Glisten Up: Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Shimmer

We’re the first to admit that shimmer can be tricky. If overdone, it can make you look a little Toddlers and Tiaras—or make you shine in all the wrong places. Applied properly, though, it makes your entire look sparkle and glow. We asked makeup artist Reiva Cruze for tips on mastering the trend, her favorite formulas and her troubleshooting hints.

Choosing a Formula

Shimmer products generally fall into three main categories: powders, creams, and liquids. Creams and liquids tend to have more staying power, making them a smart choice for the perspiration-prone. Powder is user-friendly and can easily be dusted all over the body for a soft sheen. Cruze recommends combining them, starting with a cream or liquid shimmer and layering a powder in a slightly warmer tone over it. “This will allow the product to stay on even longer and look beautiful in all kinds of lighting,” she says.

Tricks of the Trade

“I always say that we each have 10 free makeup brushes—our fingers,” says Cruze. While Powder Blush Brush #710 by MUD Cosmetics is her tool of choice for powders, she applies most cream shimmer products with her ring finger (it’s the weakest and therefore most gentle, so best for blending). Need extra hydration during the dry winter months? Try an oil, such as NUXE Multi-Usage Dry Oil Shimmer, or an antioxidant-infused formula, such as stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer.

Where to Apply

Unlike most makeup products, shimmer can be incorporated from head to toe. “I like to stipple cream products along the cheekbones, brow bone, and the cupid’s bow of the lips,” says Cruze. For a touch of sparkle on the eyes, she loves Jouer Liquid Shimmer Eyeliner. And on the rest of the body, she uses a powder like MAC Mineralize Skinfinish on the shoulders, collarbone, knees, or—when wearing sandals—the tops of the feet.

Contouring and Highlighting

Like foundation, shimmer can also add depth to your features. For example, if you want cheek definition, Cruze has a simple trick: Apply a contour shadow or bronzer, such as Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, to the area just under the cheekbone. Then, apply a cream or powder shimmer to the top of the cheekbone to create dimension. Go for a golden or bronze contour product if your skin has olive undertones, a reddish hue if your skin has pink undertones, and either if your skin is neutral.

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