter. I love to use chunky, loose glitter because it has the highest impact. It’s dramatic and messy, a bit like myself. However, that messiness can be a real pain. In order to get it to stay where you want it to and not end up all over your face, you need a good mixing medium. Inglot’s Duraline is good, Penney’s PS… Liquid Fix a decent option for only three euro, but my favourite is MAC’s Mixing Medium Gel. It’s hard to beat for staying power.

Of course, these days there are lots of good options when it comes to pre-mixed, liquid glitter products. Stila’s Glitter and Glow liquid shadow range is excellent, as are Penneys’ PS… Christmas Lights Liquid Glitter Eyeshadows. Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal Liquid Eyeliners are great, and there’s a lot to be said for Wet n’ Wild’s Colour Icon Glitter Singles. Glitter is everywhere these days, and I couldn’t be happier about it.


Personally, I feel a less is more approach is best when wearing glitter as an adult woman (except for at festivals, where more is definitely more). Thus, I tend to either use a touch of the sparkly stuff, or go sparingly with the rest of my makeup and lash loads of glitter on.

A full, vampy face of makeup plus glitter can look a bit drag, which is of course absolutely fine if that’s what you want. I love to admire these looks and the artistry of those who apply them, but they’re not what I’m aiming for in this column.

With that in mind, the first look I’m recommending is a simple wash of glitter across the eye. Start by selecting a glitter pale in colour. Silver is ideal, but any light shade will do. If you use a dark one you may end up looking sick. If you’re using a liquid glitter product, simply lash it across your lid and use your fingers or a brush to blend out.

If you’re using a loose glitter, mix it with a mixing medium on the back of your hand first to create a liquid glitter This will look good with a simple contour, mascara and any of your favourite lipsticks, be they nude or bold, due to the neutrality and simplicity of the eye colour.


Glitter liner is another simple way to add some sparkle to your face, all you need is a brush (I like to use an angled one like the brow brush from this Fuschia set) mixing medium and some loose glitter, or a pre-made glitter liner. You can add a sparkly liner to any eyeshadow look, but my preference is to use it on its own. I especially like it under the lower lashes, where it can look a little grungy and edgy, as I have in the main image for this column.

If you prefer a softer, prettier look, a pop of glitter in the inner corner of your eye also looks very cool, although this is the riskiest place to put it as it’s most likely to get in your eye. For that reason, it’s best to use a fine liquid glitter which is intended for the eyes for this practice. Use  a light coloured glitter, just as you would use a light shimmery shade to brighten that part of your eye. In this image I’ve used the aforementioned Penneys’ PS… Christmas Lights Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow in the gold shade.


If those seem like too much of a departure for you, don’t forget that glitter can also be used as a topcoat for any of your favourite eyeshadow looks.

Simply pat it on top of your favoured eyeshadow look. Using a brush may disturb the shadow that’s already there, but a light pat with your fingers shouldn’t. Finally, remember last week’s halo eyeshadow look? You can absolutely do that with glitter instead of shimmer in the centre.

Now, go forth and sparkle!

New Product


I haven’t had a chance to go through all the Christmas specials coming from cosmetics brands this year for you yet (that may be next week’s topic), but one special edition product I have firmly on my Christmas list is Nars’ Tryst Cheek Palette (€49). This is my blush palette of dreams, with each shade shimmering and glowing away. I want, I want, I want!

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