Esther Walker worries that her life has got too serious for glitter. But hang on, what's this?
There wasn’t enough glitter in the world for me when I was about 20. And back then glitter wasn’t even as much of a “thing” as it is now, where you can barely move for glittered partings, beards and snacks.
In the Noughties, glitter was an event; it didn’t come with everything, in everything and on top of your cappuccino. Good glitter makeup that was available was hard to find and wildly unsubtle, just the way I liked it.
For years I was devoted to Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner, £16 . I had one in orange and one in green and never missed an opportunity to slap it on. I’ve got a huge mouth and a nose that means business, so heavy eye makeup, to me, evened the whole disaster out.
But then two things happened.
I was doing my face for a party when I was about 23 and I was just reaching for my faithful glitter eyeliner when my boyfriend put his head around the door and said, “Oh no… not that stuff. Don’t overdo it.” Needless to say, that boyfriend is now an ex. But it made me feel self-conscious about the glitter. Maybe he was right? Maybe it was silly and naff to pile on the eye glitter for every outing. It wasn’t very adult.
And then, much later, I had kids. And the idea of putting glitter make up on even for an actual festival (that I would not be going to) seemed absurd. I was so tired and strung out and so not remotely interested in having any sort of fun that didn’t involve being asleep for a long time that anything more than a lick of mascara was out of the question. Being an adult in charge of these kids was just too serious for glitter.
The dry, half-empty Urban Decay tubes lie dusty. I couldn’t bear to throw them out and I regarded them occasionally and as sadly as I looked at some old party dresses that I could no longer fit into. It was another life. It was over. But then two years ago when I was Christmas shopping, on my own, feeling really quite sprightly and positive about life. I stopped short at the Liberty Bobbi Brown stand. “What are you wearing on your eyes!” I gasped to the woman on the counter. “It’s this,” she said deftly picking up a square of Sparkle Eye Shadow in Sunlight, £25 . I bought it immediately.
What I love about Sparkle Eye Shadow is that: face one way and you’re not wearing any shade at all, but catch the light and it suddenly gleams and shimmers, lighting up your eyes as if you are possibly a magical creature. You are doing glitter without doing glitter.
It’s also a doddle to apply and you can’t have too much of it.
There are so many fiddly techniques and brushes and layers of creams and colours you can do with your eyes these days that sometimes you just want to apply something five seconds with just your ring finger – so that you can get on with the most tricky business of being an adult.