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4 Easy Ways to Use Glitter Nail Polishes for Nail Art


Glitter nails via elle
Glitter tip nails are an easy look to try. | Photo Credit

With nail art being an ever-growing trend, it seems like everyone is trying their hand at creating intricate fingertip designs. (Here at CF, we even have a Nailspiration Pinterest board to keep track of our favorite nail art looks!)

However, if you’re not exactly steady-handed or skilled with a detail brush, glitter polish can offer a super easy way to create a fantastic nail art look in a flash. Below, we’ll share our four favorite ways to use glitter for simple nail art.

Before We Begin, a Word on Glitter Polishes:

In my experience, I’ve found that most glitter polishes work best against a dark base color (pretty obvious, right?), but the beauty of the glitter polish is that you can use any shade you want to create lighter, more ethereal looks, or darker, moodier aesthetics.

The most popular glitter polishes out there right now are Deborah Lippman’s Glitter Polish and the Sephora by OPI Jewelry Top Coats, but for girls on a budget, I recommend hitting your local drugstore for Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear, NYC or Wet N’ Wild polishes.

Also, make sure to use a good top coat to seal your polish once you’re done!

1. A Stripe of Glitter

Glitter stripe nails
Glitter stripe nails via …love Maegan: 1, 2

Just by painting single stripe over one side of your nail (I find that chunky glitter polishes give a better effect), you can create an interesting, yet sophisticated design without overloading on the glitter. Personally, I use the Sephora by OPI glitter polishes for this, as they combine both chunky and fine glitters into one bottle.

2. Glitter-Tipped Nails

Glitter tip nails

This look is super easy and really impressive once you’re done! You can either layer on a base coat of polish before using the glitter, or do the gradient effect with bare nails – it’s up to you.

Above, I did a gradient effect on top of a nude polish. To do this, apply your base color first and let dry. Then, take your glitter polish and apply a thin layer to the tip of your nail, starting your brush about halfway up the nail. Then add more layers of glitter, each time starting your brush closer to the tip of your nail. If your glitter polish is not dense enough to build up, you can always apply in a thin layer of sheer polish in between layers to get the effect you want (as I did in the photo above).

3. Glitter French Manicure

Glitter french manicure
For this, I find that finer glitter works the best, such as Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Rockstar Pink or Strobe Light (as seen in the photo).

This design is essentially a french manicure, but it uses glitter for the tips instead. The beauty of this is that you can usually skip a base color or use any color of your choice, plus you don’t need to worry much about making mistakes as the base of the glitter polish is transparent. I’d recommend using finer glitter for this, or if you choose to put on a layer of chunky glitter, I find that dotting on some polish and dragging it along the tip works quite well.

4. Glitter Fade Nails

Glitter gradient nails
For this design, I used Sephora by OPI’s Traffic Stopper Copper, but any sort of glitter polish that has a mix of chunky and fine glitter would do.

This is glitter tip nails in reverse – instead of fading the glitter from the tip down, you fade from the bottom up.

For this design, I don’t worry as much about the ‘fading’ and, instead, I concentrate more on applying the right amount of glitter. (Less is more here!) To do this, I suggest simply applying the glitter in a half moon shape at the base of your nail. You will get the visual gradient effect so long as you don’t use a super thick glitter.

Extra Tip: How to Easily Remove Glitter Polish:

If you are turned off by glitter polish because it can be hard to remove, follow these steps to get the glitter off in less than five minutes:

  1. Soak a small cotton ball in your nail polish remover. (You will need one soaked cotton ball per nail.)
  2. Place the soaked cotton ball over your nail, making sure it covers the glitter.
  3. Wrap a piece of aluminum foil over each finger tip and wait for at least three minutes.
  4. Unwrap the foil and slide the cotton off. The glitter, along with your base polish, will come right off.

Your thoughts?

I hope these easy ideas got you inspired to try out glitter polish as nail art! Overall, the same concept applies to all these designs and paves the way for you to experiment with other glitter designs, such as layering chunky glitter over fine and/or experimenting with different colors and shapes.

Now I want to hear from you – what are your favorite glitter polishes? How do you use glitter in your nail art? Which of these looks is your favorite? Let me know in the comments section below!

Posted on on January 18, 2013 / Filed Under: Beauty & Hair / Tags: , , , , , , ,

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7 Responses to “4 Easy Ways to Use Glitter Nail Polishes for Nail Art”

  1. 1
    January 19th, 2013 at 4:19 am

    All these ideas are so gorgeous, I can’t wait to experiment with a few!

  2. 2
    January 19th, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Love the glitter-tipped nails – so pretty! – and the glitter stripe is so chic and manages to come off both edgy and girly! Definitely will be trying ;)

  3. 3
    January 19th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks for the idea, I just tried this with fuschia and glitter dark grey, looks cute :)

  4. 4
    January 19th, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I really love this site a lot (Thank my research skills in beauty<3)
    Anyways, I was wondering if you can create a post about looking for Asian foundations because I'm having soo much trouble with that! Maybe you have a Asian friend?? Hehe

    Ps I'm Viet, I've heard about the yellow undertone things but I'm not so sure :D thank you

  5. 5
    January 20th, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I love having glittery nails sometimes, though it is usually a nightmare getting off because I don’t have the patience to let them soak. I’ve done a gradient effect before, with a navy blue fading into a pale shiny polish, with a chunky glitter all over and then finer glitter on the paler end. At the minute, my nails are a sort of taupe with this wonderful chunky glitter varnish I found in Claire’s (of all places!) which has bronzes and neutral purple and khaki tones – hard to describe, but it goes on really randomly and adds sparkle in quite an unexpected way, especially when the colours are close to the main one.
    In the post, I’d say the glitter tipped ones are my favourite – sparkly, but very classy.

  6. 6
    January 26th, 2013 at 3:49 am

    I’ve been wearing glitter polish for years, like I am right now. The trick for me is that regular nail polish resides at nail tip so wearing glitter no matter which design you wear works well for me especially on natural nails because they don’t reside or chip and it last until you take it off !

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