Sparkly & Shinny Eyeshadow Toppers Pt. 1
‘Tis here! I’ve been working on this for quite a long time, like since mid-March, and it’s finally time to show the fruits of my labor. Part of what took me so long is that I kept adding more to the list to try, what started out at about five somehow escalated to sixteen, so I’m splitting them up because sixteen is a lot for one post and if I ever want to do more it leaves it more open ended. The other reason it’s taken me so long is because I’m a perfectionist and have struggled with how to feature some of these products while creating a look that I’m proud of so I have re-done or re-shot several of these (and some more than once) to try and put out the best possible work that I can. Some of these products I’ve had for while and have used quite a few times while others I’ve only used once to photograph and test for this post, which I think could of been better applied (inner perfectionist speaking), but overall I think I’ve come up with eight looks that show off the sparkle and shine of these beautiful products so let’s get to it!
When this product first launched there were only two shades, Topaz Flash (smoky bronze) and Blitz Glitz (blackened violet), and it said they were limited edition so I jumped right on it and ordered one immediately because I didn’t want to miss out on what looked like a very beautiful product…then five more permanent shades launched shortly thereafter. I’m glad I bought one of the original two shades though because it got me a little out of my comfort zone since I hardly ever go for bronze tones (probably would of chosen the shade Flashlight, icy opal, out of the permanent line which would of been very safe and boring). The shade Topaz Flash is a super cool and nuanced shade, at first glance it just looks like a deep bronze but up close it also has flecks of purple and gold in it. The formula is a bit dry and crumbly so I used a glitter adhesive thinking it would be better for a looser formula, doesn’t seem like there’s much binder holding the glitter particles together, and to keep there form being too much fallout. That ended up making it go a bit gummy because of the eyeshadow primer underneath, I think the two creamier products didn’t mix/layer well, so next time I’d just put it over a cream eyeshadow stick or not use a primer if I wanted to use the glitter adhesive. I did have fallout while applying but it seemed to stay on the eye pretty well without dropping down a bunch more sparkles throughout the day. This is a pretty opaque glitter and I don’t think you’d need to layer a shadow underneath to keep from seeing the skin on the eyelid through it. Quite chuffed with this one and even though the texture is a little bit finicky I think the color and payoff is stunning and would recommend this product. If this shade isn’t your speed Sephora has four others listed online but one of them is out of stock (Marc Jacobs’ website only has Blitz Glitz listed online for purchase).
From what I can recall Tarte was one of the first brands to start the potted metallic shadow trend so I had to include them as well. I can’t remember if I bought this one when I worked at Ulta or if I just had a 20% off coupon but my best friend was with me and talked me into this shade over Frose, metallic rose gold, which is the other one I was looking at. Red is, I think, one of the most scary and intimidating colors to wear on the eyes because if it’s not done right you can end up looking a bit ill. I used some matte red shadows from Melt to blend out the edges and used a copper loose glitter from Estée Lauder on the inner lid to add a touch of dimension, didn’t need to layer eyeshadow underneath because this product has a strong base color. This is one of the products I ended up re-shooting because my first attempt didn’t photograph very true-to-color and I tried to do a darker lip for a monochromatic look and quite frankly it looked terrible. The texture of this product is a little dry and crumbly, I remember seeing influencers opening PR packages when this product launched and a lot of them had broken up in shipment but I didn’t use any sort of sticky or tacky base and had no problem with it sticking to the eyelid. I like the color and the way this look turned out but it’s definitely not the most wearable or my most worn shade of today’s bunch. The formula has it’s quirks but if Tarte makes a shade you’re lusting over I don’t think you’d be disappointed with your purchase.
This is a product that caused a lot of noise on YouTube when it launched. I tend to think of Hourglass as a pretty classy brand so the five shades they launched are more sophisticated and muted, re: wearable. I chose the shade Aura which is a pale pink glitter but I also like the shade Smoke which is taupe. This has a smoother texture than the Marc Jacobs See-quins because it’s a very fine glitter thus I don’t think it requires a glitter adhesive (though I did use a cream shadow stick for a little bit of a sticky base). I put mine over a color that matches pretty well but the base is fairly transparent so you could layer this over a darker color and the glitter would pop even more. I really like the texture of this one and find it to be extremely wearable and an appropriate daytime glitter (though you could definitely jazz it up for a fun evening look). I do hope they come out with some more shades, I’d love a sage/olive green in this formula, but knowing Hourglass, if they did, it wouldn’t be anything too colorful or bold. Very much enjoy this product and would recommend for those that want a more easy-to-wear glitter product.
My regulars will know that I am a huge Natasha Denona fan so of course I had to try out her sparkly topper offering. The texture is on the stiffer side, the least creamy of the bunch and the most difficult to pick up the product on your finger (forget using a brush with this one, you won’t be able to pick up hardly any product even with the densest of brushes). The shade I picked up looks like a periwinkle in the pot but has little to no base pigment so without anything underneath it gives you a cool-toned glossy effect on the lid but it really transforms and sparkles when you layer this particular shade over a deeper eyeshadow to give the shimmers something to pop against, I used Melt’s Fixated for this look. The day I photographed this look was my first time using a MAC Paint Pot and I applied way too much and it never really dried down which I think is why it creased, I don’t think the topper had much to do with the creasing since the formula is so stiff. The shade I chose is the least shifty of the three duo chrome shades and if duo chrome is not your jam there’s also four shades in the Chroma Crystal Top Coat which are all on the more wearable and neutral side while still being very shimmery and beautiful. Not my most favorite of the bunch because of the texture but I like the way it pops over darker colors and don’t regret purchasing it (it’s a like but not love situation, I prefer a more creamy formula).
I couldn’t do a post on glittery and metallic eyeshadow toppers without including Stila which is arguably the most popular of the bunch. I bought this a while back because everyone and their mother likes to use these on YouTube so I had to see if it was worth the hype. I purchased a more metallic and less glittery shade because I have a weakness for mermaid-y duo chrome/iridescent shades. The formula is very wet and takes a few secs to dry down but once it does it’s set and doesn’t transfer. If you touch it or try to mess with it once it’s dry though it will flake and fall down all of your face so you can’t mess around with it once it’s dried down, even without touching it I still get a bit of fallout throughout the day with this particular shade. With the darker shades I think it looks better to put a color underneath that way you don’t see skin peeking through because even though there is a base color it’s still translucent, wish I’d done this because I think it would of popped even more. I don’t mind the applicator, a lot of people like it because it makes it really easy to cut the crease, but you wouldn’t be able to get every last bit of product out like you can with the ones that come in a little pot. Stila has several liquid shadows like this; there’s the original Glitter & Glow which, for the most part, are on the more glittery side (leave it to me to choose one of the few more metallic shades from this range) and then next they came out with the Shimmer & Glow which is a high shine sheen sans glitter and most recently they’ve come out with the Shade Mystère which has two shades marbled together in the tube that create a duo chrome shifting shade on the lid. The Shade Mystère has really mixed reviews online from what I’ve seen but I would definitely be willing to try them out because I think they look pretty cool. I like my Stila Glitter & Glow but it’s not my most favorite formula because I prefer something that isn’t so wet, I think the liquid texture is more difficult to work with, but these Stila shadows are kinda worth it since they have so many shade options amongst the three formulas and it’s the one I’d recommend for someone wanting options.
Now for a more indie brand which is by far my most used of this lot. I’ve had this one from Elcie for a while now and I use it all the time as an inner corner highlight, which was what I had bought it for, so having to make it the star of the show for an eyeshadow look was a different way of using this product for me. The texture of the Elcie Jewels are creamy but not wet and glide on very smooth and easily. I used a cream colored eyeshadow pencil underneath as a base to knock out some of the pigmentation on my eyelid and I think layering several cream products (again, big mistake) made it crease a bit but it was not noticeable unless looking up close since this shade isn’t too far off from my skin tone. When I purchased mine Elcie only had The Gold Series but have come out with The Mauve Series making this product available in a total of six very wearable shades (I’m a fan of Morganite from The Mauve Series). I think this one was only the second potted metallic eyeshadow I’d purchased and despite using it frequently I’ve barley made a dent in it so it’ll last me ages. I really like this product, have nothing bad to say about it and would recommend if you’re drawn to any of the shades the’ve created. Pro tip: they do sales around holidays and with Memorial Day coming up I’d wait to see if they do a discount if you’re interested in purchasing it (fairly certain it’ll be 20% off site wide).
I’ve seen a few influencers here and there talk about this brand but I haven’t heard anything about this particular product online or on social media yet so I was excited to try it out and see what it’s like. I had a really hard time choosing a shade because they’re all really pretty and, like the Hourglass Scattered Light, are on the very wearable side. The swatches I saw online made Lunar look like a silvery/taupe with maybe just the slightest kiss of green so I went for it since I don’t have anything quite like this shade, all five shades have a different base color but have a silver reflect from what I could tell. The texture is very creamy and whipped which makes it very easy to apply. Like the Stila it will flake if you try to mess with it once it sets so you have to leave it be once it’s dried down but I didn’t notice any fallout throughout the day (it’s also not dark though so it’s more difficult to see the fallout). There’s only two reviews on Ulta’s website and one of them is a five star and the other is a one star which says it flakes and has a bunch of fallout which I don’t find to be true unless, like I said, you touch or mess with it. I’ve only used it once but so far I like it and could see myself using it more often since it’s easy to apply and a very ‘everyday wearable’ kind of color for me.
Out of these first eight creating a look with this product has cause me the most strife and I think, in large part, it has to do with the color I chose. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good aqua blue, one of my favorite colors in fact, but figuring out how to make a metallic aqua the star of the show was challenging because a lot of inspo photos I was looking at were created around or with matte aqua shadows. It took me 4-5 failed attempts at a completely different look before finally settling on my good ol’ fail safe of a winged out graphic shape. The texture of this product is almost exactly like the Stila; very wet and takes a few seconds to dry down. I did have fallout with this one throughout the day even though I wasn’t touching my eyes at all, I think it happens from blinking, in both instances, since it’s all over my mobile lid and up through the crease. There’s some base pigment to this one but I used a matte aqua shadow underneath which I think helps it look more even and makes the sparkles pop even more. Pixi is one of the few drugstore brands I use and it’s carried at Target so it’s one of the more easily accessible products featured in the first eight. Despite the fallout I still very much like this product and would recommend it, most of their other shades are incredibly wearable so don’t let my bold/unwearable shade choice freak you out (that goes for all the other products as well).
If I were going to quickly compare them all here are the takeaways; Marc Jacobs See-Quins have a grittier texture with bigger chunks of glitter so they’re quite glittery and the shade I purchased has a strong base color, Tarte’s Chrome Paint is dry but not gritty since there’s no glitter so it still applies rather easily to the eye without much fuss and also has a very strong base pigment, Hourglass Scattered Light is a very fine glitter and feels very emollient so it applies quite smoothly and has a hint of base color, Natasha Denona’s Top Coats have a very stiff formula and are not the most user friendly because of it but if you’re looking for something without a strong base pigment for layering purposes then this would be your best option out of these eight, my shade in the Stila Glitter & Glow has a dark base color but it’s not opaque so it still needs to be layered over something to get the full effect and the consistency is very wet and can flake easily once it dries but the applicator makes it very user friendly, Elcie is a straight metallic and has no actual glitter so the formula is very smooth and applies effortlessly and has a pretty opaque base color, the Chrome Flash Eye Pot from Iconic London is a very mousey texture and applies easily with a finger or brush but can flake if you disturb it once it’s set and has an opaque foiled metallic color payoff, finally the Pixi Liquid Fairy Lights are quite liquid-y as the name suggest and has a very similar formula to Stila and causes a similar amount of fallout after it’s set - Lagoon contains some base color but is not opaque enough and looks better with a coordinating shadow underneath.
Few, I think that’s all! I didn’t do a full product description for each look since the whole point of this was to be about a specific type of product but if you want to know more about what else I used in a certain look feel free to ask, I kept a list of every product for each look just in case. I also tried really hard to color balance these as best as I could but I lost my white balance card somewhere in the very tiny room that I shoot in and haven’t been able to find it so that’s why the skin tone changes ever so slightly from look to look but for the most part each topper photographed true-to-color (unless layered over something that shifts the color). If you have a favorite look let me know, I know that’s not the main focus of this post but it’s still fun for me to hear your opinions/feedback. My personal favorite is probably the Pixi look because I’m so drawn to that color but I would most likely wear the Elcie look again IRL. Of this eight, based on formula, my top three recommendations would be Elcie, Hourglass and Tarte but if you’re looking for lots of color options I’d say Stila is your best bet. If you have tried any of these products I would love to hear your thoughts! One of my absolute favorite YouTubers, Karima McKimmie, did a video on the same subject here recently and we have a fair few common products so you can get someone else’s recommendation on all the shinny things (some of the ones she mentions I already have and will be featured in part two).
Not that anybody will care about this, which is why I’ve stuck it here at the very end, but just for shits and gigs I wanted to see how much each product cost per g or mL, typically 1g = about 1mL (depending on what the substance is, for the sake of this post we’ll go with it), and rank them based one best bang for your buck:
Pixi $15 for 5g or $3/g (no surprise seeing as how it’s the cheapest of the bunch)
Natasha Denona $28 for 6g or $4.67/g (most will probably be surprised by this but I’m not, her stuff’s expensive but you usually get a lot of product)
Iconic London $24 for 4.5mL or $5.33/mL (tied with Stila, the only tie out of the 16 I’ve purchased so far)
Stila $24 for 4.5mL or $5.33/mL (by just looking at the packaging you’d think there’d be more in this one than in Iconic London’s but they’re the same)
Elcie $22 for 4g or $5.50/g (this packaging looks almost identical to Tarte’s and they’re the same price so I was surprised at the difference in product here)
Tarte $22 for 3g or $7.33/g (bit shocked at how expensive this one ended up being/how little product this one actually contains because the packaging is deceptively large)
Marc Jacobs $28 for 3.5g or $8/g (not really surprised considering the brand)
Hourglass $29 for 3.5g or $8.29/g (definitely not surprised, Hourglass is a bougie brand and this one was the most expensive thus far)
As a whole this group runs more expensive, I’ll continue and add to the list for part two, so if today’s pickings were too rich for your blood just wait because I’ve got one that comes up to less than $2/g in that group. If you have any request for a potential Sparkly & Shinny Eyeshadow Toppers Pt. 3 please leave them in the comments!
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