Here's How You SHOULD Be Applying Glitter Nail Polish

There's almost no point applying it straight from the bottle with the brush.
Publish date:
February 25, 2016
China Glaze, nail polish, tutorial, glitter nail polish

I am kind of a podcast fanatic. I will go for a walk every day in order to keep up with my favourite shows. Long wait for the bus? Lore. Lunch on my own? Serial. I took my first transatlantic flight recently, and rather than watching the inflight entertainment, I caught up on My Brother, My Brother and Me.

One of my happy places is a quiet evening in, podcast playing, and my nail art stash on the table in front of me.

If you feel tired or stressed or just a bit wrung out after work, I highly recommend this as an activity. And, if you've got a few episodes to catch up on, why not try this glitter placement manicure? I promise that it will distract you for an hour and delight you for days afterwards.

Glitter nail polish, especially the ones with chunky or unusually shaped glitter, can be really tricky to apply well. Honestly, there's almost no point applying it straight from the bottle with the brush. You’ll get a thick, lumpy manicure that won't last, and most likely, the glitter won't be well distributed.

The way to get the most out of your glitter is to place each piece individually, which sounds crazy but is totally simple to do.

I used the following for this manicure:

  • For the base colour: China Glaze in Meet Me Under the Stars. This has small black and very fine silver glitter suspended in a blue-black sheer base. Two coats will give you full opacity and loads of sparkle.
  • For the glitter placement: China Glaze in Coal Hands, Warm Heart. This polish was part of their 2015 Christmas Collection and is my current favourite glitter. It has tiny blue, slightly larger blue, and large smoky silver glitters with a rainbow flare, all suspended in a sheer black base.
  • You’ll also need a surface on which you can pour out some polish, and a toothpick or an orange stick for picking up the glitter pieces.

Prep your nails and paint your base colour. I love the look of glitter on glitter, but you can use a crème or any other finish you like. If your glitter is suspended in a coloured formula, like mine, make sure there's some similarity between that and your base colour; otherwise, the whole thing might look a bit messy.

Next, decant some of your glitter polish onto your surface. Grab your toothpick or orange stick and start spreading the polish out a little so you can see the individual pieces of glitter. Then pick up a piece with the end of the stick, and apply it to your nail.

I decided to apply my glitter pieces in a kind of gradient. I focused most of the pieces on the base of my nail, adding fewer as I approached the tip. I didn't put any on the tips of my nails. Placing the glitter this way makes the look more intentional. If you get the hang of it, you can start to apply the glitter in patterns or lines, but that takes a lot of patience.

At this stage, some of my glitters looked a bit dull. The polish can build up around and on top of them and steal their shine. Don't despair! Add a top coat and that will bring all the sparkle out. If you hate the feeling of rough or bumpy textures on your nails, use two layers of top coat and they will feel smooth.

This method of using glitter looks a bit laborious, but results are so much better than using the polish straight out of the bottle. Don't be too much of a perfectionist with your placement, just enjoy the process and hopefully you'll love the result.

Personally, whenever I wear this particular glitter, I find some good lighting and wiggle my fingers around just to enjoy the colours. While listening to the rest of my podcast, of course.

  • Do you have some special glitter polishes in your stash that you could use with this technique?
  • Do you want to hear about my favourite podcasts? Because I really want to share them with you guys.
  • What's your favourite podcast right now? I'm always open to recommendations!