Are you totally over the mess and mishaps that come with using glitter? I’ve got some fresh approaches and techniques that will make dealing with glitter a breeze, I’ll help you leave your makeup looks and work areas as tidy as can be. So, if you’re ready to conquer your glitter woes and keep your high-glitter jobs in check, let’s dive into the sparkling world of glitter management together.

are you tired of glitter makeup mess and mishaps?
woman body painting

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • That glitter makeup doesn’t have to be a messy nightmare.
  • Implementing some simple strategies can make working with glitter a more controlled and tidy process.
  • Following certain systems and processes can help you demonstrate professionalism and respect for the craft and your working environment.


click here to read the transcript!


Episode 53: Show notes

woman body painting

This week, we are talking glitter.

If you can’t already tell!!!

Glitter, while alluring, has been a source of perpetual frustration throughout my career. Do you feel the same way about it, too?

It has persistently demanded meticulous attention and careful management, while often leaving a trail of irksome messes in its wake.

You can always tell a makeup trailer, or room where someone’s had glitter thrown all over them.
And truth be told, I once said goodbye to a makeup standby kit because I couldn’t get out all of the glitter that has spilt inside it. Yep. True story.

Yet, in my pursuit of a deeper understanding and mastery of this enigmatic (and gorgeous, let’s not deny it!) material, I’ve uncovered innovative approaches and techniques that can transform the glitter game.

So let’s get going, and embark on a journey through the glittery cosmos, exploring new strategies to conquer the glittery conundrum once and for all.

I want to break down how I manage the world of glitter into 5 key sections; preparation, primer, application, sealing, and removal.


Let’s start with preparation, a critical phase that sets the stage for the glittery escapade.

Whether crafting a clean beauty makeup look or a larger-than-life sparkle extravaganza, selecting the right glitter and its accompaniments is pivotal.

And I must share with you at this point, some of the best glitter recommendations, from Lit Cosmetic’s jars of fine shimmer to Makeup Forever’s Starlit Powder, and a host of other stellar options, each possessing its own distinctive allure and charm.

Armed with the right glitter arsenal, you’re poised to conquer the glitter universe with finesse and ease.

Now, I have mentioned one or two loose glitter powders among these products, amd yes it can be something of a perplexing issue – managing loose glitter.

So here’s what I like to do. And while it may sound a little extreme, at least it will guarantee that while breakages and spills can and will always happen, at least you can control how far those spills travel.

So, with electrical tape, I seal each individual package. And the seal them within individual Ziploc bags, thwarting potential glittery insurrections in your makeup kit.


By ensuring that you have “prepped” your model’s skin with a toner or astringent such as Sea Breeze, or my favorite Blue Kiehl’s Blue Herbal astringent, your skin surface should be ready to get that glitter on.


As far as application goes, I do like to remove the loose dry glitter approach as often as possible

Instead, relying on the wonderful Gafquat, which if you haven’t used it, is essentially a concentrated form of hair gel that you can mix your glitter into til you get your desired consistency, and opacity, and depth of glitter.

I also like to apply this mixture with a bottle that has a brush nozzle on the end. Not only does this speed up the application process, but it helps control spills as well. Be sure to test your bottle first, and make sure your glitter flakes fit through the applicator.


Once you have completed your makeup and glitter application, it is vital to seal that baby well!

You can try another layer of gafquat over the top if you like. This will “lock in” all of the glitter flakes in between layers, so nothing is on the surface.

Otherwise use your favorite seaer – mine is Kryolan Fixier Spray for this type of work.


The best news about Gafquat is that it should remove well with warm water. So I recommend prepping some hot towels in advance and working from a large bucket or vessel of warm water, and keep gently wiping away the sparkly remains.

You could also just send your performer to a shower with a gentle cleanser and some small hand towels or Makeup Erasers (my faves). The choice is yours, and your performers.

In the end, this is all about equipping you with practical strategies and insights to empower you in navigating the intricate world of glitter makeup.

I hope these epointers give you some new ideas and approaches that you can run with yourself, and that your next glittery endeavor is filled with sparkling success.

Until next time, keep shining and embracing the brilliant art of makeup!

Click here to listen to this episode!


Episode Transcript

[00:00:00]: Can I let you in on a little secret? I have literally avoided this makeup material for over half of my career. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of bling, but there is something about glitter that gets under my OCD riddled skin.

It’s like that person that never wants to leave your party, even after the music’s been turned off and the cleanup has begun. It never goes. And it’s kind of difficult to deal with, isn’t it? From buying it, decanting it, mixing it, applying it. Glitter is one stubborn beast. So I wanted to take a deep dive into the deliciously gorgeous world of glitter and come up with some new approaches and techniques that you can put into play to make all of your high glitter jobs, seasons, makeup looks, and work areas as tidy and glitter free as they were the day before glitter ever entered your life.

[00:01:36]: Now, I’ve broken the general management of glitter down into five main categories, and those categories are preparation, primer, application, sealing, removal, and cleanup. They’re all fairly self explanatory. So let’s get into the nuts and bolts of each step of the process to help you deal with glitter without the mess or fuss.

Let’s start with preparation. Now, obviously, this starts with the concept that you’re bringing to life. So once you know exactly what you’re dealing with, the next steps will be ready to take. And I guess what I mean to say is that let’s say you’re doing a clean beauty makeup with a glitter lip. Your needs and preparation will be far different from if you’re doing a full body, dojo, catesque sparkle look.

[00:02:25]: So once you know what you’ve got to do, you can begin collecting the right glitter for the job. And while we’re talking actual glitter, here are some of my finest recommendations for you. My first is from a company called Lit Glitter, which are basically gorgeous, ready to go jars of fine glitter in so many different shades.

And I do suggest pairing your glitter, which is a loose powder form, with their cosmetic glue. And to apply, you simply dip your brush into the decanted glue first and then into the glitter. So that way you’re avoiding transferring loose glitter from brush to face and I think this is particularly important if you’re working on the eyes as well. Now, lit is fantastic so check them out. I’ll make sure to share them in the show notes as they’ve got some great accessories tools and some really pretty false eyelashes as well.

[00:03:22]: Now another glitter go to. It’s hard to say. Another glitter go to is the makeup forever starlit powder, which is a much finer grain, almost bordering on a shimmer powder if truth be told. But it’s gorgeous as well.

And if you’re looking on the higher end of luxe glitter and glitz some gorgeous, soft feminine bling shades, then you must check out the Pat McGrath Labs Chroma Luxe artistry pigment everything kit. Oh, that was a mouthful. They are stunning purple, soft gold and chrome shades and they’re just such divine. I almost see them as like feminine superhero shades.

[00:04:06]: I love them. They’re gorgeous. Nyx Face and Body Glitter is another budget alternative worth checking out. They’re little jars that you can find.

And I also wanted to give a little nod to the About Face Fractal Glitter Dust, which is another product that you should check out. And again, I’m such a sucker for beautiful blue and green shades and I adore the teal blue ascent shade.

Now, I’m quite new to About Face, and I wanted to give a shout-out to Halsey, who was on a project that I was involved with last year. She was so awesome and kindly gifted so much of her product to the team and it was really fun to be introduced to her range by the lady herself.

[00:04:49]: I love the vibrant pigments and funky, functional packaging. Anyway, I just wanted to give a nod to holsey, super cool lady and especially passionate about her makeup too. And I can’t go anywhere in this episode without mentioning Danessa Myricks Infinite Chrome flakes for the perfect solution for flake-free application.

These jars of brilliance are already in gel form, so you just simply apply with a small eyeshadow brush or even a small silicon applicator and off you go. And now you can build up layers to create that extra dramatic, opaque glam finish. And my favorite shade is moonlight. And I swear, I promise you this, one day I’m going to do a full makeup look with that product. It is so pretty.

[00:05:37]: Okay, I’m getting completely carried away with products as I could do all day, every day. There’s so many. But let’s get back into managing the whole thing. Okay, where were we?

So removing the loose glitter element from the equation is obviously going to prevent spills or fallout in your kit, which is preventable, by the way. So if you work from loose glitter jars, I suggest taping around the screw top as your first line of defense.

Now, I prefer to use electrical tape for this. Not only will it keep the lid sealed, but it’s easier to remove when it’s setup time. And if you’re really organized, you can just pop those tape strips that you’ve used to seal your containers, tape them up on the wall, and then once you’ve finished your job, reuse them and reseal those jars once again.

[00:06:28]: You know, I love a good reuse of as many things as possible, right? And this is a perfect chance to do so. Next I always say Ziploc each jar individually.

Now, this is especially helpful if you’re traveling for the job. Once each jar is secured, then you can put all of your glitter powders into one sealed ziploc or larger bag, plastic case, or whatever works for you. But just make sure that that final casing is airtight. But much like storing liquids that you want to prevent from spilling by having them individually secured, if there does happen to be a spill in one container, it will be isolated within the one product and inside that one Ziploc bag. And that way, it won’t contaminate the whole lot.

[00:07:15]: And ultimately, your day and your kit. Just be sure to give yourself extra time on top of your setup time to allow you to remove all of your extra security layers well before setting up.

Okay. Primer. And I guess I would actually call this stage prepping, but I didn’t want to confuse it with the very first stage, which, of course, was preparation.

So this stage really refers to the prep of your model or performer. And I suggest you start by making sure that they don’t suffer any skin sensitivities and are totally okay with wearing glitter on their skin and on their faces. If your design involves body paint of any kind, apply your color-pigmented body paint prior to adding your glitter mix.

[00:08:00]: And if you’re doing a full body glitter look, I suggest going bigger with your product sizes than the teeny, tiny packaging that a lot of these brands we’ve looked at are available in.

Now, while I haven’t used them personally, I found a cosmetic-grade wholesaler called Lrisy. If someone knows the correct pronunciation, please let me know. It’s L-R-I-S-Y. That looks like it provides a beautiful glitter product in a wide range of shades. So check them out.

If you’re doing glitter on a large scale and another brand called Hemway that you can find also on Amazon that offers large bags of cosmetic grade glitter in every color of the rainbow luminosity. Glitter is another bulk cosmetic grade glitter company to take a look at, and I’m sure with further researching if necessary, you could find plenty of other avenues.

[00:08:54]: If you’re still stumped and you can’t find that perfect shade you’re looking for. Now this is my favorite technique for managing loose glitter on a large scale without it being your worst nightmare. I like to use a product called Gafquat.

Now, all my industry friends will already be familiar with Gaffquat, but if you’re not, listen up, because I’m about to make your life so much easier. Now, Gafquat is essentially concentrated hair gel. You can thin it with water or isopropyl alcohol. Now, for the purposes of glitter, I suggest sticking with water as its solvent, as alcohol may actually tarnish or remove the tint from your glitter, so you don’t want to do that. And the water solvent will be far gentler on your performer’s skin, as well as removing far more easily as well.

[00:09:44]: So once you have your gafquat thinned to a workable consistency, kind of aim for a liquid honey consistency so you do want it quite thick, but it should still be runny. If that makes sense, I then recommend putting it into a squeeze bottle that has a screw top dropper lid. Or if using a larger grain glitter, perhaps using a large jar will work better for your needs than it getting all caught up and blocking that dropper lid.

Then add your glitter to the thinned gafquat. Now this is a general rule of thumb, which is good to remember, but always add powder to liquid. This is generally the case for such properties because if you add the liquid to the glitter or powder, you risk that glitter blowing up and aerating, potentially going in your eyes and all over the place. So always try to work in a controlled, contained, calm manner. That’s like the three c’s, right? Controlled, contained and calm.

[00:10:49]: Now, there are really good things to keep in the back of your mind too, but in this case, gently, slowly add your powder to your liquid. Okay? Now once you’re happy with your consistency, your opacity, and the shade of your very own glitter gel, you can think about application using your chosen size of paintbrush.

Apply your custom glitter gel as you would on a smaller scale. You could also look into the brushes that are attached to bottles for an even quicker coverage as the material disperses with gravity when you use them. Now, if you try this, be sure to test that the thickness of your glitter mix is fine enough to travel through the dispenser.

Once you have applied your glitter, simply dry with a hairdryer and repeat as necessary. Now, once your glitter work is completed, I always suggest a sealer or fixative spray because this will act as your last line of defense and help to keep as much glitter on as is humanly possible. Now, some of my favorite sealers, I think for this purpose would have to be the cryolin fix your spray.

Kerrin [00:11:57]:
I love the European Body Arts Pro Seal, which is a little finer, and I’ll link to a few more if you like as well, but you want to go heavy duty with your sealers for this. If you really wanted to go crazy, you could also mix up an even thinner, more watered-down version of gafquat and airbrush it through your airbrush as a final layer that’s going to seal all the glitter in. That would work a treat. I haven’t tried it, but I know it would work.

Part of the reason why I like to use gafquat for this process is because if you think about it, the glitter is suspended inside the gafquat, so once it’s on the skin and dried, the glitter won’t be sitting on the surface of the skin.
And again, do be sure to test your mixture out before the day of your project. Test for its longevity. Test for the flexibility of the gaffquat because it can get too crackly if it’s too thick, and it won’t last if it’s too thin.

[00:12:55]: So it may take some working to get just right.

And finally, removal. The fun part, and the good news is that your gafquat glitter gel mix, if water soluble, a shower is the most efficient means of removal, and hence a good reason to look for biodegradable glitter options as well.

Now, if you do have to remove the glitter yourself, I suggest many hot towels at hand and perhaps even a large vessel to hold warm water that you can dip into on the spot once you’ve started removal, or even at a pinch, some gentle cotton gloves or soft makeup removal mitts and a gentle foaming cleanser for ease of use on your own or on your performer’s hands, too, which will help speed up the removal process as well.
Just be sure to be well supplied with towels, a robe for your performer, and protective flooring. Now, this can also be discussed in your prep period with your production manager or the person that you’re in direct contact with on your production. Now, once you’ve said goodnight to your performer, the real cleanup begins, right? And in a way, this is as important as looking after your model. So be sure to complete your process.

[00:14:09]: Don’t just go home as soon as you’re packed up, because on every job, regardless of what it is, your aim should be to leave your space cleaner than it was when you got there.

We fight so many stereotypes, judgments, and generalizations about our profession already. So by upholding good practices and taking care in our working environment, we can help to prove all of those judgments wrong.

And in the case of our friend glitter, this may mean spending some extra time getting it off the tables, the floor, or any furniture that may have been tarnished. And honestly, the best way that I’ve found to combat this over the years is by using packing tape. Yep. Get a big old roll of that super wide packing tape, and you want to wrap it around your forefingers with the sticky side out.
I try to go as high as I can on my hand to get the maximum surface area, and then simply press your hand onto a surface and lift it off, and the glitter will stick to the tape.

[00:15:12]: And you can do this repeatedly with a rolling action until the tape is covered. Now, once that happens, you can turn it around on your hand and make sure to get all sides of the tape that’s on your hand covered.

And I promise you this won’t take as long as it sounds. And you can use it on your clothes, on your hands, and with a smaller tape. I’ve even used it on actors faces when they’re not in glitter looks. And yet somehow they’ve come in with one random sparkle on their forehead. It’s usually after a party the night before. Have you had that happen? It happens a lot, and it’s kind of a nightmare, isn’t it? Because it’s so obvious on camera.

[00:15:53]: And usually I find that makeup brushes don’t have the tenacity to flick them off. So tape will be your answer.

Okay, this wraps up this action packed episode of five minute face talk. Did you learn something new about Glitter? I hope so.

And if you have any challenges with the processes I mentioned, please DM me @themakeuprefinery. You know I love hearing from you. Okay, I’ll see you next time. Bye.

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