The Best Ways to Wear Metallic Makeup

Shannon Farrell

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Our daily beauty routine is all about no-fuss makeup. And the perfect way to dress up that natural look? Just a hint of metallic makeup. When worn correctly, a metallic sheen adds brightening effects without the disco feel.

“You don’t have to lay in a tanning bed to get a gorgeous glow,” says celebrity makeup artist Lori Depp, the president of Serendeppity Lip Gloss. “Shimmery or metallic makeup is a gorgeous way to look radiant, even in cooler temperatures.”

Knowing about this trend is easy; actually executing it can be hard. Applying just enough shimmer without going overboard can be tricky; Depp walks us through how to wear metallic eyeshadow, highlighter, nail polish and lipstick.

how to wear metallic makeup

Photo: IMaxTree


When adding metallics to the complexion, keep it light with a highlighter that has just a hint of sheen. And a light touch is key: “It’s so much easier to add than to subtract,” Depp reminds us. “So use the tip of your ring finger to dab the product softly.” And instead of applying directly from the product package, “eliminate the excess either by gently blowing it off or patting on the back of your hand.” Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Wand ($28) has just enough of a golden-bronze sheen (plus hydrating argan oil) to brighten the skin without overpowering.

how to wear metallic makeup

Photo: IMaxTree


“I recommend a light dusting of a neutral color shimmer/metallic shade all over the lid and then adding a slightly darker shade in the crease of the lid,” says Depp. Choose a versatile palette, like Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist’s Palette ($55), that has matching matte and shimmer shades—that way you can easily tone down the metallics without diluting the color. “Apply your shadow sparingly and use a primer—the summer heat may cause it to cake in the crease,” she tells us. “And if you’re going to apply shadow to the brow bone, try to blend it out so it doesn’t look like you spread it with knife.”

Eyeliner isn’t necessary with bold metallic, says Depp. “But if you feel the need to take it up a notch, then use a similar metallic shade and a damp eyeliner brush to line your eye.” This works best with loose powder shadows, but can also work with pressed palette shadows. “Test it on the back of your hand to see how well the water will work with your products,” she says. Or better yet, use a liquid shadow, like Yves Saint Laurent Full Metal Shadow ($30). The thin wand allows you to apply it directly on the lash line, ensuring a high-voltage metallic look.

how to wear metallic lipstick

Photo: IMaxTree


Metallic lips may seem like a runway-only look, but when done subtly anyone can pull it off, says Depp. “Any one of your typical lipsticks or glosses can be turned into a pretty metallic version with a dab of loose powdered eyeshadow over top,” she says. Focus the shimmer at the center of the lips to create dimension and fake plumpness.

“Of course, buying a shimmery lip gloss and coupling it with your favorite lipstick is even better,” Depp adds. “You can even use some glosses as highlighters on your cheekbones, or just under your eyebrow.” Choose a non-sticky formula, like Serendeppity Baby Jane ($15) a rich, metallic pink perfect for adding shine to any lip color. In the mood to go dramatic? Try Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Amore ($22). The plum shimmer won’t budge or produce unwanted flecks of glitter on the skin. Just remember: pair the bold lips with matte skin to avoid looking like a shiny robot.

how to wear metallic nails

Photo: IMaxTree


“Matching your nails to your lips or shadow is a nice touch, and such a good look for summer,” Depp says. When choosing metallic polishes, the color options are endless…but the must-have set this season is Ciaté London’s South Beach Socialite Collection ($25). Go for a classic rose gold, or play it up with a foil/glitter topcoat. The best part? Metallic polish shades are flattering on all skin tones.

More from Daily Makeover: How to Pull Off Bright Lipstick