Friday, January 13, 2012

Nail Polish Finishes

Should I post this or not? I admit I was hesitating a bit. There are many good posts on nail polish finishes, but I've been planning on doing this for a long time and since I already took the photos... why not post it as well. This is my view on polish finishes and I know it can get confusing for some. Hope this will help.

CHROME - The finish that makes your nails look like metal. Well, as close as it gets without wearing falsies or getting a Minx manicure. This finish is smooth and almost mirror like, but no, you won't be able to see yourself in it. Examples: Maybelline Mirror Image, Stargazer Chrome, China Glaze Khrome Collection. 
On photo: China Glaze Millenium.

CRACKLE - Crackling polishes are basically layering polishes, since they won't work on their own. Once they're layered over another glossy polish, they crack and create different patterns. Examples: Depend Cracked Effect, China Glaze Crackle Glaze, OPI Shatter.
On photo: Depend 5011 over black.

CREME - I'd say this is one of the two most popular finishes. It gives you a solid, glossy color without shimmer, glitter or any other additions.
On photo: China Glaze Grape Pop.

DUOCHROME - Polishes with duochrome finish shift between two or more colors, depending on the angle of looking at it. Examples: Chanel Peridot, Gosh Purple Heart, Essence Where is the Party, Hits Mari Moon Collection.
On photo: Stargazer 307.

FLAKIE - Flakies, flaky polishes... as the name says, these polishes contain flakes. Flakies are usually bigger than shimmer and are of irregular size and shape. They're often combined with other finishes - duochrome flakies, flakies in creme/jelly base. Examples: Nfu Oh Opal Series, Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure, Nubar 2010, Zoya Flecked Effect.
On photo: Nfu Oh 51.

FOIL -Foil polishes contain small, dense metallic particles. It gives you a metallic look, similar to chrome finish, but not as smooth. Examples: Orly FX Foil, Color Club Foiled Collection.
On photo: Gosh Silver.

FROST - Frost finish could also be described as pearl finish. It contains really small shimmer that appears as frost. Frosty polishes are usually the ones that have visible brush strokes. Examples: China Glaze Frostbite, Essence Where is the Party, Essence Barefoot Through the Moss.
On photo: Constance Carroll Apricot Sun.

GLITTER - The family of glitter finish has a lot of members. Glitter comes in different sizes and shapes (round, square, hexagonal, bar...) and it can be combined with different bases (creme, jelly, clear). Examples: China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Kleancolor Chunky Holo Black, Wet n Wild Black Magic.
On photo: China Glaze Emerald Sparkle.

HOLOGRAPHIC - Some people often confuse holographic with duochrome (ahem, Essence people). The best way to recognize a holographic polish is to look at it when the sun hits it - you'll see a rainbow of colors. Examples: China Glaze OMG Collection, Hits No Olimpo Collection, OPI DS Glamour.
On photo: China Glaze DV8.

JELLY - Jelly polishes are basically cremes with clear base, which makes them look watery. These aren't as opaque as cremes and look somewhat transparent. Some describe the look of jelly polishes as 'squishy'. Examples: Essence Cool and the Gang, Rimmel Sunshine, BPAL Mme. Moriarty, Nars Zulu.
On photo: Priti NYC Dark Warrior Orchid.

MATTE - Polishes with matte finish don't give any shine whatsoever to the nail once they dry. Examples: ManGlaze Matte Nail Polish, OPI Matte Collection, Zoya Matte Velvet Line.
On photo: ManGlaze Matte is Murder.

NEON - Neon finish is a color finish that usually dries to a semi-matte/satin finish. Examples: China Glaze Poolside Collection, Color Club Electro Candy Collection.
On photo: China Glaze Pool Party.

SATIN - Semi-matte or satin finish has some shine, but isn't glossy. It's also called plastic finish. Examples: Orly Plastix, LA Girl Matte Line, Claire's Green Matte.
On photo: Illamasqua Scorn.

SHIMMER - The most popular nail polish finish along with creme. Shimmer is smaller than glitter and bigger than frost.
On photo: Catrice It Blue My Mind.


Sometimes it's impossible to define a polish just by one category. Like with these:
#1 - China Glaze Nova: holographic glitter
#2 - Essence Make it Golden: glitter + shimmer
#3 - Kleancolor Chunky Holo Black: duochrome glitter in jelly base
#4 - Kleancolor Moondance: bar and hexagonal holographic glitter in shimmer-y base
#5 - 17 Nail Xtras Crackle: square glitter in black base, matte, crackle

I know there are probably more finishes, these are just the ones I could find in my collection. There are also categories I didn't add (sheer, nude/mannequin/MNBB), because I think it's more a matter of opacity/color than finish itself.

Did I leave anything out?

Thanks for looking and commenting!

83 comments:

  1. I love this, the explanation and pics end with any doubt that anyone (ahem ME) could have about nail polish finishes.

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  2. This is a great post, thanks!

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  3. This is really awesome post! :)

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  4. Wow, this is such a comprehensive chart. Thank you so much for doing this, I love all the explanations.

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  5. Oh, you did good, honey! This will be my new referral post when I need to clarify stuff to people. ;)

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    1. Oh, honey!!! :* Hee hee, I hope you'll have no problems with the explanations. ;D

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  6. There may be numerous posts defining nail polish finishes, but your pictures and descriptions are so clear and nice. This will be a very helpful reference! Thanks for all the work you put into it. =)

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  7. Great post!
    I love holos, and neon polishes :)

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    1. Thanks! Well, who doesn't love holos? They're amazing!

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  8. Thank you for this article!!
    Very useful!!

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  9. Very cool post!
    I usually don't pay too much attention to the different finishes - I mean, apart from the obvious crackle and glitter and such.

    It's the colour I am most drawn to, and if I had to choose a finish it would still be Cream I think...

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    1. Thank you, Godfrina! Cream used to be my favorite finish as well, but now I'm more open to other finishes as well.

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  10. The most difficult thing for me is distinguishing between shimmer and frost in the bottle. I buy some polish and I think it's shimmery and then it turns out it's pearly.
    Thank you for the post, very useful indeed!

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    1. I hear you. Frost/pearl finish is the one I dislike the most. It makes my hands look old and I don't like the way it looks by itself either. Thanks!

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  11. GREAT post! Also, please can I have your nails.

    Ellie

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Hee hee... should I just post them to you? ;D

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  12. Awesome post! The finishes are nicely explained :)

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  13. wonderful post! I'm always in doubt with certain finishes. thanks a lot!!

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  14. WOW!! Not only is this truly impressive (and a heck of a lot of work!) but really explains the various finishes in excellent detail! Love the photos!!

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  15. Great post. Thanks so much for doing this. Love reading all your posts. xx

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  16. Love this guide, you did a really great job! The idea of taking pictures of just one nail and putting it in a circle is so creative and funny :D

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  17. Love it. Useful info all in one place for future reference. Starred it, thanks!

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you find it useful. =)

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  18. Super post! Sem ga tudi sama imela v mislih, mogoče, enkrat. :) Je pa res, da dobrih postov ni nikoli dovolj! :)

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  19. Really great post! Thanks so much for this, your descriptions are perfect! :)

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  20. This post is really good. Your descriptions are clear and precise and you include pics of each in case anybody doesnt know what the finish looks like. It's very helpful. Thanks :-)

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  21. Tale post je pa ravno tista stvar, ki jo trenutno potrebujem. Vedno mešam chrome in foil finiš, pa vedno sem mislila da pearly in frosty finiš nista eno in ista stvar
    Hvala za razjasnitev pojmov

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    1. No, to je spet stvar posameznika, kako gleda na stvar. Zame je frost/pearl isto, za druge pa so pearly samo tisti laki, ki so v belkastih barvah (kot biseri). ;)

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  22. Fabulous and comprehensive post! Love it!

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  23. Super post! Sem z veseljem prebrala, kar si napisala.

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  24. Super post! Zelo uporaben! Mi bo marsikdaj lažje pri razločevanju finišev=) Hvala;)

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  25. I guess that basically nails the matter! Also, it's about my view of finishes out there at the time, great post.

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  26. This is an awesome post! It's very helpful to someone who might get confused about the differences between finishes. It looks like you put a lot of time and effort into it. You did a great job!

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  27. I agree with the others - this is a cool and very informative post. My favourite finish is glitter, glitter, glitter!! :)

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  28. Great post, really helpful too!

    I just don't always know how to describe a finish...

    Thank you!

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  29. Excellent post. I really love posts like these because even I sometimes cannot accurately describe what I am seeing.

    Can I ask, how do you get the photos to be circles? I haven't figured that out yet and love circle swatches!

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    1. I use PhotoScape for the circle photos. I think I already posted about this topic...

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  30. Kakšen dober in uporaben post! Vse pohvale! :)

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  31. Wonderful explanation of all the finishes! Thank you so much for explaining them all.

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  32. This post is wonderful! It's up to date and informative; I'm glad you chose to post it. :) Thank you!

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  33. This is a wonderful guide, especially to those just learning all of the differences between the many types of polish finishes! I remember when I was like, "Does creme just mean a creamy color?" And, "WHAT ARE THESE MAGICAL RAINBOW FLAKES CALLED?!" (Yeah, it wasn't too long ago either...) XD

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  34. This is a great post, I'm glad you decided to post it! I will bookmark it for future reference. You descriptions and swatches are really good and clear! :D

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  35. Great post, I'm gonna bookmark it :) Also really nice that you added examples of polishes that are in that category!

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  36. This post is very nice! I ♥ him =).

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  37. I've been thinkin' about doing something similar, too but felt there were already many nice posts around. Anyway yours is excellent, I love both single round pics and short/clear explanations with polish examples!!

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  38. Yes, this is totally helpful! I find myself explaining my cool nail polishes to friends and then wondering if I called a holo a duochrome or what.. Any more jellies you'd recommend? I love me some jellies!

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    1. Oh, you asked the wrong person. I dislike jellies with all my heart... You're gonna have to ask someone else for the jelly recommendations. =)

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  39. Thank you so much for this post! I always talk about nail polish but sometimes it's a little bit hard to describe them and end up getting them wrong. So this one will help me a lot next time :).

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  40. Well that´s a really helpful post, thank you so much! I always get confused with finishes (Is it Glitter, Shimmer or Frost?^^) but I can use your great guide now :) Thank you very much!

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  41. Guau what an amazing post, I´m delightful. Thanks a lot, it took a lot of work. I love that you put examples of each finish too
    I got a question for you: frost finish is the same as glass fleck?
    I´m from Argentina South America, I hope there was a way to traslate this wonderful post to spanish

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    1. Thanks, Julie!

      Frost finish is really (REALLY) small shimmer and when you look at glass fleck polish, you can see the shape of it. That's why I'd say that glass fleck polishes go into the flakie category.

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  42. Thank you so much for this post! I'm glad you decided to share it...
    When I started blogging, I struggled to categorize polishes. This would have been so useful to have. Still useful even now! :)

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  43. Thank you for explanation. Life will be a bit easier now about finish definition :)

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  44. I want to do something like this in spanish, I´m from Argentina, and I think here women now less of nail polish than in Europe or USA but the photos I take where horrible, I don´t now how do you came with such of close up photos, they are so beautiful and clear. Please tell how do you do or perhaps there´s any posibilities that I use your photos, of course with watermark of your blog, name the source (you) and put a link to your blog, but with the text in spanish?

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    1. I put a lot of time and effort in these photos and I woldn't like to see someone use it for their post - the same just translated or re-writed. I'm not really comfortable with this. There's always Google Translate, if someone wants to read my post and doesn't understand English. Hope you understand that.

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  45. Wonderful! Thank you very much! Made a bookmark to show it to a friend!

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  46. je découvre ton blog et je l'adore

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  47. And what about the metallic finish? Is it the same as chrome finish? If not, could you compare both side by side? Thanks!

    Valerie

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  48. Where did you buy the poolside collection?

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  49. Hello!
    You forgot "magnetics" imho.
    Thanks for this very informative article.

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  50. Wow !! a great post. I was planning to do a post on finishes but I wnated to see myself how many are already available. Loved your post the most. I'd definitely provide a link back to this post.
    <3
    Jiya

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  51. Thank you this was very helpful!! :)

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