Holiday Makeup Throwdown: Sparkle vs. Shine

Oh boy—there’s a beauty battle a-brewing. As we ramp up our makeup game for the holiday party season, we’re faced with a nagging question—to sparkle or to shine? Look-at-me glitter or sophisticated glimmer? Since we hate to make you choose sides, we’ve got the deets on both. You’ll just have to decide on the winner for yourself.

Round 1: Lips

Sparkle: We kick off this showdown with the boldest pick on our list: The Violent Lips Glitter Lip Tattoo. Whether you’re going big for New Year’s or hoping to leave your stamp at your BFF’s cocktail party, this statement-making product a surefire way to stand out. Not so much of a spotlight grabber? Try Jouer’s subtly shimmery gloss in Glisten.

Shine: Shiny lips require two things: moisture and a light-reflecting finish. Packed with castor oil, Manna Kadar’s new lipstick hydrates and provides long-lasting color, perfect for a night of party-hopping. Pair with a finishing swipe of Secret Agent Beauty Lip Gloss for an extra dose of shine.

Round 2: Nails

Sparkle: For some of us, the holidays mean one thing: glitter. Luckily, there’s always a new batch of light-catching concoctions just in time for the season. Deborah Lippmann’s Glitter and Be Gay is an all-out, multicolored explosion, while the shades in her Starlight Mini Polish Set are diverse enough to add a glitzy finish to your preferred base polish. (Revisit our tutorial when you’re ready to say goodbye to this hard-to-remove polish.)

Shine: For the antiglitterati, let us suggest a metallic nail—which we’ve already deemed “the new neutral.” Color Club’s Cocktail Hour Collection serves up a delicious swirl of gleaming silvers and champagnes. For a dreamier hue, we like Deborah Lippmann’s Moon Rendezvous, a pearly slate blue.

Round 3: Eyes

Sparkle: When just the twinkle in your eye won’t cut it, grab Stila’s Sparkle Liquid Liner, which infuses micro-glitter into its five eye-opening shades (seriously, there’s one named Electric). Add subtler overall sparkle with the Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eye Palette, which includes a gold-flecked shadow called Patina.

Shine: There’s something so chic about eyes that have a radiant glow. Laura Mercier’s Illuminating Eye Color in Sun Glow delivers a wash of intense pigment. For less of a color commitment, line your eyes with the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Seashell to tease the color whenever you flutter your lashes.

Round 4: Face

Sparkle: If you’re ready to make a statement (but don’t want to look like one of the vampires from Twilight) smooth on Nuxe’s Dry Oil Shimmer, a moisturizing, shimmery oil that sinks in fast to leave a light-catching sheen. Highlight your cheeks, collarbone, even hair—you won’t look like a disco ball, but you'll surely command the dance floor's attention.

Shine: When it comes to our skin, we usually regard “shine” as a dirty word. But it doesn't have to be that way: Avoid over-dewing it with products that brighten and illuminate, like Manna Kadar’s Sheer Glow Shimmer Lotion on the tops of your cheekbones.. The finishing touch? Jouer’s Glisten Brightening Powder for a low-key luster.

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