Terminology every nail polish addict should know
By Rebecca Peterson, Humour Editor
There are millions of types of nail polishes.
Well, not millions, but it can definitely seem like it, and each has their own terminology. Before I really got into nail polish, I basically just divided nail polish into two categories: “Shiny” and “not as shiny.” I had no idea that there was a term for polish with little flakes of shimmery bits in it (flakies), which is completely different from glitter polish, which is different again from holographic glitter polish, which is different from a linear holo… let me try again.
Over the next two weeks, I’ll be listing some common nail polish finishes and how best to apply them. Read on, and soon you’ll be talking like a nail polish pro—or at the very least you’ll be able to be a little more specific at your next nail appointment.
Crème polish is probably the most common finish you’ll see when perusing through shelves of OPI and Sally Hansen. It’s essentially like regular paint—you’ve got the colour, and a glossy finish. No bells, no whistles, nothing too exciting. Crème is the base for a lot of nail art, and for regular application ideally you should really only need two thin coats for full coverage.
Shimmer polish is also a very popular mainstream polish type. It takes a crème polish and elevates it a little by adding a shimmery sheen to the finish. Still very simple, but a little more exciting than straight-up crème. Like the crème, two coats should usually be enough for full coverage. However, I tend to find these polishes a little thinner in formula than their crème counterparts, so you’re unlikely to find a one-coat wonder amongst your shimmer polish collection.
Glitter polish is exactly what it sounds like—pieces of glitter suspended in (usually) clear polish. Usually you would apply glitter polish over top of a base colour to add a little pop to your manicure—on the accent nail, for example. However, it is possible to achieve full coverage with a glitter polish! Simply take a makeup sponge (a cheap one mind you, NOT your Beauty Blender!) and use it to dab the glitter polish on the nail. This soaks up the clear nail polish base and applies the glitter to your nail in a higher concentration. Two coats like this and you’ll have full coverage! Make sure to apply a peel-off base coat before doing this, however; glitter polish is a pain to remove.
Flakies are very different from glitter polishes. The flakes in these polishes are usually very opalescent and delicate. Like glitter, they can be used as an accent over another polish. There are some flakie polishes, however, that have a coloured base polish, and can therefore be applied on their own. This finish is less common in drugstore polishes, but there are tons of gorgeous shades online if you’ve got a little extra money to spend.
These are also fairly common polish finishes, and when applied well, these polishes are gorgeous. However, because of the chrome finish, they can be finicky to apply it without getting streaky on the nail. I like to put a matte topcoat over metallic nail polish to give it a kind of brushed metal look.
That’s it for this week! See you next time, and good luck with your nail polish adventures!