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Everything You Need to Know About Glitter Based On My Vast Glitter Expertise

The Glitter Guide: What to get, and how to get it off.

Sarah Burns · 29 days ago

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’Tis the season to up your sparkle game, but with so many dazzling options out there, it’s hard to know where to begin. Here we’ll go over the different types of glitter, what to look for when choosing one that’s right for you, how to use them, and how to remove them. We’ll also rank the most popular glitter-izing products on the market. Consider this Glitter Guide your starting point to a sparkling new life!

H1-A

First, decide where you’d like to apply the glitter. There are lots of different types of glitter for all parts of the body, so knowing what you’re planning to do can help you narrow down your options.

Types of Glitter

  • Face Glitters - Designed to be worn on the face; typically still not a great idea around the eyes, particularly if your eyes are sensitive.

    Body Glitters - Just as the name suggests, this is for anywhere but your face.

    Hair Glitters - For the most sparkling strands.

    Glitter Lip Gloss - Formulated to be worn safely on the lips.

Different types of glitter reflect colors differently, and are usually specified on the bottle. Depending on what they’re made of and how they’re processed, different glitters will have different uses and results.

The Most Commonly Used Glitters

  • Metallic - The most common type of glitter; its name refers to its metallic shine.

    Holographic - Reflects multiple colors.

    Iridescent - Reflects multiple pastel colors.

    Gem Powder - Super fine, the most subtle of the glitters.

    Cosmetic Grade - Intended for use on the face, body, or hair.

    Microplastic Glitter - Made with — you guessed it — tiny particles of plastic. Products that use this type of glitter should be cleaned up with disposable paper towels or baby wipes to avoid washing it down the drain where it can get into the water table and affect local wildlife.

    Bio Glitter - Made from natural ingredients, and safe for washing down drains.

Also consider the particle size, which is usually noted on the bottle (or else it will be easy to determine just by looking at the packaging). Larger particles are easier to remove, but should not be used around the eyes. Particle size is usually measured in millimeters, but there’s some common terminology around size that it’s helpful to get used to.

Glitter Sizes

  • Regular - Around 2mm

    Fine - Smaller than 2mm

    Ultra fine - About 1mm

    Powder - Particles are so small, it forms a dust

    Chunky - Usually around 3-5mm

H1-B

Entirely? It’ll probably take a few tries. As the light changes in a space, you’ll notice flecks you missed when cleaning the first go around, because light affects how we see glitter. You might have to repeat the cleaning process a few times, but it CAN be done!

Glitter Removal

  • From fabrics: Spray items with aerosol hairspray; let dry, and wash by itself, or you’ll just transfer the glitter to other fabrics!

    Skin and hair: For your body and face, wipe down with a baby wipe before hopping into the shower. If the glitter is super persistent, grab your favorite skin-rejuvenating oil (think olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil), dip your fingers in, and rub off in a circular motion. For hair, work in a tablespoon or two of oil with your fingers, and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

    From hard surfaces: Use a wet paper towel to brush into a pile, and then vacuum it up with a hose attachment. Wipe down the surface with a microfiber cloth after. 

    Try using a balloon: Blow up a balloon, and rub a few times to charge with static electricity. Roll the balloon over glittery areas to help pick up any stragglers. Duct tape or a lint roller can work wonders too!

H1-C

Here are some of the most popular glitter-fied products available — I've tried them all so you don’t have to. They’re ranked on a 5-star scale based on Sparkle factor, how Sticky it is, whether or not it Stays, and how hard it is to Clean Up when you’re ready to de-glitter.

Fashion Angels Glitter Everything Body and Hair Glitter

Sparkle: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sticky: ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐

Stays: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Clean Up: ⭐⭐

This brand uses regular sized pieces of metallic glitter in vibrant jewel tones. Glitter Everything is a mix of deeper pinks and rose golds. It feels a little like applying gel school glue, and after some product research, I found if you apply too much, it will even peel off like a layer of glue. But I don’t recommend using that much, because it feels super icky, and takes forever to dry. Layered on in moderate amounts, it’s great; though it does stay tacky for about 10 minutes. It also has pretty good staying power, provided you’re not totally sweating it off.

This is not recommended for face use, especially not around the eyes. It washes off OK, but you’ll still find a speck here and there, and if you’re using it in your hair, be prepared for a couple of washes to get it out completely.

Unicorn Snot for Body and Face

Sparkle: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sticky: ⭐⭐⭐

Stays: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Clean Up: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Unicorn Snot comes in little glass jars that really show off the dazzling iridescence and color variety of this product. They’re all made with fine and ultra fine glitters that create a pearlescent shimmer when dry, and a little goes a very long way. Applying this product feels a lot like slathering yourself in hair gel, but this is so high-sparkle that a thin layer is really all you need. 

Unicorn Snot is very easy to remove, and it removes surprisingly cleanly considering how much glitter is packed in there. It might resemble hair gel, but this product isn’t really meant for hair, so do so at your own risk, and plan to have micro-glitter stuck to your scalp for a few showers.

Who’s That Girl Glitter Roots

Sparkle: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sticky: ⭐⭐⭐

Stays: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Clean Up: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This kit includes a full-size version and a keychain version, so you can touch up your roots on the go! Anyone who’s used hair mascaras to add a temporary pop of color will be familiar with this application: Simply style your hair as desired, and swipe the glitter and hair gel-filled spoolie through your roots. This is a chunky glitter — Which of all the glitters is the easiest to wash from hair. That said, it may still take a few washes depending on your hair type.

Manic Panic Body and Hair Glitter Spray

Sparkle: ⭐⭐⭐

Sticky: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Stays: ⭐⭐

Clean Up: ⭐

Anyone who’s experimented with funky hair dye colors will recognize the brand, and this product is from their line of temporary hair color sprays. A few shakes and a couple spritzes will provide a dash of sparkle (nothing overwhelming). This product acts very much like a hairspray that dries to a hard, sticky finish. As sticky as it is, it still manages to sprinkle glitter everywhere.

Do NOT attempt to brush this glitter through your locks, because you’ll be left with a glittery tangle of hair (and possibly a busted hairbrush handle). The glitter particles are pretty fine, so even through multiple washes, you’ll still find glitter hanging on.

Hair Slay Glitter Hair Detangler

Sparkle: ⭐⭐⭐

Sticky: ⭐⭐⭐

Stays: ⭐⭐

Clean Up: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A great alternative to spray-on hair glitters and gel, this detangler contains aloe and nourishing oil extracts so you can give your strands a treat while you glitz them up. It should be noted that the product description here has it listed as “Pink,” but this product is definitely not pink — more of a deep rose gold. The bottle says for wet or dry hair, but I had much better results with dry than wet. It feels kind of sticky at first, and it has the consistency of a watered-down hair conditioner. Don’t overdo it, or the conditioners will weigh your hair down and make it feel greasy.

Make sure to shake the bottle really well first, then pump some into your hand, and then work through hair with fingers — don’t worry, it will wash off hands easily with some soap and water. The result is a subtle, iridescent gold sparkle, with a pleasant, clean berry scent. If you’re looking for super dramatic chunks of glitter that stick from sundown to sun up, you WON’T find it here, but you WILL have soft, lightly scented hair with a touch of glam that washes out easily when you want it to.

Awesome Sauce Holographic Glitter Lotion

Sparkle: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sticky: ⭐

Stays: ⭐⭐⭐

Clean Up: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

As the name implies, this will leave you awesomely glittery! It smells slightly of watermelon, or berries, or something generally indistinguishably fruity, and it rubs right on just like a light lotion — not greasy or super sticky. In the bottle, the glitter is deceptively silver — when wearing it’s still primarily silver, but the holographic sparkle is much more obvious, reflecting a prism of hues. Keep in mind that this is a body lotion, and not intended for use on the face.

This product has great staying power, although as with all glitters, you should expect it to leave a shiny sprinkling wherever you go. It’s also just kind of fun to apply, because the BBQ sauce shaped bottle adds to the novelty. There’s lots of product in this bottle, so you really get the bang for your buck with this, and, most importantly, it washes off easily with soap and warm water!