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Nail Polish 101: Our Top 5 Favorite Glitter Topcoats


The holidays are my favorite time of year, and not just because my birthday falls right smack-dab in the middle. (It’s this Monday, in case you’re wondering.)

As such, I tend to get jazzier with my nails around this time – and what more perfect way to get festive than with glitter polish? It’s fun, flashy and adds a great sparkle to any outfit.

Without further ado, here are our top five favorite glitter topcoats to help add some sparkle to your look:

1. China Glaze Snowglobe

China Glaze
$5.70 at Amazon

These multi-colored glitter specks look like – you guessed it – the inside of a snowglobe. The glitter isn’t super-densely packed so your base color will definitely show through. What I like most about this is that it’s totally unique; there isn’t any other color like this on the market.

Wear it over: a black like Wet ‘n’ Wild Black Creme (swatch from Neverland Nail Blog)

2. Sephora by OPI Only Gold For Me

Sephora by OPI
$9.50 at Sephora

This clear topcoat features both hexagonal and micro gold glitter. I’m obsessed with this color and I still haven’t found a shade this looks bad over – green, blue, black, red – you name it, this will just complement it.My roommate Lizzie jokes that this looks like outer space when applied over dark polishes.

If you’re not into the $9.50 pricetag, a more sensible option is Milani Jewel FX in Gold.

Wear it over: a pastel like OPI’s Do You Lilac It? a la Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere

3. Essie Set in Stone

$8.00 at Zappos

Essie’s Set in Stone is a more densely-packed silver version of Sephora by OPI’s Only Gold For Me. I not only love this shade, but I love Essie’s brushes – they are definitely some of the best when you’re applying a tricky glitter topcoat.

Wear it over: a teal like OPI Ski Teal We Drop (swatch from Scrangie)

4. Milani Gems

$4.49 at

Think of this as a cheaper alternative to OPI’s Rainbow Collection and a much less expensive version of Deborah Lippmann’s Happy Birthday. The glitter in this polish is so diverse – I’m talking fuchsia, silver, gold, sky blue, orange, electric blue and green.

At $5 compared to $8 or $20 for OPI and Deborah Lippmann, respectively, this is definitely a wallet-friendly dupe that needs to be in your collection.

Wear it over: Any color – it matches everything, so go wild! (swatch from Goose’s Glitter)

5. Essie Shine of the Times

$8.00 at Nordstrom

When a friend saw me wearing this a few weeks ago, she told me I had to write about it for CF. In the bottle, this looks like an unassuming flake polish, but on your nails it completely transforms. I swear, pictures don’t do this color justice – depending on the light, it switches from gold to green to red.

Some hard-to-find similar colors are Nubar 2010 and Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure. If you want a unique take on holiday glitter, pick this up ASAP.

Essie Shine of the Times 3
Wear it over: a dark, vampy color like OPI Black Cherry Chutney (swatch via The PolishAholic)

What do you guys think of glitter top coats?

Do you wear glitter nail topcoats? What’s your favorite shade? What do you like to wear it with? Leave a comment and let us know.

PS: Have trouble removing glitter polish? Check out tip #4 in my Nail Hacks post for easy removal tips.

Posted on on December 9, 2011 / Filed Under: Beauty & Hair / Tags: , , , ,

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33 Responses to “Nail Polish 101: Our Top 5 Favorite Glitter Topcoats”

  1. 1
    December 9th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    This is so awsome! I’m going to go buy as many as I can find now….. :)

  2. 2
    December 9th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    I think I need all of those!!!!!

  3. 3
    December 9th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    When I was 10 I sort of thought that someday I would mature and outgrow my love for anything coated in glitter… Now I’m 24 and that is not the case!

    I do have a question for anyone out there who may have some advice: when i use glittery nail polish, it tends to chip off in sheets (and it usually starts happening within about 2 days). Any tips on preventing this?

  4. 4
    December 9th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I died months ago when I found out about Essie’s Luxeffects :D Glad to see it’s been getting good reviews. I love CF nail polish posts!

  5. 5
    December 9th, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Oh my, Essie Shine of the Times is so pretty! That goes onto my Christmas wishlist! :D

  6. 6
    December 9th, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I was just thinking about finding a new glitter topcoat! I currently use NYC New York Color’s “Starry Silver Glitter,” which has a clear base with micro silver glitter and larger hexagonal light pink and bright blue glitter, but it doesn’t go with everything–I’m definitely planning on checking out China Glaze Snowglobe and Milani Gems. Please do more of these nail posts!

  7. 7
    December 9th, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I’m completely in love with this Essie Chinchilly + a gold glitter topcoat from Orly (I can’t find the name!). The slate gray topped with an ombre effect of glitter is SO gorgeously sophisticated for the holidays, I can’t stop staring at it!

  8. 8
    December 9th, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I must buy Shine Of The Times *_*
    I found the mention of Only Gold For Me looking like outer space funny because I have New York Color’s Starry Silver Glitter that I use when I do a galaxy manicure :]

  9. 9
    December 10th, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Ooh, absolutely love the OPI Only Gold For Me! :) I need to pick up a festive glitter topcoat for the holidays!

  10. 10
    December 10th, 2011 at 12:56 am

    SO FUNNY! I just did a post on my blog this week about glitter polishes! And I’ve got to say I LOVE that Essie Set in Stones… Nice post! Feel free to check out mine, too ;D

  11. 11
    December 10th, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Love that Essie set in stone one – the dense glitter makes it look so good!

    xx T

  12. 12
    December 10th, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Ive got another one thats definately x-masy its a its like a shiny red and read sparkles it looks beautiful and special.
    Ive also got a black one thats like the Gold for Me but its Black what can i wear under it nothing looks good :(

  13. 13
    December 10th, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Great post! Thank you for sharing my swatch of CG Snow Globe, it’s a GREAT glitter, one of my absolute favorites right now =]! I’m also a HUGE fan of Shine of the Times =]!

  14. 14
    December 10th, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Looks cool.
    All I can think of is in princess diary when Mia’s grandmother looks at her sparkling nails and tells her to wash it of immediatly.
    But really, I loved the Shine one.

  15. 15
    December 10th, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Glitter is great and so right for the holiday season! I love this post!
    I have a glitter French mani tutorial out on my blogg that you guys also might like!

    love K

  16. 16
    December 10th, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Wow, crazy, I’m wearing shine of the times right now. A friend of mine just did them for me–she also has set in stone, which she’s wearing right now. They’re both amazing, but I’m partial to the former, which is absolutely gorgeous on. Sometimes it looks orange/red, sometimes it looks green, sometimes yellow. It does not look like the bottle at all. I’m wearing it over forest green. She has set in stone over a light blue, and her nails look like a wintery wonderland.

  17. 17
    December 10th, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I LOVE these! But what about making your own too if you don’t have the cash to go get some? I followed a diy and just added glitter to clear nailpolish and the results are amazing! Came out opaque.

    Those are all at a great price though. And I can’t say I would be able to recreate that Essie one.

  18. 18
    December 10th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I’m wearing OPI’s Only Gold for Me right now on my toes! I painted them beige (OPI’s I Need Space) and layered the glittery coat on top. The $9.50 is totally worth it!

  19. 19
    December 10th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Only Gold for Me is on my X-mas list, but I definitely need to pick up Shine of the Times, Set in Stone, and Snowglobe!

    Thanks so much for featuring these!

  20. 20
    December 10th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Omg that last nail polish is beautiful, I need to go find it

  21. 21
    December 11th, 2011 at 12:22 am

    I love glitter nail polishes, they make me so happy! One of my favorite shades is Pure Ice “Spit Fire”. It’s light pink and it’s sooo gorgeous! Only like $2 at walmart too!

  22. 22
    December 11th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    totally love them!! especially the first three!! :)

  23. 23
    December 11th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I own Snowglobe and Gems, and I’m keeping my eye out obsessively for the new Essie glitters next time I hit Target. They’re gorgeous…

  24. 24
    December 18th, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    great choices! I love glitters- I have 3 of the 5. I recently bought Snow Globe (wearing now over a lilac) and I have Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure and Deborah Lippman Happy Birthday. I really like that Sephora for OPI and the Essie silver glitter also.

  25. 25
    December 19th, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Sephora by OPI Only Gold For Me is truly a match made! I absolutely freaking LOVE this stuff. I don’t use it as a top coat though, I triple the coat for a full on sparkle. It is so gorgeous, every time I wear it, I get tons of compliments. I will be sure to buy a few more bottles before they take it off the shelf.

    It should be placed at number 1!

  26. 26
    December 25th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    My 2 favorite glitter top coats are from sinful colors it’s an explosion if glitter and 1.99$ and my 2nd favorite one is from dollar tree LA colors color craze huge oversized silver glitter

  27. 27
    May 17th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I really want that Shine of the Times!!

  28. 28
    September 8th, 2012 at 5:54 am

    I’ve been raving about Milani’s Jewel Fx since they came out. So far, it’s been my fav. glitter polish. I tend to like larger chucks of glitter. Most glitter polishes I come across are really tiny flecks. Milani mixes both large pieces of glitter w/ tiny ones so every bit of your nail is covered. I like Essie in general, but haven’t tried their glitter ones yet. That last pic is awesome….the colors remind me of Fall leaves. I hope I can find it locally.

  29. 29
    September 20th, 2012 at 6:26 am

    For $2, Elf’s Fairy Dust is another alternative to Essie’s Shine of the Times. It looks just like it when the light hits at a certain angle.

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