Nail Art 101: Week Two - Know Your Finishes

Happy Tuesday guys and gals. Today's second post in the Nail Art 101 series is not specifically about nail art but's it's an important part of creating nail art and I wanted to include it for that reason. If you are new to nail art and nail polish understanding what a "finish" is and being able to recognize it will be invaluable to you. There are waaay more polish finishes than you imagine!

 Today's post will focus on the 10 most popular polish finishes; the ones you will encounter the most in your nail polish adventures!

  • Cream - The most popular nail polish finish - and the original nail polish finish. Cream was the only nail polish finish available for decades. A cream finish is characterized as a simple plain color with no additions and dries to a glossy finish.



  • Metallic - Metallics can be best be described as resembling metal. No obviously glitter or other additions with a distinctive "sheen".



  • Glitter - Glitter is the original bling bling polish finish. Glitter has evolved and become more sophisticated over the years but it's basic description is just that: Glitter. Usually in a clear or tinted base. Glitter can be fine, chunky, holographic, flakie, matte, multi-colored or even have shapes in it. The possibilities are endless which is why this continues to be a popular finish.



  • Matte - One of my personal favorites, matte polish is a finish devoid of shine. It can be a matte cream or even a matte metallic. You can purchase matte polish specifically as a matte or you can matte whatever color you own that you'd like with a matte top coat. Because you can't use a traditional top coat with matte polish, the wear time can be short. Some of my personal favorites are mattes metallics!



  • Holographic - this is probably the most popular nail polish finish at the moment. Holographic is just as it sounds. A fine finish that when in direct light gives off a "rainbow" effect. Holos can be dense and linear with a strong rainbow effect or "scattered" with a more subtle effect.  Holos come in pretty much every color you can think of.



  • Jelly - Another very popular finish at the moment is the jelly. Jellies are generally sheer polishes with a hint of color that are not opaque. You may "build up" a jelly to create the desired opacity on the nail but they are mostly used to create nail art such as "jelly sandwiches (when you layer a glitter polishes between layers of a jelly polish). These are very useful for nail art and also can be layered over other polishes to change their appearance. They are also called "Jelly" because of their thicker than normal consistency. *There is also a finish called a "crelly" that is the sister of the jelly. A crelly is a hybrid of a cream and jelly polish.



  • Flakie - This is a finish that has recent surged in popularity so I wanted to include it in the main list. Flakies are bits or "shards" of color-shifting glitter flecks. Flakies are usually in jelly bases some clear and some colored. 



  • Duochrome - Duochromes are also known as color-shifters. They can flash blue, red, orange, purple you name it, depending on the lighting or the base color. Some duochromes are merely top coats and meant to be worn over a color like black. Others are fully opaque on their own. I have posted two photos showing a top-coat duochrome as well as a fully opaque duochrome.





  • Textured - Textured polish has been huge the last few years or so. Everyone from OPI to China Glaze to Zoya have released multiple collections featuring textured polish. Textured polish is just what it sounds like. It dries down to gritty finish and can be a cream, a metallic or a glitter. 



  • Satin - Satin is a newer finish that is quickly growing in popularity. It is a cross between a cream and a matte. The best way to describe it is to think of semi-gloss paint. How it dries down to soft and subtle sheen. That is what a satin polish looks like. 



There are tons of "hybrid" finishes as well: polishes that are one, two or even three finishes put together. Knowing the basics will help you find what you're looking for more easily as well as aid in helping you create unique and fun nail art designs! After all - the polish is your canvas!

Stay tuned for next week's third post in the Nail Art 101 series.