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Difference Between Shimmer, Glimmer, Glitter, Frost, and Pearlescent

All About Shimmer, Sparkles, Glimmers, and Other Shiny Finishes

I've had shimmer on the mind since since New Year's. Or is it glimmer or glitter or sparkles. . . or frost? Whatever you call it, it's all about creating some type of glow. Whether it's bold and eye-catching or softly luminizing, check out my little guideline regarding those finishes that glisten below. Which one is your favorite?

  1. Shimmer: A subtle sheen with a hint of sparkle that flickers lightly. A classic example is Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact ($38).
  2. Glimmer: Shimmer's little cousin. A much softer version of shimmer, glimmers are the way to go if you don't want too much sparkle. Try Bare Minerals Glimmer ($13).
  3. Glitter: The "woot, woot" of the glistening finishes. Glitter is the heaviest of the bunch, with small chunks of light-reflecting particles within the composition. Urban Decay makes a Heavy Metal Glitter Liner ($18) for maximum drama.
  4. Frost: More opaque than shimmer, but still gives shine and sheen. Sometimes has a metallic finish or a silvery-white appearance. Check out Milani Lip Color in Frosted Pink ($3.49).
  5. Pearlescent: Has a pearly luster or gloss, giving the illusion of many layers and shades. It has more dimension than frost, and is typically iridescent, shiny, and swirly in appearance — much like pearls themselves. Often found in lipsticks, powders, and nail polishes: Tropez Super Pearl Nail Enamel in Paradise Pearl ($1.99), for instance.
Join The Conversation
Metallica Metallica 8 years
I love eyeshadow with a slight glimmer but I hate bronzers & blushes with glitter in them!
infraredflower infraredflower 8 years
The Bobbi Brown shimmer brick looks good, but it's kinda pricey... does anyone have any other suggestions for a cheek shimmer product? :)
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 8 years
I like #1. *Puts on list*
mlen mlen 8 years
shimmer- i LOVE my bobbi brown shimmer brick!
emalove emalove 8 years
I hate glitter in my makeup!
Beauty-Banter Beauty-Banter 8 years
I love the prescriptives winter reflections all over highlighter -- it add a soft and luminizing glow to the face with these great little dusts of shimmer. xoxo, Beauty Banter http://www.beautybanter.com
Swen Swen 8 years
Good post! I hate when people use the terms shimmer and glitter interchangeable. They are totally different things in my mind.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I stick with the first two, anything more is just too tween for me.
Advah Advah 8 years
I have a glitter liner from the Body Shop and I LOVE it!! I keep getting compliments when I wear it :P - I usually just add a thin line on top of my normal day makeup if I go out and feel too lazy too wash my face and reapply makeup. It's great!!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
OMG I WANT THAT EYESHADOW! ...I have been so bad with make-up lately!
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