I understand your hesitancy about glitter nail polish. It’s sparkly and not necessarily workplace appropriate. It’s sometimes not chic. Your 10-year-old daughter/cousin/niece loves it, but you are a grown woman and you are serious, damn it. It’s a pain to remove.
Forget that annoyingly practical voice in your head, because it’s the holidays! If ever there was a time to go ahead and indulge your glitter fantasies, it’s now.
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I’m an unabashed fan of having sparkly digits – and there are several ways you can go, depending on your proclivities and lifestyle. Glitter polishes are available in every iteration from fine milled top coats to the chunkiest of opaque polishes. They’re all wonderful in their own way.
One thing that’s not so wonderful? Trying to get it off. Jin Soon Choi, a much-beloved editorial and runway manicurist who also has her own line of polishes, was happy to share some tips for getting glitter off your tips:
• Fine milled glitter is easier to remove than large chunky glitters, so be aware of that upfront if it’s a concern.
• To make glitter easier to remove, don’t apply it directly to the surface of your nail. “Try to apply your nail color thickly, then apply the glitter so it is sticking to the nail polish rather than directly on your nails. That way, the glitter is more easily removed,” Choi advises.
• Glitter removal requires some patience, so don’t expect to do it in two minutes then run out the door. “Saturate a small piece of cotton in a non-acetone nail polish remover and place it on each nail for about 15-20 seconds— this will remove the glitter all at once,” Choi advises. You can even wrap your nails in aluminum foil to help the cotton stay on and saturate the nail better. Then gently rub to remove it.
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• Sometimes you need to go to the big guns for removal: Acetone. While non-acetone polish remover works if you have patience and diligence, sometimes you just need acetone. If you choose to use acetone, be aware that it can be very drying to your nails and cuticles. “Make sure to moisturize by applying a lot of oil on your nails and cuticle areas [before applying acetone],” Choi warns.
Ready to shine? Here are 10 glitter polish options, on a spectrum from subtle to bold:
Sally Hansen Big Shimmer Top Coat in Twinkle Snows ($5): This is entry-level, stealth mode glitter. The finely milled glitter has the slightest shimmer to it and works universally well over any base color.
Smith & Cult in Bridge & Tunnel ($18): This finely milled gold polish has a bit of a matte finish rather than a really metallic finish, so the effect is more subtle. The glitter is suspended in a clear base, so it works well as a top coat or use two coats as a standalone polish.
Zoya PixieDust in Arianna ($10): This is a traditional deep berry holiday color made even more festive with glitter. The base color is opaque and the glitter is big, but it’s well-blended, so the effect is shiny rather than disco ball.
Formula X in Fine Like Einstein ($13): Wait, so you want your nails to look like a disco ball? This is the polish for you. The holographic pink glitter is densely packed and looks great when you really commit and do two coats.
Jin Soon in Bijou ($18): This is gold glitter done well. Square-shaped gold and white glitter are suspended in clear polish. It goes on smoothly and looks great over a cream or other neutral base color.
Maybelline Color Show Jewels in Platinum Adorn ($3): It’s like someone crumbled up diamonds and put them in a bottle. Win for glitter.
Morgan Taylor in Jest-er Kidding ($6): Moving away from monochrome is definitely more of a statement, but this is baby steps. This polish, which is mostly finely milled platinum colored glitter, also contains a few larger pieces of red, green, and blue glitter. Perfect to perk up a red base coat and super festive.
Deborah Lippmann in Magic Carpet Ride ($20): Black nail polish with multi-shaped and multi-colored glitter is a statement for sure, but it doesn’t read as tacky at all. You need to heavily coat the nail if you’re using it alone. Try it over black polish for a cool effect with less glitter mess.
Essie in Peak of Chic ($9): Ready to take the next step? This top coat provides both bar-shaped holographic glitter as well as white glitter for a textured, almost furry effect. Not for the faint of heart.
Ciate Mini Paint Pot in Comic Strip ($8): This is like New Year’s Eve on your nails. A combination of metallic and matte rainbow glitter looks exactly like confetti.