Welcome to the latest installment of my Do I Need This? series. In these posts, I offer my experience and opinions about whether or not I think a product or technique is worth it. Obviously, you don't really need ANY beauty products, so the answer to the question is always going to be no, to some extent. But is it going to change your life (or face)? Is it going to make things easier? Are you going to notice any difference at all? That's what I'm getting at. You may disagree with my verdict, because we all have different bodies/faces/brains/desires, but I'll try to offer a starting point, at least.
It seems like all my posts in this series are about primer lately. Well, there are a lot of different primers out there these days after all. One of the few types I hadn't tried until recently is glitter primer. Um, because I don't use cosmetic glitter, so why would I? But when I had trouble with a lovely, but crumbly, eyeshadow, resident witch recommended a glitter adhesive. From what I can tell, glitter primer originated with indie makeup companies who designed it to work with their loose pigments and glitters, but it's become more widely available in recent years (the Too Faced primer has been around since at least 2011). I am happy to be educated on the real origins of this type of product, however, if you know more than I do, which wouldn't be hard! I picked the only affordable option I'd seen, NYX Glitter Primer ($6), but I also had two samples of Too Faced Glitter Glue ($20) to try out. I'll compare the two products and try to provide some information so you can decide if glitter primer is something that would be useful to you.
Do you need glitter primer?
Short answer: Maybe, if you already own messy eyeshadows and you really want to make them work. Or glitter!
I still don't own any glitter, so I'm not using these products with straight glitter. Instead, I chose three difficult eyeshadows: Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy, which is a shimmery shadow with a bunch of pieces of chunky silver glitter that normally end up all over my cheeks; Laura Mercier Baked Eyeshadow in Black Karat, the crumbly but gorgeous eyeshadow I mentioned above; and a blue e.l.f. loose pigment that doesn't seem to exist anymore. None of these stick to my eyelids particularly well, even over ordinary eyeshadow primer.
I'm going to let the photos do most of the talking for the rest of this post, but I'll describe the two products a bit first. They're quite similar in look, feel, and performance. They're stickier than an ordinary eyeshadow primer and take longer to set. Because they are tacky, I've found that it's easier to tap your eyeshadow on top of them than to brush or swipe it if you want to get a nice, smooth layer. They also have a more noticeable feel on your eyelids than most products--not uncomfortable, but you can tell that something is there if you think about it.
Personally, I experienced one other difference between these two glitter primers: the Too Faced primer made my eyes and eyelids itch like crazy. There's something in there that I couldn't tolerate. In fact, the one time I used it, I ended up removing my eye makeup within an hour of applying it to get rid of the stuff. That means I can't say much about its longevity, etc. Obviously not everyone has this reaction or Too Faced wouldn't have kept this product on the market for the past six years. I have looked at a bunch of reviews and haven't read anyone else mentioning this problem. But I'm mentioning it, because naturally it affects my opinion of the Glitter Glue.
Let's start with Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy. I swatched each shadow first on bare skin, then over the excellent Black Radiance primer (reviewed here), then over NYX Glitter Primer, and finally over Too Faced Glitter Glue. Check it out:
|Left to right: no primer, Black Radiance eyeshadow primer, NYX Glitter Primer, and Too Faced Glitter Glue.|
Next, Laura Mercier Black Karat. With this shadow, we're dealing with a blackened brown base filled with very fine gold glitter.
I also have comparisons of this eyeshadow over regular primer and glitter primer on my eyelids.
Regular eyeshadow primer:
Too Faced Glitter Glue:
Note that there is a sort of crease/bare streak on the inner half of my eyelid in the bottom right photo. It's not really that the eyeshadow has creased (I took the photo only a few minutes after I applied it). Instead, because the glitter primer is a bit tacky, it can stick to itself and lift off patches when you open your eyes. It's barely noticeable in person, though.
Finally, a loose pigment from e.l.f.:
Something that is important to point out is that, while the glitter primers make eyeshadows more intense than regular primer, the regular primer is a bit more tenacious. It was easier to remove the glitter primer swatches with just water, micellar water, or dual phase makeup remover, but the Black Radiance primer required something containing oil to dissolve it. The glitter primers are, however, more resistant to oil. Here's what my swatches looked like after I spread oil over them and rubbed it around for a while.
So if you're planning to cry or to go out in the rain, you might prefer to opt for a regular primer so that your makeup doesn't run off. On the other hand, the NYX glitter primer, at least, stood up extremely well to my oily eyelids (as I said, I couldn't test the Too Faced primer as thoroughly).
Besides being more waterproof, the Black Radiance primer has other advantages. One of the functions of a good eyeshadow primer is that it not only intensifies your shadow and makes it last longer, it will also create a smooth surface for blending. The glitter primers don't do that. They are meant to be sticky, so your technique has to be different.
In the end, even if, like me, you don't wear straight up glitter, you might like a glitter primer. It's worth considering if you already have some eyeshadows that have a lot of potential, but end up performing like the ones I've swatched here. Normally I don't like products that require other products to work, so ideally just don't buy shitty eyeshadows. But if you already have something that needs help, glitter primer might be the ticket, even if it's not something you use every day.
Of the two options I tested, I'd recommend the NYX Glitter Primer, and not because the Too Faced caused a reaction for me. Sure, the Too Faced Glitter Glue is ever so slightly more impressive, but I don't think the difference in performance warrants the $14 difference in price. Certainly if you are trying glitter primer for the first time and you don't know how often you'll use it, the NYX primer is an excellent choice.
Are you more exciting than me and actually wear glitter on your face? If not, do you already use a glitter primer anyway? Which one?
ETA: resident witch asked me about creasing in the comments. Here is a photo showing NYX Glitter Primer and some very shimmery eyeshadow (of course I forget which ones now) after about 8 hours of wear. I wouldn't say that I get creasing like I would with a normal eyeshadow and no primer at all, in which the shadow all migrates into the wrinkles in my lids and stays there. But there is some definite patchiness and fading at the end of the day. Personally, I thought it looked fine when not in a macro photo, but if you want to prevent any of this, you might think about layering the glitter primer over a regular eyeshadow primer, as resident witch suggests.