How to Wear Glitter Like a Model

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Photo: Lauren Fleishman

If Fashion Month had another theme beyond no-hairstyle hair and dark lips, it was “Ooh, shiny!” due to all the glitter. Silver, black, gold, purple, chunky, delicate, and fine glitter were all seen the past few weeks at shows like Kenzo, Vetements, Giambattista Valli, Opening Ceremony, Vionnet, and Burberry. Glitter even appeared in the drawn-on finger waves on the heads of short-haired models at Marc Jacobs. Here are five life lessons for glittering on and glittering off — because not even Beyoncé is immune to a tricky glitter removal.

1. Make it sticky. For your glitter look to work, you need an adhesive — either a moisturizer or a gel like MAC’s Mixing Medium. If you’re creating more of a flat pattern like the blurred motion-shapes at Opening Ceremony, moisturizer is your best bet. But if you’re creating a raised glitter embellishment, Mixing Medium works best since it’s moldable. It was used for the glitter looks at Kenzo, Vetements, and Giambattista Valli.

2. Use brushes. If you dab on glitter with your hand, there’s a chance it’ll get messier than Mariah Carey in, well, Glitter. It’s better to use brushes, because glitter spreads like a sparkly infection. Once you touch it with your hands, you’ll find it everywhere, including when you touch up your concealer or other parts of your formerly non-glittered face. To accent the Sailor Moon-bad-girl eyes at Kenzo, Lynsey Alexander for MAC Cosmetics used a tiny lip-brush to dab on the glitter in the inner corners of the eye.

3. Wear it with everything. Glitter was used at couture, ready-to-wear, and fancy red carpet. It was even used in secret at the Vetements show, where two lucky girls got purple glitter eyeliner — evidence that you can wear it with expensive hoodies. Vary up the placement: At Valli, Val Garland did silver “eyebrows,” creating a thin, second eyebrow line with glitter on models like Gigi Hadid. (“Because Valli wanted to show that every girl has a silver lining,” she said backstage, smiling.) At Vionnet, models wore gold glitter lip liner and dotted it in the inner corners of the eye. At Opening Ceremony, glitter even went on the ear and neck. Seriously, Bedazzle your heart out.

4. Accept that it’s a Stage-5 Clinger. Water isn’t going to solve your glitter removal problem. Backstage, people tend to use electrical or surgical tape to pick up tiny bits. Alexander also likes to use disposable mascara wands, since the bristles are great at seizing stray pieces. Garland also uses the drag-queen trick of taking loose theatrical powder with no color and applying it all over the face prior to glitter application to catch the fallout. She then brushes the powder away. At Issey Miyake, Alex Box for MAC Cosmetics even cut out small pieces of cellophane, which she glued onto high points of the face using Mouldlife Adhesive (from a U.K. special-effects company).

5. Keep everything else neutral. Glitter was the original strobing — a way to direct light to the face. Since you already have one “look over here!” beauty element, most makeup artists suggest neutral-toned lips and soft blush colors to keep the look ethereal and fresh.