For the majority of my teenage and adult life, my signature eye makeup aesthetic was solely comprised of liquid black eyeliner and lots (and lots) of mascara. In fact, up until a few years ago when glitter eye shadow became my beloved trademark, the only time I'd worn eye shadow in my entire life was for dance competitions and recitals. I have fair skin and light eyes and hair, and I always felt like any matte formula I'd try just looked too heavy and intense. (Of course, that also could have been because I was choosing the wrong shades to flatter my blue eyes.)
About three or four years back, I was on a press trip where every beauty editor received glam. The makeup artist asked how I typically liked to wear my eye makeup, and I quickly said, "No shadow, just mascara and maybe some liner, please." Well, she proceeded to dapple my lids with Stila's cult-loved Glitter & Glow Eyeshadow ($24) in Diamond Dust, and the rest is history. Now, glitter eye shadow has become a non-negotiable part of my makeup routine, and while I usually gravitate toward neutral hues like champagne, light pink, gold, and bronze, I like to experiment with bold colors every now and again as well.
Glitter eye shadow often gets a bad rap for being "childish" or "tacky," but if you choose the right formula in the colors you love most, the overall effect is far from both. (Plus, maximalist makeup and high-impact aesthetics are trending, and a glittery gaze is the ultimate, very-easy way to channel the vibe yourself.)
The Best Glitter Eye Shadow Singles
Jason Wu Beauty Celestial Lust Glitter Cream Shadow
This is, quite literally, a perfect glitter eye shadow, especially if you're a liquid gal like me. (I find them to be less messy—no fallout—and easier to control your application.) This formula from Jason Wu is highly pigmented so a little goes a long way, it dries quickly but stays put—nothing is worse than specs of glitter lodging themselves on your eyeball—and it's equally mesmerizing on its own or on top of other shadows. The only thing I find annoying is that it's not available in more colors. The price is bomb, too.
Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow
Here it is! The glitter eye shadow that started it all for me. Stila's top-rated, best-selling formula might be the most famous of all time. It has a solid 4.5-star rating with nearly 2000 reviews on Sephora, the colors are highly flattering, and it's easy to customize your application. It boasts a unique water-infused texture which ensures easy blend and glides while still drying down quickly and smoothly. (It's impossible to mess up!)
For a more saturated payoff I apply it straight to my lid and blend out with a brush, but if I want something more minimal and ethereal, I take a little on the back of my hand, blot in my brush, tap it on my lids sparingly and then blend, baby, blend.
Róen Disco Eye
Anyone who loves a little razzle-dazzle on their eyes needs this shimmering, disco-themed eye shadow from Róen in their possession. (Hailey Bieber is also a known Róen stan, it's not just me!)
According to the brand, it's considered a universal shade that was specifically formulated to offer the most unique and head-turning sparkle. (I've tried so many glitter eye shadows in my life, and I can attest to the validity of this statement.) Plus, it gets bonus points for featuring clean ingredients. For the best results, I recommend using your finger and not a brush, since it's a cream-powder hybrid.
Lemonhead LA Spacejam
If you've seen Euphoria, then you're already intimately acquainted with how amazing Lemonhead LA's ultra-famous glitter confections are. The signature balm texture is easy to manipulate and work with, and every unique shade from the brand contains over a dozen assorted luxury cosmetic glitters in different colors, shapes, and sizes. It doesn't require any glue, it washes off easily, and there's zero fallout. (I dare you to walk away with just one.)
Half Magic Glitter Pill Eye Paint + Liner
Speaking of Euphoria, the show's amazing head makeup artist, Doniella Davy, recently launched her own makeup line called Half Magic, and not surprisingly, it's fantastic. Obviously, there'd be a glitter eye shadow in the mix, and this eye paint and liner hybrid checks every last box for me.
Urban Decay Heavy Metals Glitter Gel
Urban Decay's Heavy Metals formulas are iconic, and I've been wearing this glitter gel and the equally rad glitter eyeliner, for decades. Inspired by the brand's original formula from the early 2000s, this high-coverage option delivers a vibrant punch of sparkle and color.
Victoria Beckham Beauty Lid Lustre
I'm a glitter gal through and through, so you can imagine my excitement in response to these crystal-studded Lid Lustres from Posh, herself. Each of the nine shades is enriched with a different crystal for what the brand calls "aura-amplifying energy." With just a quick dab on your inner corners and on the ball of your eyelid, any shadow is instantly elevated into a glimmering eye look worthy of lots and lots of compliments. They're also buildable and there's no fallout over the course of the day or night—I've worn the formula upward of 12 hours and not one flake of crystal has budged. The formula is 60% pearlescent pigment, which explains why the effect is so damn disco-pretty without looking gaudy.
Bodyography Glitter Pigments
Adored by makeup artists and beauty editors alike, Bodyography's glitter eye shadows are some of the best money can buy. They boast a one-of-a-kind eye shadow technology that blends the saturation of a loose pigment, the cushion of a cream, and the silkiness of a powder. If you're after that wet, glossy-looking glitter look, these are the ultimate.
Violette_FR Yeux Paint Liquid Eye Shadow + Liner
I freaked the eff out last year when I found out one of my favorite makeup artists of all time, Violette_FR was set to debut her very own makeup line. Lots of use and zero disappointment later, these beautifully hued sparklers are my favorite item from the entire collection, which is really saying something. The pigment payoff is next level, and I only need one or two swipes to get it to the saturation of my liking. I love that the doe-foot applicator has a thicker flat side (great if you want thick eyeliner or are doing shadow), but the applicator's side is nice and thin if you want something more precise. It won't budge or lose its luster until you want it to, and sorry, but you officially need every shade.
Best Glitter Eye Shadow Palettes
Kaja Beauty Bento Bouncy Eye Shadow Trio
Kaja's adorable, super ingenious Bento Eyeshadow Trios are one of my favorite (and most-used) beauty products of all time. (I have pretty much every shade at this point.) I love a hint of eye-catching sparkle on my lids, and these do it best with the least amount of fuss.
Pat McGrath Labs Mothership X Eye Shadow Palette: Moonlit Seduction
Renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath's covetable eye shadow palettes are definitely an investment, but one swipe of its celestial, ultra-shimmering magic, and you'll understand why every beauty lover needs at least one in their wardrobe.
Juvia's Place Garden of Juvia Eye Shadow Palette
My 74-year-old mom (who loves eye shadow enough for both of us) is the person who first turned me onto the beautiful eye shadow palettes from Juvia's Place. They're affordable, they come in tons of eye-catching colors—from bold jewel tones to mainstay neutrals—and I've used them to create some of my best glitter makeup looks.
Glossier Monochromes Essential Eye Shadow Trio
I'm so happy I finally tried Glossier's Monochromes Eyeshadow Trios because they're everything and more than I've ever wanted in a glitter eye shadow. I don't want to call myself a genius, but I pretty ingeniously started to use some of the brand's shimmery liquid shadow, Lidstar in Moon ($18), almost like a primer before I go in with my Monochromes palette, and the results are even more mesmerizing. I love that there are three different finishes—matte, satin, and metallic—that are super buildable and easy to work with while creating the most eye-popping shimmer effect.
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eye Shadow Palette
I dare you to name a person in the beauty industry who doesn't live and die by Charlotte Tilbury's aptly named Luxury Eyeshadow Palettes. The quad design lends itself to easy application and color pairings—feel free to use the glittering shades solo or mix and match them for even more depth and dimension.
Natasha Denona Bronze Eye Shadow Palette
Did I save the best glitter eye shadow for last? You betcha. Natasha's Denona's famed ultra-pigmented eye shadows are a known fixture in the splurge department, but trust me when I say no other palette or powder formula can compete in the gleam department. They blend like a dream, and your eyes will look so beautifully twinkly, while still translating as elevated.
5 Brushes We Love for Glitter Eye Shadow