Cosmetic Glitter versus Craft Glitter

Cosmetic Glitter vs. Craft Glitter

Glitter is a super versatile material that you can use for tons of different projects. You can use it for wax melts, home decor, nail polish, and an endless array of crafts. However, not all glitter is created equally. When buying glitters, it’s important to be aware of the different types of glitter so you can get the right kind for your project.

There are many different kinds of glitter, but they can broadly be divided into craft glitter and cosmetic glitter. These names seem somewhat self-explanatory, but it’s helpful to learn what sets them apart. 

What’s the difference between craft and cosmetic glitter?

The main things that set cosmetic and craft glitter apart are the materials, cut shape, particle size, manufacturing process, and packaging. Price is also a factor in some cases. 


Cosmetic glitter is made from non-toxic polyethylene (PET) plastic or polyester. For this reason, you might also hear cosmetic glitter referred to as “poly glitter.” In addition, cosmetic glitters are made with FDA-approved dyes and colorants that can be used on your skin safely.

Craft glitter, on the other hand, can be dyed with a wider range of colorants. In addition, craft glitters may be made from a variety of different materials such as glass or metal. While these materials aren’t harmful, they are sharp and unsuitable for skin contact - especially around your eyes. 

Cut Shape 

In addition to the materials used to make glitter, the shape of the individual glitter pieces is also important. Cosmetic glitter is round in shape, which means it doesn’t have any sharp edges. This is important if you want to use the glitter on your skin or around your eyes. The smooth, rounded edges will not cause cuts or irritation.

Craft glitter pieces can also be round. However, it tends to have hexagonal or geometric edges that can be sharp. This makes the glitter look more sparkly. However, it is generally too sharp to be used in cosmetics. 

Particle Size

Glitter can be found in a wide range of sizes from 50 to 6,000 microns. Cosmetic glitters tend to have smaller particle sizes, with most being less than 400 microns in size. This is because smaller particle sizes tend to look more appealing for cosmetic uses. 

Craft glitters can also have small particles. However, you will usually see much larger sizes. A “standard” craft glitter will usually be in the range of 500 to 1,000 microns. You can also find chunky craft glitters up to 6,000 microns. These large particles are great for projects where you want to see the individual pieces of glitter rather than having them blend together in an overall sparkle effect. 

Manufacturing & Packaging 

Craft glitter doesn’t need to meet any special requirements, which means the manufacturing process can often be streamlined. Cosmetic glitter, on the other hand, needs to be produced in a sanitary environment to prevent product contamination. For example, special precautions are taken to prevent dust, machinery rust, or factory byproducts from getting into the product.

In addition, cosmetic glitters have a safety seal under the cap to keep it sanitary. You may also find safety seals on craft glitters. However, this is usually done to keep the glitter from getting into the cap before you open it. 


Craft glitter tends to be more economically priced than cosmetic glitter. This is due to the materials, manufacturing process, and packaging as mentioned above. Cosmetic grade glitter is produced and packaged more carefully, while also being made of more expensive materials in most cases.

If you’re making a large project covered with glitter, the most affordable option will probably be craft glitter. With that being said, some specialty craft glitters such as high-end glass or metal glitters will cost more. 

Can you use cosmetic glitter for crafts?

Absolutely! Cosmetic glitter is far more versatile than craft glitter. You can use it for everything from makeup to glitter glue and everything in between. Cosmetic glitters look beautiful in projects like:

  • Resin art projects
  • Greeting cards
  • Scrapbooks
  • Ornaments
  • Theater masks & costumes 
  • Rubber stamping 
  • Party decor 
  • Holiday decor 
  • Fabric paint

Keep in mind cosmetic glitter tends to have a smaller particle size. This is great for lots of projects, but especially for projects you see up close. For projects that might be viewed from a longer distance, you might get a better effect with larger craft glitters. 

Can you use craft glitter for cosmetics? 

No. Even if craft glitter has smooth particles, you should avoid using it for cosmetics like makeup, lotion, soap, or nail polish. Aside from potentially sharp edges, craft glitters may also be made with dyes that are not skin-safe. 

Browse 130+ Colors of Glitter

Looking for cosmetic glitter? NorthWood has more than 130 beautiful cosmetic glitters to choose from! Our glitters are wonderful for crafts, nail polish, cosmetics, and more. We have sparkly glitters as well as unique matte glitter and fluorescent glitter. Let your imagination run wild with all these fun options! 

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