How To Wear Glitter Like A Grown-Up: Nails & Lips

Part one of two!

When I was a teenager, I loved glitter. That is somehow an accurate description and a terrible understatement at the same time. I was freaking ALL ABOUT GLITTER, all the time, on everything: on my eyes, in my hair, on my body, on my nails, on my books and accessories and clothing.

Everything I owned sparkled, either because it was designed that way (a black faux-fur coat with silver glitter in it--the most expensive thing I’d ever bought at the time) or because I would customise it (uniform shoes that I doused with sparkly silver nail polish).

But now, I am a mature and elegant lady in her twenties who no longer feels the need to make EVERYTHING in her life glittery. However, sometimes a lady wants some sparkle, and so the question becomes, “How can I wear this without looking like a pre-teen at a princess party?”

I’m so glad you asked! Here’s how to make glitter glamourous and sophisticated.


Glitter nails are THE BEST. There is no better way to throw some awesome into your look than with a sparkly manicure on perfectly shaped nails.

The issue with glitter nail polish is that it’s really hard to remove. If you have delicate nails--and oh man, I do--the time spent scouring it off is likely to leave your natural nails in rough shape.

One way you can avoid this is by being careful about the KIND of glitter you use. I usually use Celebration by Essie or Fairy Dust by China Glaze; both are very fine holographic glitter in clear polish. I do my standard manicure in whatever colour, throw a coat of the glitter polish overtop, then seal with a topcoat.

Because the individual pieces of glitter are so tiny, removal is pretty easy and won’t destroy your natural nails. Plus, if you wear it over a light colour, you can have your sparkle in a subtle way.

I almost never want to be subtle, though, so I throw it on over a dark polish for glittery night-sky nails.

If you want sparkly nails that go to eleven, we bring out the big guns...

The big, roundish individual pieces of glitter are called sequins (because obviously). Sequin glitter polish gives a super-beautiful, mega-sparkly look but is a huge pain in the butt to remove.

One way to sort of get around this is to use them on only one nail for an accent. Here, I’ve painted my nails with a bright blue-red (Essie, Fishnet Stockings) and then put a coat of red glitter (Deborah Lippman, D’ya Think I’m Sexy) overtop on my ring finger.

Voila! Very sophisticated.

You can also do an ombre glitter manicure, which is super-easy. Throw on some nail polish in whatever colour you like and let it dry. Then take your sequin glitter polish and apply it to the tips of your nails only.

Once it’s totally dry, apply another coat of glitter, taking it a little further down the nail. You want to have more glitter on top and less towards the base. Don’t make it too perfect--a little uneven looks better, like it’s dripping.

Finish it up by adding some extra glitter to fill in any “holes.” I pick individual sequins out of the polish and hand-apply them with a pin to make everything perfect. You don’t need to do that--I am a weirdo.

Then you’re done!

And that’s three ways to wear gorgeous, sparkly nails. But we aren’t limited to our fingers and toes for sparkle, no sir.


The best way to wear glitter on your lips without looking like you’re on your way to a Justin Bieber concert is with a sparkly gloss. I like MAC Dazzleglass, but my favourite is Luminous Lip Veil in Angelic Psychedelic from Napoleon Perdis. Pink glitter with a light strawberry scent--what isn’t to love?

The problem with most glitter glosses is that they don’t have much staying power, by which I mean they come off on EVERYTHING. Sigh... the price one pays for shine.

But there is a way to wear it that ramps up both the glamour AND the staying power of glittery glosses. Allow me to introduce you to the best thing in the entire world: Stila Lip & Cheek stain.

Slight digression: This is one of those magical products that I hoard like a dragon, because I am terrified they’ll stop making it. It is the Platonic ideal of a lip stain: stays on no matter what, isn’t drying, has an oh-so-slight shimmer. Because the Raspberry is pretty close to my natural lip colour, it’s great for those days when I want to look less like a mountain troll without being OVERdone. Like xoVain photo shoots!

Anyway. Like with lipstick mixing, this is really simple: Throw on a lipstain for colour and long wear, then apply the glittery gloss overtop. Bam.

Don’t you feel like a glamourpuss?

Glittery eyes are something that a lot of people stay away from because it is a serious LOOK, but if you’re committed enough to Sparkle Motion, you can make it work. Tomorrow, I'll show you how!