Monday, September 3, 2012

Glitter Polish

I'm sure you all know I have a thing for glitter polish. Like, a huge thing. I named my blog after it. I have glitter polish, glitter lip gloss, glitter eyeshadow, glitter phone case, glitter wallet, glitter purse, glitter shirts, glitter candles, glitter vases.

My husband tells me I'd like him better if he were covered in glitter. I'd have to agree with that man's logic.

Polishing your nails with glitter polish can be troublesome as the clean up can be a nightmare. If you're lucky, the polish applied well and didn't run or pool or ball up. Sometimes, though, as careful as we all are, we get polish where we don't want it. This is where it's important to realize glitter polish is MUCH different than regular polish. Hence, this post.

Regular nail polish is a mixture of pigments in a base. I'm totally simplifying here, so bear with me. Glitter polish is the same, but the glitter doesn't "dissolve" into the base, it's suspended, meaning it's hanging out in the polish.

When you "clean up" after painting your nails, the polish remover/acetone breaks down the bonds of the nail polish and allows you to remove it. Essentially, it dissolves it and you wipe it off. This is why glitter polish is so hard to clean up. Remover dissolves the base polish, but it doesn't dissolve the glitter itself, which is why the glitter sticks around forever. Polish remover generally has no effect on glitter itself. This is why it's so important to try and get a clean manicure the first time around, because clean up is a nightmare.

I've found a few things that make it easier for me to get fairly neat manicures with glitter polishes, regardless of the consistency of the base.

  • Use a cuticle/orange stick to wipe off polish that has gotten on your skin before it dries. I place the stick tip straight down and swipe down the nail close to the cuticle to clear that little space we like to have and wipe off my skin if there is glitter on it. This will physically remove the glitter from your skin/cuticle before it has a chance to dry to the skin. I'd rather scrape the glitter off a few times while painting than subject my poor cuticles to more acetone than needed.
  • Use nail polish remover/acetone to cleanup edges even if there is no glitter. If you've swiped a cuticle stick around your finger, you've likely got some dried polish on your skin that will show up in photos. You won't need a lot of remover, but it'll make sure everything looks "polished" and there aren't any leftovers on your fingers.
  • If the glitter isn't budging, don't try to force it with polish remover. Like we touched on earlier, polish remover generally has no effect on glitter, except maybe if you drown it it'll loosen from the skin, but really, who wants to use that much remover? If the glitter isn't moving, or moving slowly, try another method, such as an orange stick, qtip, etc or lubricate it with cuticle oil or lotion and see if you can move them. They should move easier if you've already used remover to clean up the base polish, so now you're dealing with the glitter itself, not the glitter suspended in a base.
  • If you have time, let them dry and scrub them later. I try to make sure I have time between painting a glitter polish and photographing/wearing them. I put some oil on my cuticles (this also helps lift off the glitter left on your fingers) and come back in 30 minutes or so and really wash my hands. Sometimes I use a little scrub brush if the glitter is being a pain, but I generally try to avoid using it over my nails as they may still be wet underneath the dried topcoat. This helps remove the glitter gently and your cuticles aren't doused in acetone. It also helps your fingers be soft and moisturized for pictures!
Just using an orange stick to remove the glitter when it first goes where it's not supposed to and using cuticle oil right after along with washing (maybe a little scrubbing if your nails are completely dry), my glitter manis look better and my cuticles aren't suffering every time I paint them in a glitter.

Any other suggestions or ideas on how to get a good glitter mani since the clean up is so hard? I'd love to hear what ya'll do. 


  1. These are very helpful suggestions. I use peel-off polish to avoid these hassles.

  2. This is an awesome post! Perfectly explained ;) Thanks for that and I will try to use an orange stick and some cuticle oil next time :)

  3. This is a must read for anyone who loves/likes/wants to try glitters but has a hard time with them. Thanks for this!

  4. I like the new method of using school glue as a base coat and then peeling off the glitter polish once you are ready. Won't peel off unless you give it a nudge. Polish looks great and doesn't really affect wear. It's pretty awesome.


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