Cosmetic Glitter: How to choose it, apply it & remove it!

We would like to use a blog post by Johnny from Give Face Cosmetics.

He is a well of insightful, handy information - and this one is close to our hearts.

"We have almost 200 different varieties of glitter at Give Face Cosmetics and our range is ever growing as I find more amazing colours and finishes! We are often asked which glitters are best, safest, the difference between cuts and effects, and how to apply and remove them. 

​Biodegradable Mica Glitter - Mica glitter flakes are high sparkle, can be applied direct onto a crème base for a traditional glitter effect or mixed with an oil base to turn it into a "liquid metal"! It is so super fine it can be mixed in with highlighters and other powdered products for extra metallic shine. If applied with a water based gel or glue, the finish will be a metallic leaf effect, however it may crack and flake so oil and crème based products work best with this type of glitter.

​Microfine Glitter - cut at 0.04 microfine is our finest traditional glitter, extremely rich in colour coverage and luster with less sparkle distraction. It can be used for all cosmetic purposes and excels when creating glittered lips due to its fineness. Microfine is so fine is can be mixed into other formulas for glittery effects (ie liquid glitter lipsticks, glitter soaps and glitter gels).

​Ultrafine - cut at 0.08 ultrafine it is the most common glitter, readily available across many brands. Ultrafine is often used by artists as it is very sparkly and a good size to work on all cosmetic uses. Ultrafine is often used for glittering lips for stage and studio work, however it may feel less functional for normal (all day or night) lip wear.

​Theatrical - cut at 0.40 "chunky" glitter has more surface to capture light so rewards with lots of sparkle! Because flakes are bigger, colour mixes work better as they are individually more recognisable. Iridescent and Holographic theatrical glitters appear multi-coloured as the flakes naturally reflect and absorb light at different angles. We call it theatrical glitter because of its use for special effect work, glitter beards and larger glitter designs, it works great on the stage and in the studio where bright lighting makes the sparkle easier to see in imagery and from distance. Depending on the use, you may need to use a cosmetic glue rather than a gel to secure flakes. 

​Colours and effects vary on the quality of the film used in production and sets all glitters apart across the market. Glitters are commonly one metallic colour for single colour sparkle, however there are also matt, neon, pearl, white and clear which rely on the smoothness of surface and cut to create a glossy shine. Holographic glitter is created by exposing the film to different lasers to create extra surface depths for spectral light reflection. Iridescent is multi-layered tinted film which absorbs light creating a beautiful colour depth, a different colour shift and/or light reflection can be seen when the flakes move.

​Glitter use depends on the grade of film used, cosmetic grade is very thin and should feel smooth, silky and escape easily when gently rubbed between your fingertips, if your glitter feels grainy - you are most probably not using cosmetic grade. Cosmetic grade is very lightweight and different dyes and coatings are used to finish the product. One of the main issues with glitter supply is finding manufacturers who understand the use of the suppliers' customers. Unfortunately some suppliers will approach general manufacturers and unknowingly buy standard glitter (craft glitter). You can often spot this glitter is priced extremely low - good quality cosmetic film is not cheap! Craft grade is sometimes thicker and often not fully finished with cosmetic coatings, sometimes making the glitter sharper and scratchy when applying or removing, you may also notice it doesn't apply well or stay put with cosmetic gels. Craft films cut into Microfine and Ultrafine will appear to lack lustre, shine, sparkle and sometimes will appear dull and clumpy in the pot and on skin. 

​So now we have covered the glitter itself, the use is extremely important. No manufacturer or supplier can guarantee that glitter is completely cosmetic safe - especially "eye safe"! It simply doesn't exist, if applied badly or care not taken any glitter can scratch the eye surface. Everyone uses glitter at their own risk, if you are worried about damaging your eyes, apply it extremely careful, not too near the waterline and check regularly you are not getting particles in or too near your eyes. One way of applying glitter more safely is to mix it with a base product such as a glitter gel before applying to so it is no longer loose. The other way is to apply the gel or glue to skin, then carefully press glitter on top, but take your time and check for loose particles on lashes or near the waterline as you go. Applying glitter without securing with a gel or glue will just result in the glitter falling off. You should avoid using glitter shapes (ie stars, strands etc) around the eye area as they may have pointed edges and may be more difficult to see and remove, they should be applied singularly and secured with a cosmetic glue away from the waterline. 

If you do get glitter in your eye (this happens to me frequently because I rush and apply too much at once), wash the eye with drops to encourage the glitter to come out or - if visible and safe to - my trick is to use a damp clean cotton bud to gently pick up the particle from the surface and this saves me having to reapply washed off makeup from rinsing. Avoid rubbing your eyes wearing glitter and if you do feel a particle on the eye surface or under your eyelid do not rub because this can scratch the surface, find the particle and gently capture or rinse to remove. If you are concerned about any damage caused you should seek medical advice. Mica Glitter is considered less risky, but it is super fine and fly away, so it will have much more drop out and spread when applied loose without a crème base. 

​To create a glitter lip, you will need a good base product to adhere to, a complimentary coloured lip product is best. Apply your chosen product, then press a glittered fingertip on to the lips to create your desired effect. You can either leave the glitter as it is or seal in with a clear lip gloss or top coat.

​When it comes to removing glitter, our artists preferred way is to use sticky tape. Carefully place the tape over the glitter and gently press to adhere, then gently peel back so the tape pulls the glitter away and dispose of the tape responsibly to reduce the environmental issue of glitter going into water waste. Once you have removed most of the glitter with tape, use makeup remover on a cotton wool ball to gently and carefully remove any remaining glitter. Trying to wash glitter off with soap and water can sometimes just spread it further around the area and it will go into water waste which we do not encourage. Mica Glitter is biodegradable and can be removed like normal everyday makeup."

At The Beauty Vault, we work hard to bring in as much biodegradable glitter as possible.  Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to phase out non-eco glitter.  But, in the meantime, not only do we try to label bio-glitter as such on our website, but we also try to make the bio-blends well sign-posted in our shop.

So either shoot us an email, Facebook message, Instagram DM or come and see us in the shop, and let us make your perfect glitter match!


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