This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
It shouldn’t be a surprise how much people adore glitter after doctors had to issue a warning not to put it in vaginas last year. But, truly, there is no more iconic duo than that of butts and glitter, which have gotten together in a rising trend called glitter booty (#glitterbooty).
Glitter booty is exactly what it sounds like—the adorning of butts with sparkly things. The hashtag #glitterbooty already has over 1,600 posts on Instagram, many of them close-up shots of colorful and intricately bejeweled asses. And with the summer approaching, it’s quite possible we will be seeing even more glittery butts as people continue to cover themselves in what haters tiredly refer to as the “herpes of craft supplies.”
To try to find out how this whole trend got started, I reached out to a company called The Gypsy Shrine. In 2017, a “glitter artist” at the company, which markets itself as “turning free spirits into colorful pieces of art,” sparkled up the butt of a woman named Sophia Moreno at a festival in the Sahara Desert. A photo of said glittery butt amongst the sand dunes went viral online, propelling glitter booty into a full-blown trend.
“That’s the one that initially started the trend,” Katrina Luder, marketing manager of The Gypsy Shrine, told VICE.
“It very much hit a presence last year,” Luder said, adding that they were also doing a lot of glitter-adorned “disco tits” last season. “We’re recreating, trying to make them more innovative and sort of crazier,” Luder said of the current beauty trends involving glitter.
The company, which travels around the world to festivals to decorate the bodies of attendees and has a line of products for sale, recently stepped up the glitter booty trend by adding jewels to the mix.
“Of course, a glitter bum is not always the most practical to sit down in because it’s going to transfer,” Luder explained. The jewels, she said, may be best suited for photos.
Though the photo of a golden glitter bum in the desert seems to have propelled the trend in the festival scene, a photographer posted a photo tagged #glitterbooty on Instagram in July 2016. So, perhaps the phenomenon dates back even further.
Glitoris, an Australia-based company that offers body glittering at events, has also been playing host to the glitter bum trend. Three friends who “loved putting glitter on and dressing up” started the company over four years ago.
“We readily and happily provide consensual glitter bumming,” Ali Gay, director of Glitoris, said.
“Everyone goes all out. They walk in, and they’re like ‘I want that!’... Glitter bums and glitter butts are definitely a part of what people want covered and what people see,” Gay explained. Gay said it’s not just women who are interested in glittering up their bodies—they often have male customers as well.
Gay recalled one of their first glitter butts, which occurred at a “bush doof” (a.k.a. a forest rave in Australia) Glitoris was attending: A dude was facedown getting glittered on his back with a G-string on. She said a chant then started “Glitter butt! Glitter butt! Glitter butt!”
“He got his whole butt glittered in his little G-string!” Gay said.
Gay explained how sometimes putting glitter on certain parts of the body can help with confidence: It’s almost like having another layer of clothing."
If you’ve ever had glitter on your body, you are well acquainted with the challenge of removing it. Gay recommends using a credit card to scrape off as much of the glitter as possible when you’re done being sparkly for the day, then use soap and water to wash it off. Then, rinse off with water, dry off, and use sticky tape to dab any remaining glitter.
So, what’s next—is there anywhere glitter shouldn’t go?
“Keep it out of dangerous places… We always say to keep at least a centimeter away from the eyes,” Luder said.
Gay said Glitoris advises against putting glitter on the mouth and lip area of the face, as well as “anywhere inside the underwear.”
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.