Humans have been playing with glitter for thousands of years. Thirty-thousand years ago, our ancestors used ground up mica to make their cave painting sparkle. Ancient Egyptians were grinding reflective minerals to wear as glittery cosmetics. Even with the mess it can make, glitter just gives us a good feeling.
Scientists even have a theory for why we love glitter so much and why it always draws our eye. Way back when our ancestors were in the evolutionary contest to become the human race, being able to locate water was key to survival. Those who were able to quickly spot glittering streams or sparkling lakes survived to pass on their genes. The trait of looking for and wanting to be around shiny things actually kept us alive. In the modern age, we’ve adapted that to use glitter to make ourselves more eye-catching to others.
In the 1800’s ground up colored glass was the standard glitter, mostly manufactured by Germany, and we had to wait until 1934 for glitter as we think of it to be invented. When we didn’t have access to Germany’s glass glitter, a rancher and machinist named Henry Ruschmann in New Jersey experimented with grinding up leftover scrap plastics and metals. The result: modern glitter. The military quickly caught on and started blowing metal glitter, called chaff, out the back of their WWII airplanes to try to disrupt and confuse German radar, with limited success. Since then, glitter has mainly stuck to making things pretty–with great success.
Body glitter got its popular start in the glam rock era and is an eye-catching way to deck yourself out for parties, Halloween, clubbing, parades, festivals, sports events, conventions or really any time you feel like you need to be more reflective than normal. If this kind of extreme sparkle is a little more than you were bargaining for, check out my guide to the the best best shimmer body lotions for a much more subtle look.
When bringing together the best body glitters, I’ve chosen all self-adhesive glitters so you don’t have to worry about having to buy a separate glue or bonding agent to get your loose glitter to stick to you. These are all dazzling glitter gels that can easily be dabbed on wherever you want them.
When it comes time to remover body glitter, we run into the classic glitter-lover’s conundrum because, forget diamonds, glitter is forever. It’s sticky, it’s tenacious, and there always seems to be a little bit left. Part of interacting with glitter is accepting that the glitter is the one who gets to decide when you are 100 percent glitter-free again. That said, here are some strategies you can use when you need to get back to your regular schedule not looking like a disco ball.
Makeup remover is a good bet, particularly if it isn’t oil-free. The best method is to saturate a makeup pad, sponge, or cotton ball and hold it on the place you have glitter for 20 to 30 seconds. Then gently rub the glitter off and cleanse your skin as normal. If you don’t have that on hand or it isn’t having the success you want, try gently rubbing the area with olive oil for a double benefit of glitter-loosening and moisturizing. This is also a great method for glitter in your hair. If you’re still finding glitter on you after your skin has dried, try a lint roller or Scotch tape to pick up whatever is left.
And if you’re still finding some glitter overstaying its welcome, best just wait for it to get bored and move out on its own.
But now, on to the body glitter.
1. Unicorn Snot Glitter Gel for Body & Face
One of the most famous names in body glitter, Unicorn Snot is also the best name in body glitter. These gels are great for use on your body, face, and hair. While the color tint of them isn’t super obvious with thin layers of gel, don’t get the idea that this stuff is subtle. The silver holographic glitter flecks will bounce light around and have you shimmering like a fairy in no time. The gel doesn’t dry clear, but it’s nearly clear. There’s a very light tint visible to each color. It takes about five minutes for the gel to dry and that leaves the glitter adhered to you until you wash it off. You’re always going to have some glitter shedding, that’s unavoidable, but you won’t end the night glitter-less. It’s unscented and has the texture of hair gel. Unicorn Snot comes in six colors: pink, silver, gold, purple, teal, and yellow–or you can purchase a set of five which has everything except for the yellow color and essentially you get five jars for the price of three.
Price: From $9.99
- Great for body, face, and hair
- Fragrance free
- Glitter is holographic and reflects many colors
- Several colors to choose from
- Contains parabens
- Glitter load isn’t very dense
2. Graftobian GlitterGlam Liquid Skin Sparkle
The GlitterGlam Liquid Skin Sparkle is a much smaller product, but the glitter is significantly more dense compared to the Unicorn Snot. If you went over a section of your skin twice with this stuff, it would nearly be opaque. The tint of the gel is also more noticeable so there’s a much bigger difference between all the colors. This has the consistency of a thin hair gel or glitter glue and is safe for body, face, eyelids, lips, and hair. It dries fairly quickly and has really good staying power as long as it doesn’t get too wet since the gel is water-based, which you’ll be very thankful for when it’s time to wash it off. It dries fairly stiff like hair gel, so keep that in mind when putting in your hair. The bottle comes with a built in applicator brush sort, like in a nail polish bottle, which I love because you don’t even have to get glitter on your fingers if you don’t want to. It makes applying the glitter to specific areas much more controled. GlitterGlam comes in 12 colors so you’ve got a ton of variety including Electric Jade, Opal Flash, Coral Fire, and Violicious which looks straight up holographic.
- Safe on body, face, lips, eyelids, and hair
- 12 colors to choose from
- Built in applicator
- Dense glitter load
- Bottle is very small
3. Kingman Stardust Body Glitter
This body glitter has a much finer mill to it so the glitter is smaller. Stardust Body Glitter has a starlight sparkle to it than an aggressive fairy princess riding a unicorn kind of look. It has the same gel texture as Unicorn Snot and is great for your body and face though it takes a little longer to dry than the others. It has a light scent that’s not unpleasant and mild enough that it fades quickly. If the first two body glitters made you realize, whoa that’s way too much glitter, Kingman is a much more subtle option. If this still seems like too much, head on over to my best shimmer body lotions article.
Price: $7.22 (14 percent off MSRP)
- Works for body and face
- Much more subtle sparkle
- Light fragrance
- Too subtle for some
- Sticker than others
4. Snazaroo Body Glitter Gel
This gel from Snazaroo has a glitter density about equal to the Unicorn Snot but has a wider variety of colors including some multicolored glitters which is a first for the list. This is much more for an accent rather than full glitter coverage. You wouldn’t really be able to draw with this one like you can with the GlitterGlam. It’s got great sticking power and can last you all day despite being able to wash off with soap and water. You may want to do a patch test on your arm before putting this on your, or another person’s, face just to make sure the pigments in this don’t irritate your skin as a small number of people have had issues with that. There are ten color choices including Stardust which reminds me of unicorn skin paper and Multicolored.
Price: $5.44 (32 percent off MSRP)
- Great for face and body
- Variety of colors to choose from
- Never tested on animals
- Good staying power
- Best to do a spot test
- Glitter not as dense as it looks in the jar photos
5. Moon Glow Black Light Glitter Face & Body Gel
If you want to up the ante with your look, this glitter gel from Moon Glow is black light reactive so it will glow neon under UV black light. Although these tubes look very highly pigmented, they’re really colored glitter in a clear gel. Again, this is a similar glitter density to Unicorn Snot so you really can’t paint visible lines with this, but it’s a good accent to other designs in the six different colors the set comes with. The gel stays on well and washes off easily which makes me think that if you were going to be in a super sweaty environment, like a club, try to keep this off areas prone to dampness. With other gels it might not be a big deal, but runny black light reactive paint could look pretty funky. So no black light reactive glitter-armpits for you, I’m afraid. If you’ve ever played with black light reactive paints before, you know that for it to really show up, you need a decent amount of black lights. One bulb isn’t going to get you the effect you want.
- Works for face and body
- Black light reactivee
- Comes with six colors
- Easy to remove
- Lower glitter density
- Gel is actually clear
- Getting black light reflective stuff to work is always tricky
6. Stargazer Face And Body & Eye Gel Glitter
This gel glitter by Stargazer is much more heavily pigmented and full of glitter. You can actually draw a line with this. It has a narrow application tip so you can squeeze the gel out kind of like those gel decorating frostings you write on cakes with. The gel dries fairly quickly and really stands out. With six colors to choose from, you could do some seriously intricate designs with these. The downside is that these Stargazer gels don’t have a lot of staying power. They shed and tend to rub off easily, which isn’t surprising for the price. But while they’re on, they look stunning. You have a choice of gold, silver, yellow, green, red, and pink.
Price: From $2.94
- Works on face and body
- Able to draw a line
- Six colors to choose from
- Glitter rubs off easily
7. Hard Candy Glitteratzi Glitter Gel in Crystal Ball
Hard Candy was there for us back at the glittery turn of the millennium and they’re here for us now. This Glitteratzi gel gives a holographic sparkle with an intensity that is buildable if you keep adding more layers. You won’t get opaque coverage by any means, but you can really turn the volume up on the sparkle. The squeeze tube packaging is much cleaner and easier to deal with than jars or pots of gel which I always appreciate. It has amazing staying power and won’t shed unless you’re really rubbing on it. I love the holographic flecks in Crystal Ball, but this gel also comes in the gold color aptly named Goldfinger.
- Safe for body, face, and eyelids
- Holographic sparkle
- Made in America
- Convenient tube design
- Two colors to choose from
- Contains parabens
- Never opaque
8. Graftobian Glitter Gel
From the same brand that makes GlitterGlam our glitter packed liquid, Graftobian also makes these thicker glitter gels. This gel is viscous, quick drying, and depending on your application can be completely opaque. They work on your body, face, and hair. These are one of the few body glitters than can actually provide some color coverage in hair and not just add some sparkle. It does dry fairly stiff, especially when applied thickly, so keep that in mind when deciding where to put it. The Graftobian Glitter Gel comes in nine colors including opalescent, rose, and sea foam.
Price: From $6.99
- Great on body, face, and hair
- Dense coverage
- Nine colors to choose from
- Long lasting
- Dries very stiff
9. Ucanbe Cream Glitter Gel for Body and Face
Another glitter with the ability to be nearly opaque, the UCANBE Cream Glitter Gel is closer to a paste or very thick lotion rather than a gel. The ingredient list even looks like a lotion. You’ve got water, aloe vera, jojoba oil, apricot seed oil, vitamin E, and essential oils along with cosmetic grade glitter so this one seems to have skincare in mind along with being shiny. The glitter load is very dense and you have the option to either rub the cream in and have a dispersed sparkle effect, or use a thicker or multiple layers to achieve a full coverage look. You have five colors to choose from: gold (gold glitter with slight holo), silver (silver glitter with silver holo), glaucous (blue and teal green glitter), rose red, (copper and gold glitter), and dark purple (purple and black glitter).
- Great for body, face, and hair
- You can get opaque coverage
- Moisturizing ingredients like jojoba and apricot seed oils
- Several colors to choose from
- Not great if your skin is sensitive to oils
10. UV Glow Face & Body Glitter Gel
If the previous black light reactive glitter was a little too neon, UV Glow has you covered with these primary color glitter paints. This set comes with small tubes of colored glitter (red, green, silver, yellow, blue, and purple) in a clear gel. It’s a lower glitter load and will give you an intense sparkle but not be opaque or even really tinted. This isn’t a product for you if you’re looking for full coverage. The UV Glow Body Glitter has great staying power and once it’s dry, that glitter isn’t going anywhere. It still washes off with soap and water like the rest. As far as being black light reactive, it’s about as bright as most clear black light gels. It will glow, but only if you’re under enough black light and nothing else. Think of the black light reactive part as a bonus and probably not something to count on.
- Great for face and body
- Set comes with six colors
- Very little shedding
- Black light reactive
- Glitter load is not opaque
- Black light reactive stuff is always hit or miss