Nail Polish 101

I got a few requests on the basics of nail polish so I thought I would put together a little resource post. I hope this might be helpful to some.

Nail Polish Finish
There are a number of different finish types. Here are a few links that will better explain them.
I tend to use different topcoats on different polishes since that's my preference. If you have find one that works for you - wonderful! I have yet to find one topcoat that works for all my polishes. 
  • Cremes: I like a thinner easily spread topcoat that covers in one coat and completely. A creme will show a topcoat gap much more compared to other finishes. I like Orly In A Snap for cremes. 
  • Glittters: Glitters are notorious (not all) for being topcoat drinkers. The best way to combat that is to apply a non-quick drying topcoat, like Gelous, Revlon Extra Life No Chip Top Coat and Zoya Armor, and apply a quick dry topcoat over that like Seche Vite or one that you have that has gotten a bit on the thick side. This helps to keep the glitter from being dull or gritty. 
  • Flakes: I have found that some flakes can be a little thick or uneven when applied. I prefer a heavier topcoat for these to even things out and smooth out the surface. 
  • Holo/Holographic: I don't know where the decision that topcoat dulled holo polishes came from. I have yet to experience this. You may notice dulling when first applied but when dry everything shines. If you do have the dulling issue you try a non-quick dry topcoat. 
  • Older polishes: These have chemicals that aren't present in modern polishes. Seche Vite really works well with these even though it can be touchy with other polishes. 
  • All others: For everything else I just go with mood or that specific polish and how it acts. 
Manicure Types
There are tons of ways to do a manicure. French, American, rhinestones, feathers and whatever else you can stick on your nails. Try it - you can easily remove it. 
  • Sticky sandwich is when you apply a gripping basecoat, Orly Bonder and CND Stickey, add a layer of color, another coat of gripper and another layer of color. This helps with wear and seems to work for some when applying fussy holo polishes that may bald or streak. 
  • Jelly Sandwich is a base of color in a jelly finish with an application of glitter and a coat of the jelly color over that. It gives a muted and soft look. You can see an example at Another Bottle of Polish?!
  • Ombre is using colors in the same family to create a gradient look with a different color on each nail. Parokeets did a great one as well as Nihrida
  • Skittles is a different color on each nail. They are usually bright colors so they look like the candy. You can see one at Manicure Mommas
  • Gradient is having a gradient look on each nail using the same colors. Nails and Noms has a great one. 
  • Water Marble is one I have never mastered. Never. My Simple Little Pleasures makes it look so easy so check out her blog for water marble manicures. 
  • Konad/Stamping is just that - using an image plate and nail polish to stamp an image onto the nail. 
  • Scotch Tape is using tape to section of parts of the nail to create a design or pattern with nail polish. You can see some great ones from Nail Stories and Nailside
  • Foils are little sheets of vibrant colored foil that you apply to the nail after applying foil glue. So simple and easy. Topcoat can cause issues but I have been using Orly Glosser with great results. Dollar Nail Art is a great source for foils and Enamel Girl has a great tutorial. 
I use felt to remove my polish, always. It's hardier, doesn't leave lint and it's quicker. It's inexpensive and can be had at craft stores, fabric shops and big chain stores. I prefer white so I don't worry about dye coming off the material and staining. Nail polish remover is a preference but most removers are pretty much equal if they are acetone based. It's the additives that make them different - like Zoya adding glycerine to help with dryness. You can buy acetone at hardware stores and it will work fine.

Other Resources
  • Loodie Loodie Loodie is a great blog for care and treatment of nails. She gives excellent (and accurate) information on treatments and what they mean and how they work. 
  • Dr. Frankenpolish is a great blog for learning the basics on mixing up your own polish. 
  • You can learn how to do clean up from MeganChair at Polish or Perish.

  • The foil method of removing glitter makes things easier and All You Desire shows how.

  • Do not throw out that dried up polish or use acetone. Get yourself a bottle of Seche Restore and check out how Scrangie saves the polish. 

1 comment

♥beauxs mom January 8, 2012 at 5:28 AM

Very nice post so informative I didn't even know about an ombré manicure I think I need to try it, thanks!

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