As tough as it can be to apply glitter makeup, the removal process can be even harder. And since this is the season for all things that sparkle and shine, you may find yourself dealing with such struggles even more in December.
“Glitters look amazing, but removing them sometimes can be a task,” bridal makeup artist Simran Kaur told HuffPost.
Just like holiday lights, glitter comes in many varieties, including liquid, pressed and loose. Kaur said pressed and loose glitter will typically last longer after application and could therefore require a more aggressive approach.
Your skin will thank you for that extra effort. “It’s critical to remove makeup because your skin needs to breathe and have an opportunity for skin cell turnover,” New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Angela Lamb told HuffPost. “To apply moisturizer, serum, things like that, it really needs to be on fresh skin.”
Along with glitter possibly getting into your eye and causing irritation, Lamb warned that it contains metals and dyes that can also be catalysts for skin reactions. “It can be cobalt, it can be some type of nickel; there are trace amounts, but there are enough that they can be really irritating,” she said. “You don’t really want those hanging out on your skin surface.”
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Makeup artist Hayley Perez told HuffPost she usually employs One/Size by Patrick Starrr Go Off Makeup Dissolving Mist to remove glitter eye makeup. “I’ll spray that on a cotton pad, and I’ll let it sit on my eye,” she said. “After that, I’ll go in with Garnier micellar water and get whatever [the mist] didn’t get off.”
Kaur uses micellar water on a cotton pad, holding it on the eye for 10-20 seconds and repeating the process again with the clean slide of the pad. Lauren Renck Manning, a member of New York’s Radio City Rockettes, told HuffPost that she, too, swears by micellar water to remove a full face of festive makeup — including a bold red lip and false lashes — which she applies twice a day during the dance company’s Christmas Spectacular season.
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For hard-to-remove sparkles, though, makeup artist Julie Pearson relies on something you’ll likely have on hand for wrapping presents: transparent tape. “If they’re being really stubborn, I’ll get some tape and try to get them off that way,” she said. “I will use tape to get as much off as I can because I always get nervous about glitter getting in my eye. That just doesn’t sound like a good time.”
She’ll follow up the tape with makeup remover.
Perez said “any kind of clear tape” will do the job. “It works really well with the chunky glitter because those big pieces just stick to the tape,” she said. “Press it on — make sure you press it on really good — then slowly peel it off, and the glitter comes right off.”
If you worry the tape might have a ripping-off-a-Band-Aid effect, beauty influencer Tess Chung suggests eliminating some of its stickiness by pressing the piece on the back of your hand first. After she does this, she’ll go to the eye with the tape “as many times as I need to get 90% of the glitter out.”
“Then I will go in with a bomb cleansing balm to wash it off,” Chung said, adding that she recommends an oil-based remover. “The oil-based cleanser, it’s doing the work for you.”
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Lamb understands why tape might be the most effective way to remove some glitter makeup. “Glitter gets everywhere, and sometimes … the only way to remove it is you have to touch something else to it. It doesn’t tend to just cleanse away,” she said.
While Lamb thinks someone with “hearty” skin may be able to tolerate applying tape on their eyelid, she warned that “tape really does remove the top layer of your stratum corneum” (the outermost layer of the epidermis).
Lamb prefers using a natural oil- or cream-based remover. In her opinion, Makeup wipes and micellar water — or as she put it, “anything that falls in the formaldehyde or formaldehyde releaser category” — contain too many preservatives.
“They can be really irritating to the average person’s skin,” Lamb said. “Cold cream is better. Even if you have to cleanse twice, that’s better than using a cleanser with preservatives.”
Washing Your Face To Finish Up
All of the experts told HuffPost that you should wash your face after using glitter makeup to ensure every last sparkle comes off.
“I love to double-cleanse,” Pearson said. “It helps to really finish getting it off. And then using the cleanser leaves your face nice and clean.”
Pearson uses either Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm or First Aid Beauty’s 2-in-1 Cleansing Oil and Makeup Remover before washing with a Cetaphil cleanser.
Perez likes using Junoco’s Clean 10 Cleansing Balm. Then, to be 100 percent certain she has removed all of the sparkles, “I’ll take a warm rag and make sure all the glitter’s off my face,” she said.
Renck Manning washes with a Noxzema cleanser and applies Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream or Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Face Oil. “It helps keep me from drying out too much when I’m taking my makeup on and off so much,” she said.
Remember also to give your face a small break from all the glitter and glam. “On my day off during the Christmas season, I wear as little makeup as humanly possible,” Renck Manning said. “It’s nice to give my face a chance to breathe and just rejuvenate.”