About a year ago, Ariel Gitlin and I contemplated buying Bath And Body Works Art Stuff roll-on body glitter on eBay for $30. Remember that stuff? Wasn’t it the best? For those who don’t remember, I’m talking about a: fine, iridescent glitter (not shimmer) in a clear base (very important when you have to wear clothes) that wasn’t a powder (because those are messy). But paying $30 for someone’s old goo was insane, right?
And then, a couple weeks ago, we got a package containing not one, but THREE!!! bottles of Bath And Body Works roll-on body glitter. With no explanation. Were they being relaunched? Were they limited edition? No other beauty site seemed to be writing about them—save their inclusion in a handful of “true ‘90s girl” nostalgia stories that already existed. Why now? Why me? The rest of the workday passed by in a gleeful haze.
Except not everyone was as pumped as I was. “I am not excited about these Ali,” declared Emily Ferber, for example, when I tried multiple times to get her excited about these. To be fair, they were definite outliers to the kinds of products usually featured on ITG. Roll-on body glitters have no skincare benefits—they don’t do anything but make you glittery. They aren’t “clean,” they aren’t chic to look at on your vanity. And also, they smell kind of bad, especially if they don’t unlock extremely vivid scent memories from your youth. The blueberry one smells exactly how you remember it, but stronger—its vaguely nauseating sillage is detectable from across the room upon cap unscrewing. The cherry seems to be a new BBW scent innovation with no nostalgic draw. So I took home the grape, a slightly weaker but still familiar scent profile, as a happy medium. It sat unused for several weeks.
The issue is that holiday-exclusive body glitter is not practical under a knit turtleneck, my winter top of choice. And, though I did consider rolling it onto my face once or twice in desperate moments of weakness just to use it, I’d advise against it. But I finally got to wear it for the first time this past Friday, to a holiday party heated enough that I could take off all my winter bundlings and be comfortable in just a silk halter top. Rolled onto my shoulders and clavicle, it was like lip gloss for my body: young but not necessarily juvenile, playful but not out of place, maybe even a little sexy? My shoulders sparkled when the light hit me right, but the effect was subtle—not quite as subtle as Fenty’s Fairy Bomb but much more so than Spacepaste. The smell, which was overwhelmingly sweet and fruity when I first applied, died down significantly by the time I got to the party. And it didn’t transfer to my coat, or to my host’s white couch, or get anywhere I didn’t explicitly put it. Honestly, until I pointed it out no one really noticed it—and then I was met with oohs and aahs. Bath and Body Works body glitter is still strangely novel, 20 years later.
So here’s my suggestion: body glitter, for holiday parties. Body glitter for New Year’s Eve. Body glitter to use all through the summer, or before they stop making it again. It’s not sophisticated, but it is just as fun as you remember. And when you get sick of it, sell it on eBay—we already know there’s a market.
Photo via ITG.