Finding the perfect nail color can be challenging. Any store you try will have hundreds of nail polish colors to choose from. The struggle is how to narrow down the industry’s vast selection to find a product perfectly suited for you. Since your choice in polishes and glosses is nearly unlimited, it’s best to use personal characteristics like skin tone to help guide your selection. You can also hone your nail polish wishes by paying attention to nail finishes. Nail finishes used to be a simple choice between muted matte or glossy shimmer, but the nail industry has been stepping up their texture game in the 2010s to include new patterns and variations on old favorites. Here are the key finishes to watch for as you shop this spring.
Classic creme is the meat and potatoes of nail finishes. Anyone who wears nail polish has tried this standard product once or twice. Creme finishes give you a vivid shade and shiny, reflective covering that glistens in the sunlight without too much shimmer. For the best coat, make sure all your brush strokes go in the same direction, preferably from the base of your nail to its tip. Use cremes as a quick and casual finish in your everyday routine and to give your nails a break if you’ve been wearing glitter or nail art for a few weeks.
Chrome finishes are popular this year and can add a unique mixture of muted shimmer to your sophisticated nail polish palette. Wear it out on the town on a wild Friday night. The toughest thing about metallic nail finishes is applying them. If you don’t use gentle brush strokes and an even amount of polish, the individual grooves from each brush bristle will dry into the look. It would be wise to brush up on your nail painting skills with a more forgiving finish before you brave the world of chrome.
Everyone has a strong opinion about glitter. Some people can’t get enough, while others try to avoid even the smallest particles. If you want a polarizing but festive nail finish, this is the product for you. These pieces of sparkly material can be injected into any nail product, but typical glitter finishes are suspended in a clear base for maximum effect. There are plenty of glitter shapes you can choose from, ranging from square pieces to multi-colored discs. The only problem with this shimmering style is how difficult it is to remove.
Some nail polishes already contain this non-shiny finish. It’s similar to the creme finish without a reflective shine. Matte nail finishes are great if you prefer a simple, everyday look without any extra glamor or finesse. The subtle finish also evokes this year’s 70s chic vibe if that’s your kind of thing. Many of these finishes are thin, so you may need to apply multiple coats to get a good color. It’s worth it for the bold, gentle shade.
The multi-colored flecks that make up flakie nail finishes recall the chaos of glitter particles without the hassle. Flakie finishes have a shiny, marble-like quality. The style’s make-up of deep colors filled with light-shaded pieces makes it a unique look for semi-casual outings. If you’re a DIY fanatic, dump some leftover glitter into a bottle of dark-colored polish to craft your own homemade flakie finish. It won’t look as neat and tidy as store-bought finish, but who scrutinizes nails at a club?
Rihanna is scheduled to debut a holographic lipstick later this fall, so this finish must be trendy. It’s time to try some on your nails and see. Holographic nail finishes split up light into hundreds of fractured little rainbows that follow your brush strokes. Its glitter-like properties make it a convincing alternative if you can’t stand thousands of sparkly particles. Since holographic finishes are a 2017 fad, try this playful look at the office. It’s refined enough not to drawn unwanted attention.
When you take holographic nails and go one step farther, you get duochrome nail finishes. These are the newest nail finishes on the market and quality mixtures are hard to find. Unless you have a virtual makeup tool to show you how each product changes color, it’s best to test out each product before you make a purchase. Both holographic and duochrome finishes also come as separate glosses you can use them to glaze a more conventional creme nail polish. If you want to spice up your favorite nail color, a good duochrome finish will do the trick.
There aren’t many textured nail finishes yet, but the few that exist are worth checking out. Textures can add extra sparkle and character to your nails. If you apply a layer of shimmer finish over a textured nail product, you’ll get a two-in-one look unlike anything else out there. A gritty layer of textured finish also means you don’t need a top coat. The thick first layer will maintain its color and keep your nails protected.
The transparent white surface of a jelly nail splits light into multiple rainbows like a holographic finish. Jelly nail finishes simply fracture the light more aggessively, creating pastel tapestries that look like kindergarten finger-painting projects. Jelly finishes are probably the most artistic nail finishes you’ll find. A famous technique to try with this finish is the Jelly Sandwich. It’s a layer of glitter sandwiched between two layers of jelly finish for the ultimate sparkling nail look.
If creme is too dull for you, give your nails a nice shimmer finish. This nail product will make your nails glisten in the sun without any metallic brush groves or dancing glittery colors. Shimmer is the classic glow, a finish worn by greats like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. It’s entertaining at parties while remaining subtle enough for dinner parties and anniversaries.
This riff on the metallic finish looks just like its name. A foil finish blends textured surfaces with the artificial, futuristic gleam of metal. It looks like it came right out of Xanadu or a comedic space movie. Foil nail finishes are a little too modern for dinner parties, but they’ll fit right in at a bar or club. Try a simple blue or purple for your Friday night out.
Shimmering matte might sound like a contradiction, but suede finishes do it perfectly. This blend creates a playful gleam that feels calm and simple. It’s like glitter for the office. Suede has a very avant-garde aura about it. The finish is something you’d imagine people wearing at an art show. If you saunter through the street with that kind of flair, this is the finish for you.
Take this list with you the next time you’re out browsing new nail looks. These simple guidelines will steer your nails in the right direction. If you feel especially fashionable, give all 12 a try!
— Scarlett Price