13 Best Glitter Eyeshadows and Eyeliners (Tested & Reviewed 2023)
Jun 09, 2023
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There’s a reason makeup artists (and beauty editors) are obsessed with Bodyography Glitter Pigments.
Not to brag or anything, but I think I’ve pretty much mastered the art of Euphoria makeup. Maybe it’s because I’ve met with the show’s makeup head Donni Davy (I have photographic evidence!!). Or perhaps it’s due to my massive collection of eyeshadow palettes in every color under the sun. But you know what I really think has given me my Euphoria-level makeup skills? My giant arsenal of glitter eyeshadows. Trust me: Glitter eyeshadow—whether it’s liquid, pressed, gel, or loose—can be the difference between an amazing, TV-worthy makeup look and a meh one. And contrary to what you may have heard, glitter eyeshadow can be shockingly easy to use as long as you find a formula that doesn’t get absolutely everywhere.
And because I’ve been testing glitter eyeshadows for the past four years (time flies when you’re having fun!), I have a lot of thoughts, like which formulas make the best glitter tears (or Lover hearts, if you’re, uh, into that sorta thing), which last the longest on oily lids and which have the least amount of fallout. Here’s a sneak peek at my faves:
Keep reading for all 13 of my favorite glitter eyeshadows I’ve tested, including new favorites and oldies that still work like a charm, from brands like MAC, Stila, Half Magic, Urban Decay, and more.
Of all the glitter eyeshadows I’ve swiped across my lids, Bodyography’s are hands down the simplest to use. They’re pressed firmly into the pan (aka no mess), but the shimmers are still really easy to pick up on a shader brush or my fingers. My favorite way to wear them though? As a shiny topper over a matte-black eyeshadow. Hello, easiest smokey eye ever.
THE REVIEWS: “This company really did a great job with these, very sparkly and doesn’t flake easily,” writes one tester. “I have nearly every color! It stays on all day, worth the $$! Would highly recommend! Five stars!”
Sometimes I want an imperfect, smudgy glittery eye, á la the early ’00s. For those times, these are the perfect glitter eyeshadows to get the look. Inside the pot is a mix of fine and chunky glitters suspended in a gel that makes them really easy to just swipe on with my finger or a brush. I personally opt for silicone glitter brush for these—it applies the flakes with a bit more precision and is easy AF to clean afterward.
THE REVIEWS: One tester writes, “I do not have words to describe how shiny chrome flakes are!! Laser Beam is def my fav shade. Yes, at first you need to learn how to best apply it, but let me tell you when you get the hang of it, you discover how versatile this product is and how it’s impossible to live without! I love using it to pop my makeup looks in certain spots that I need more reflection but also as the main color in a neutral look.”
I’ll be real: Glitter eyeshadows at the drugstore were once basically children’s makeup, IMO. But these E.l.f. liquid glitters have converted me (ahem, they have a whopping 7,400+ five-star reviews). I just dab the doe-foot applicator where I want a little bit of glitter—and it’s that simple. I don’t need a primer or a special brush, making these legit genius for packing in a makeup bag.
THE REVIEWS: “This is one of my products that I keep re-purchasing, because I love it. It adds a perfect amount of sparkle to your eye look and I always get compliments every single time I wear it,” writes one reviewer.
Meet the OG glitter eyeshadow. In college, I collected these lil tubes like figurines (at one point, I owned every single shade—you could consider me a stan). They were the first product that made glitter eye looks feel easy, thanks to the simple doe-foot applicator and liquid formula that is filled with a mix of ultra-fine shimmers and slightly chunkier glitters that give my lids some major shine.
THE REVIEWS: “This applies very easily for glitter makeup—you don’t have to press hard to get it to stick, for example,” one review reads. “It also lasts fairly long, although admittedly I didn’t really wear it for more than a couple of hours at a time. Essentially, this will last a long time on your face so you don’t have to continually reapply like you would some other eyeshadows.”
I keep a few shades of this glitter eyeshadow stick at my office desk because they are so easy to just swipe on to take my look from day to night before a happy hour or dinner date. I’ll use the crayon side to add some brightness to my inner corners and then dab the glitter on the center of my lids for a lil extra drama. It’s so easy to apply with the doe-foot tip—plus, the liquid is filled with fine glitters that don’t give me legit any fallout.
THE REVIEWS: A reviewer wrote, “Love this product! The crayon is very smooth and easy to apply. Once it’s applied, the eyeshadow would not budge. Beautiful, and just the right accent I was looking for my eyes that an eyeshadow cannot do.”
These pressed glitters have a little bit of pigment in the formula, so they make legit the easiest one-shadow look. TBH, I love this glitter eyeshadow so much, I topped my lids with it for my ~very-special~ 26th birthday dinner last year. I just dabbed a glitter primer on my eyes where I wanted to place the glitter, then patted it on with a flat shader brush until it was the opacity I wanted. Word to the wise though: Don’t lose the stopper that comes inside the jar, as it helps keep the glitter pressed and firm so it doesn’t flake or get messy.
THE REVIEWS: “Beautiful formula that you can apply in layers to make as intense as you like,” one reviewer writes. “Doesn’t smudge or fall but comes off easily with good face wash.”
These liquid shimmers come in a handful of vivid colors (see: neon green and bright purple), all with a duo or multichrome feel that makes them look so unique. Turn your head, and you’ll see an array of glitter flecks in a bunch of different shades, all from one product. No wonder I saw so many people wearing these beauties at Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour.
THE REVIEWS: According to one review, “STUNNING! The product is BEYOND. I’ve never seen a more beautiful, pigmented and delicious color in my life. Looks fab on all skin tones. wish I could wear this every day!”
I had to literally force myself to stop using these loose glitter eyeshadows when they launched fall 2022. They have such a fine shimmer that makes my eyelids look so glowy and wet-like, whether I brush it all over primed lids or on top of a matte cream eyeshadow. Because they’re so fine, though, they can be a little prone to fallout. I always do my eyes first, so I can wipe away any glitter bits with a micellar water before blending on my foundation.
THE REVIEWS: “As a lover of all things sparkle, I have to say these are the best eye glitters I’ve ever used,” one review reads. “So much so, I’ve ordered all the colors. I hope she extends the shades! All sparkle glam with NO fallout.”
Fun fact: Glitter is a microplastic, meaning it can be a big source of air, water, and soil pollution. Which is why I looove TooD's BioGlitter, a biodegradable glitter that's plastic and foil free and degrades in as little as 28 days. But don't worry, it's just as rich and sparkly as all of my other faves.
THE REVIEWS: "The perfect addition to my makeup collection," writes one tester. "A quick dab on my eyelids and cheeks totally elevated an otherwise basic look."
Wondering which glitter eyeshadow they used in Euphoria? You're lookin' at it. Makeup artist Donni Davy swears by these Lemonhead L.A. glitter gels because they stay the f put (according to an IG caption). Plus, they're hella pigmented, so you don't really need to pair them with anything to make them pop on your eyes, cheeks, lips—wherever you wanna shine. And FWIW, this is the glitter eyeshadow I used to create the Lover album heart look when I went to Eras Tour. The compliments were *endless*.
THE REVIEWS: "So perfect and sparkly! I wore this on my eyes and it didn't budge all day," writes one reviewer.
Okay, yes, technically, this is a glitter eyeliner, not an eyeshadow. But I’m a rule breaker and constantly tap the brush applicator onto my lids and wear this as eyeshadow. Why? Because it’s so freakin’ easy. I don’t have to fuss with any brushes or my fingers to dab it on. And because it’s suspended in this liquid/gel situation to go on as a liner, I don’t need glitter primer to make the color stick, meaning there’s virtually no fallout. If you’re intimidated by glitter, just put a few dots of this right in the center of your eyelid to add some shine.
THE REVIEWS: One tester’s review reads, “I used this as an eyeshadow, and it was shimmery and wonderful. It lasted all night and didn’t smudge.”
Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Makeup artists have been dabbing these ultra-fine loose glitters on lids and cheekbones for decades to create shimmery, reflective looks. These glitters aren't scratchy at all, and they don't feel too costume-y or like an art project. I personally love playing with the reflects shades, which are fully transparent with various colored shimmers throughout that give your look a ton of dimension when it hits the light.
THE REVIEWS: "MAC by far makes the best glitter," one reviewer writes. "This is worth the purchase. It's a great way to glam up any look."
After I saw these liquid glitters all over TikTok and YouTube, I had to try them myself. They come in so many colors (34, to be exact) and are surprisingly pigmented, making for a v simple eye look when I smudge it all over my eyelids and through my crease. But the #1 reason I’m obsessed? They’re less than $10 bucks. Sold.
THE REVIEWS: One tester writes, "Super creamy, applies smoothly, stays put, does not crease, and lasted me two full days but would have longer had I left it—even through gardening in the heat!!!—and came off easily. I wanted something to be simple, as much or as little as I wanted depending on my upcoming day, and this product is exactly that! AWESOME!"
No, liquid glitter eyeshadow isn't "better" than powder or loose glitter, per se, but it can be way easier to apply. Because liquid glitter shadows are suspended in a gel or liquid solution, they usually adhere to your eyes much more easily than a loose or pressed situation (more on that below). But they also are usually more pigmented, because they're combined with other pigments to give them a more opaque look on your eyes.
To get loose glitter to stick to your eyes, you'll want to dab on a tacky base, like a glitter primer or eyelash glue. My faves are NYX Long-Lasting Glitter Primer and Valentino Beauty Stick With Me Glitter Primer, which both really help loose glitters adhere to my eyes without making my eyes feel tight or dry. If you want a really precise application, dab on the primer with a small, angled brush, then stick your glitter on. This'll help reduce some fallout (but if you do end up getting some—it’s glitter, after all—try wrapping a piece of tape around your finger then patting it on your skin to pick up the loose glitter remnants).
If you're new to glitter eyeshadows, you'll likely prefer a liquid or gel formula (Hi, Lemonhead L.A. Spacepaste Glitter and Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow) that glides onto your eyes effortlessly without having to layer on primers and other shadows to get a full look. But loose glitter eyeshadows (like Gxve Beauty's Eye See in Sparkle Glitter Eyeshadow) make great topper shades for a subtle look, or to give a matte eyeshadow some more ~drama~.
Don't have a precise hand? No worries, opt for a liquid glitter eyeliner as eyeshadow, like Urban Decay's Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner. It has a fine, brush-tip applicator that makes doing detailed work like inner corners and graphic lines majorly easy, even if you're not v experienced. On the other hand, feel free to play around with MAC's Glitter when you want a bit more of a challenge—just keep a tacky glitter primer, a synthetic brush, and a micellar water for clean-ups on hand.
Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan with five years of experience researching, writing, and editing makeup stories that range from magnetic lashes to setting powders to bronzing drops. She’s an authority in all makeup categories, but is an expert when it comes to glitter eyeshadows, thanks to years of testing nearly every formula on the market on her own eyeballs. She regularly tests and analyzes glitter eyeshadows for efficacy, while working with the industry’s top makeup artists to assess new formulas and brands.
Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers skincare, makeup, hair, nails, and more across digital and print. She can generally be found in bright eyeshadow furiously typing her latest feature or hemming and hawing about a new product you "have to try." Prior to Cosmopolitan, she wrote and edited beauty content as an Editor at The Everygirl for four years. Follow her on Instagram for makeup selfies and a new hair 'do every few months.
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