Face gems are, unequivocally, the breakout beauty product of 2022. You can trace
the origins of the current face gem boom back to everyone’s shared Euphoria beauty mania, festival culture, and the continued reign of beauty influencers creating elaborate looks on social media. Regardless of where they came from, these little sparklers are everywhere now and it helps to have hacks for wearing face gems, because they’re not that easy to pull off.
I’m a big fan of face gems and have a hefty rhinestone collection. I could spend hours affixing tiny bits of sparkle to my face and consider those hours well spent, but I also know that they’re not for everyone. If you want to wear face gems, but don’t know where to start or if you’re looking to speed up — or improve — your face gem application process, you’ve come to the right place. I tapped three makeup artists who know their way around a pack of rhinestones for their tips, tricks, and expert advice on face gems.
Celebrity makeup artists
Judi Gabbay, Shadi Malek, and Jamie Greenberg have created iconic beauty looks for the likes of Kaley Cuoco, Dorit Kemsley, Hunter McGrady, and Madison Beer. Ahead, they share their favorite hacks for putting on and taking off these sparkly little stones, as well as their favorite products to use to keep face gems in place. Read on for the cleverest hacks for wearing face gems you’re likely to find anywhere and shine on, you bright little diamond. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 01 Place Gems With Tweezers For Precision
“I love tweezers,” says Greenberg, who appreciates the precision afforded by these precise little tools. Gabbay is also #TeamTweezer if you find them easy to use. This set of two pairs of tweezers has a standout rating of 4.7 out of 5 based on nearly 1,300 reviews. While tweezers on the cheaper side can sometimes be disappointing, these are the real deal. One reviewer wrote, “I was not expecting much for the price of these, but I would say that the precision engineering surprised me.”
02 Easily Apply Face Gems Using This $5 Tool
Gabbay’s second face gem application recommendation is a wax stick like this one with a solid rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars based on over 2,400 reviews. “Some people find tweezers easiest to apply gems with, others [prefer] a wax stick,” Gabbay says. “A wax stick is a quick way to grab gems and place them where you’ve dotted your lash glue.”
This wax stick comes with two additional heads and, according to reviews, is a major time saver. “This tool has saved me a lot of time. I don’t have to worry about dropping stones anymore. It picked up every size stone I was using,” shared one reviewer.
You can skip expensive stickers and single-use face gems that come with adhesive already attached by buying gems in bulk instead. The variety of sizes and colors in a big set of different gems like this one means you can create lots of truly unique and iconic looks.
04 Keep Your Face Gems Organized
Face gems aren’t expensive, but it’s better for your budget and the planet if you reuse and recycle the gems you already have. As someone who wears a lot of face gems, I like to sort mine by color and size. I also organize them based on clean or dirty (I soak dirty ones in warm, soapy water for a few hours to remove excess glue) using plastic containers like this one.
05 Handle Face Gems With Precision With A Dual-Ended Rhinestone Picker
“The best tool ever is the dual-ended rhinestone applicator,” says Malek. “It helps you pick up the product perfectly and apply it with a lot of precision.” This dual-ended picker from Amazon has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars based on over 2,400 reviews.
06 Prep Skin With Precision Cotton Swabs
If you want to pair face gems with a full beat, you run the risk of the gems not sticking as well. Foundation, bronzer, blush, and eyeshadow can all make face gems slip, slide, and not stick where you want them. To avoid this, Malek recommends applying a bit of micellar water to a cotton swab and dabbing the spot where you want to add a pop of sparkle. This way, your makeup stays intact and your gems stay stuck on.
07 Apply Face Gems With This MUA-Fave Glue
Gabbay’s favorite face gem adhesive is eyelash glue, specifically this one from KISS. “It’s waterproof, latex-free, and gets tacky quicker than a typical tube glue, making it easier and faster for gems to adhere,” she says. She’s also a fan of the ultra-fine tip in this tube of lash glue, saying that “its thin brush is an easy applicator and will [help] map out where you want to place the stones.”
08 Use Spirit Gum For Extra Long-Lasting Face Gem Wear
Spirit gum is a powerful adhesive used in the special effects community and not for the faint of heart, but Greenberg recommends it if you want your face gems to really stay locked in. “If you want something really strong, you can use spirit gum but you really need to know what you’re doing because it can be a little dangerous,” she says.
Mehron makes a duo of spirit gum and spirit gum remover that has an average rating of 4.4 stars based on over 5,000 reviews. “Super strong hold,” shared one reviewer, who wrote that this spirit gum “lasted all throughout a two-hour drag show over skin/athletic bandages and didn't budge, even through sweat and clothes rubbing.”
09 Keep Gems In Place With This MUA-Fave Lash Glue
If you want a serious hold that’s not quite as extreme as spirit gum, but is still long-wear, Malek recommends using this eyelash glue from House of Lashes to keep face gems in place. “My go-to adhesive is the House of Lashes Black Lash Glue,” she says. “It is so sticky and tacky and I find it can last up to 14 hours!”
10 Keep Gems Stuck Tight With A Mattifying Spray
To keep gems in place, Malek shared this pro tip that she swears by. “If you’re adding the gems to a full face of makeup my favorite tip is to spray your face with a mattifying setting spray before you add the gems,” she says.
This makeup barrier spray from Mehron feels tacky at first, but keeps everything in place. “Seriously, this stuff is AMAZING. I live in DC and the summers are unbearably humid. This stuff keeps my makeup on and in place ALL day. I have tried 3 or 4 others that don't even come close to this one,” wrote one happy customer.
11 Remove Face Gems With An Oil Cleanser
Another method, this one recommended by Greenberg, is to apply a little rubbing alcohol to a cotton swab and use that on any stubborn residue. She also swears by PÜR’s Melt Away Oil Cleanser. “It’s natural, good for your skin, and breaks down everything,” she says. Reviewers on Amazon agree. “It is silky going on and gently lifts all my makeup, even waterproof mascara,” wrote one shopper.
12 Wash Away Face Gem Adhesive With Micellar Water
Face gem removal shouldn’t be difficult, but getting rid of the residue that face gem adhesive leaves behind can be a bit of a pain. Gabbay recommends “wetting [your] face with warm water first, using cleanser, and then micellar water to rid yourself of any excess adhesive.”
This micellar water from Bioderma has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars based on nearly 8,000 reviews. “Takes my waterproof makeup and leftover lash glue off without having to rub hard. Doesn’t irritate my eyes at all,” wrote one happy customer.
Experts Cited: Judi Gabbay, celebrity makeup artist Shadi Malek, celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg, celebrity makeup artist Don't miss a thing
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