The Easiest Glitter Nail Polish Removal Trick Ever

My glitter nail polish life has been changed.

Feb 14, 2013 at 11:30am | Leave a comment

Valentine's manicures are popping up all over my Instagram feed and they are super pretty. A lot of them are very glittery, which has been known to make me all but swoon in happiness. But what if you just can't wear glitter polish for a variety of reasons (I see you, conservative workplaces)? Or what if those other glitter removal methods are just too fiddly or time-consuming for you to really get on the glitter train?

Don't worry. I learned about this trick a while ago and have used it several times now so it's like I've thoroughly tested it.

Do you remember the peel-off nail polish made for kids? I spent a little time obsessed with it, not because it was so great in general but because it was so super satisfying to peeeeeeeeeel off the nail polish, finger by finger. Those manicures never lasted very long. But maybe that's where some creative types got the idea to make a peel-off base coat -- and where some even more creative types got the idea to make their own version of the hard-to-find peel-off base coat at home.

Seriously, I love nail bloggers.

Here's what you're going to need:

  • White school glue (PVA glue)
  • An empty nail polish bottle
  • Water

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Plain old white school glue glue is the magic ingredient.

Did you ever smear white school glue (Elmer's was my particular favorite because of the way it smelled) on the palm of your hand and then peel it off like it was a layer of skin? This is not that. Not quite. But if you choose to do that, hey, I am not going to judge you.

Take your empty nail polish bottle and make sure it is clean. I swirl nail polish remover around in mine and then wash it in very hot water. Fill the bottle about a third of the way with white school glue. 

The next part is really about what texture you prefer; you're going to add water to thin the glue and make it easier to spread on your nail.

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Water + white glue = peel-off glitter base coat

You can add more glue if the mix gets too thin. I was aiming for the consistency of nail polish and, when it wound up a little thin, I dumped out a bit to make room and added more glue.

The glue and water mix should not need anything more than you shaking it to blend it. But in case you are a worrywart like me, you can add a couple of ball bearings to the bottle to help with mixing. Get these from an old bottle of nail polish, your cousin with a BB gun, or your husband who has a mysteriously giant stash of them because he thought you would like them.

He wasn't wrong.

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One of my favorite glitters -- it takes forever to remove. But not anymore.

You'll apply the glue and water base coat just like you would a regular base coat. It might be a little streaky -- if that's the case, you may need to add a little more glue to your mix. It is important to let this base coat dry thoroughly. It doesn't take long because the glue has been thinned, but you still need to give it five minutes or so.

Once the base coat is dry, apply glitter polish and top coat as usual! You won't be able to tell a difference just by looking at your nails.

But when the time comes to remove your polish? Oh, yeah, that's where the big difference kicks in.

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There was no way to take a non-creepy photo of peeled-off glitter nail polish.

Most instructions say to loosen the edge of the polish with an orange stick. But I'm fiddly and fidgety and can never leave my nails well enough alone. Which is why I was able to just pop off the entire application of glitter polish by applying a little bit of pressure to my nails. Pop! It was surprisingly satisfying.

A word of caution: This is not a heavy-duty mani that will last you through the week. But if you want glitter nails tonight and you need natural nails for work in the morning, this might be exactly the method for you. The top coat seals things so you can wash your hands, but be sure to wrap your tips and be gentle when you are drying your hands.

Glitter on, my friends. Glitter on.