Shimmer is In, But How to Wear it? - Tips For Adding Shimmer (2023)

Shimmer started off hot with the holidays & shows no signs of diminishing this spring. And it’s no wonder it’s such a hit, metallic shades tend to light up the face. We love the creamy textures which leave a soft, subtle sheen. But before you start dabbing away, check out these tricks & tips so you don’t overdo it. Here’s how to add glow the right way:

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Rule #1: Yes, you can shimmer day & night.

The sparkles in today’s shimmery products are so finely ground that they aren’t overbearing & can be worn at work. You can also show off shimmer on more than one feature. A great look: Glowing lips & eyes.

Rule #2: Watch what you’re wearing.

For nighttime, be careful not to let your clothes clash with your makeup.
If your outfit sparkles or you have sparkly jewelry, keep your shimmer to one spot on your face (like cheeks or just your lips). If you’re dressed in a sleek black outfit, you can get away with shimmer on more parts of your face & body. The key is not to compete.

Rule #3: Apply it correctly.

The best spots for shimmer are in the inner corners of eyes, blended across the lids. It’s also great for just under the browbone & on the cheeks. Where to avoid shimmer: Under eyes & in your eyelid crease, where shadow tends to exaggerate lines & wrinkles.

Rule #4: Pick the right color & product.

Fair-haired women can experiment with all types of shimmers, but dark-skinned women should beware of silvers, according to NYC makeup artist Carlos Geraci in the April 2006 issue of ‘O’ magazine. ‘They can look like foil,’ he said.

Our favorite shimmer products:

  • Bobbi Brown’s shimmer products
  • Urban Decay Sparkly Sweet
  • Maybelline shimmers
  • Clinique shimmers

Shimmer Makeup and Skin Tone – Adding Shimmer to Your Evening Look

Adding shimmer to makeup is like adding jewelry to a pretty cocktail dress. It can make your makeup look more festive for parties, special occasions, and elegant evening events.

Less is more with shimmer and sparkles, so first decide which areas you want to accentuate—eyes, cheeks, or lips. You don’t want to use it all over the face. Don’t add shimmer to any place you wouldn’t want to draw attention to. The idea is to place the spotlight on a specific area that you intend to be the focal point.

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What Type of Shimmer Should You Use?

  • Use a shimmer lotion if you want just a touch of shimmer.
  • A shimmer cream will give you more of a medium coverage.
  • Use shimmer powder if you want more coverage and more noticeable sparkle.

If you have oily skin, make sure that you use a shimmer product with a crease-free formula so that it will not be cake or crease.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Candlelight adds a shimmering glow to eye shadow as well as making eye color last all night.

Glitter Vs Shimmer

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Mixing a little glitter or shimmer to a lotion can look great in moderation, but you don’t want too much shimmer or glitter on the face. Glitter gels and powders can sometimes be a bit much. It’s better for younger skin and should be used sparingly. You usually see more glitter at Halloween parties—so you get the idea.

If you do use glitter, use it in one place, like the corner of the eyes or a little on the cheeks. If it is used for the eyes, make sure that it’s not too close to the eyes and that it is made for use on the eye area and won’t cause an allergic reaction. Don’t use glitter near the eyes if you will be wearing contact lenses.

Another solution is to wear glittery nail polish or touch up your favorite shade by applying glitter on top. Read How to Match Nail Color to Skin Tone to learn how to pick a nail color that will look great on you.

Does Skin Tone Matter?

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These days you can find shimmer products that have much better formulations than in the past. Instead of color is the key, it’s really the intensity of pigment. Fair and light skin tones usually look better in softer, lighter shimmers. Intense, vibrant colors are better for deep skin tones because they need more pigment to actually show up on the skin, like golds, bronze, and purples.

Because of variations in our skin tones, the choice of shimmer shades for the face is individual and depends on the makeup brand that is used. It comes down to experimentation.

In general, some colors have been known to look better on certain skin tones:

  • Fair/Light – soft pink, soft lilac, sky blue, icy blue, and silvers.
  • Light – Tan – light golden/light yellowish greens for the eyes.
  • Olive/Medium – rose, brownish-pink, pale or pinkish-gold, light shimmery bronze, sapphire blue, plums.
  • Medium – Dark – deep lilac, purple (for the eyes) copper, and bronze.

Tips For Adding Shimmer

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An easy way to add subtle shimmer is to mix a luminizing highlighting fluid with your foundation for an all over glow. Some luminizers are designed to be used under foundation to give skin radiance.

A shimmer lotion can also be used under foundation or mixed with foundation. Use in a gold shade if you have a warm undertones and icy or silver shade if you have a cool undertone (and light skin).

You can also dust a powder highlighter to add contour to the bridge of the nose, under the brow bone and over the cheekbones.

Mix shimmer powder with your favorite lipstick.

Add shimmer to collarbone, shoulders and décolletage.

Use a bronzer for a natural glow or to contour the cheeks for more depth. For light to medium tones try light golden shades like a peachy gold or golden pinks. Bronze and copper complement dark tones.

Shimmer Shades & Eye Color

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Eye Color

Eye color is something to consider when using shimmer eye shadows. Brown eyes are the easiest to match because they are complimented by most shades, especially blues, plums, greens, grays, and vibrant colors. Green/hazel eyes look great in pinkish browns, plums, lilacs and other reddish tones. Blue eyes look best in orange tones like browns, camel, apricot, and golds.

Using a highlighting shade (the lightest shade) just under the brow bone and in the inner corners of the eyes opens up the eye area, making the eyes look brighter.

Brush a shimmery shadow along the upper and lower lid lines with a flat eyeliner brush and use darker tones for definition.

Skin Tone & Eye Shimmer

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So many factors can come into play when it comes to shimmery eye shadows, from skin tone, hair color and highlights to clothing and personal taste. In general lighter shimmers look better on lighter skin tones and darker shades on darker skin tones. Also take into consideration your skin’s undertones. Silver looks better on lighter skin with cool undertones and deep gold looks great on dark skin with warm undertones. If you have a warm skin tone you’ll look better in warmer shades (warm reddish pinks, warmer golds) and cool undertones look better in cooler shades (cooler pinks, blues, greens).

Light to medium – soft lavenders, pinks, greens, blues, champagnes, light golden peach.

Tan – shimmery pale shades, pale gold, lilac and light green.

Olive – can go a little deeper in color, deeper blues, lavender, coppery peach, copper.

Dark skin – can use more vivid, deeper color–gold, bronze, purple, greens, blues.

Finishing Touches: Shimmery Lips

Avoid using shimmer on both the eyes and the lips. If you are not playing up the eyes, you can concentrate on the lips instead. Use a shimmery gloss or add shimmer to a gloss or lipstick.

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