Glitter nail polish. It’s a thing. A sparkly shiny fabulous glamorous thing. I love it and I love wearing it -- but, oh man alive, I do not love taking it off.
Where regular nail polish is all, “Oh, what, it’s been three days? See you later, loser” and then chips, glitter nail polish sticks around. It’s in for the long haul. It’s like fucking cement.
Actually, I guess it would more properly be analogous to concrete, but cement is so much more fun to say. With all the emphasis on the first syllable so it comes out SEA-ment.
So, with that linguistic diversion out of the way, today I want to talk about how to take glitter nail polish the fuck off your fingernails. Also, I think I’m going to say fuck a lot in this one. It’s been that kind of day. And, you know, I’ve been putting on and taking off glitter nail polish in service of you delightful people.
The usual method is this: You soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and swipe at your fingernail. When the glitter nail polish doesn’t come off, you look at it in disbelief, perhaps with a disturbed little wrinkle in your forehead. You continue to swipe until you’ve shredded the cotton ball. You may or may not swear never to polish your nails again if, please, please, please, gods above and below, this glitter nail polish will Just Come Off.
This is not, you may not be surprised to read in an article about taking off glitter nail polish, the most efficient way of going about things. No, this is almost the worst possible way to go about things. (The actual worst would be chipping it off with your other nails, which is a surefire path to chipped, peeling, and thoroughly battered nails.) Let us explore three different trails through the woods, none of which will involve bears or wolves.
Method 1: Insert Finger
Jars of nail polish remover with foam inserts are certainly not new. I mean, I used this shit in the 80s, folks. You twist the lid off and then stick one finger down into the little hole in the foam.
Yes, this seems just as obscene at 34 as it did at 12. Especially because, when you’re taking glitter nail polish off, you need to leave your finger in there and wiggle it around a bit. Patience is going to be a big fucking deal in general here. Good things come to those who something something whatever.
The pros: You aren’t generating a pile of acetone-soaked cotton balls; the mess is all contained in the jar.
The cons: The nail polish remover develops a sedimentary layer of glitter at the bottom of the jar; it’s slow going, one finger at a time.
Method 2: Stick Your Finger In (Version 2)
If, unlike me, you have no interest in multiple formats for your nail polish remover, you can pour a little bit of your regular nail polish remover into the bottle cap and then dip your finger in. Make sure the nail polish remover covers your nail.
Sing a song. Or count to thirty. And, you know, do whatever you want to spend the next minute doing. It’s only a minute, right? Then, with a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover, remove the glitter nail polish with a firm wiping motion. Use a nice even pressure. If you’ve gotten the patience part of this right, the vast majority of the polish on your nail should come right off.
And if it doesn’t come off entirely, you can use the cotton ball to clean it up. At that stage, you should have an easy time of things.
Some people -- and I don’t know these people but I know they exist and I am sure they are lovely folks -- say to use a nail file to remove the glitter polish after you’ve soaked your nail. That seems like an emergency-only tactic to me. I mean, yeah, the polish will be removed. But so will a layer of your fingernail unless you are very careful. For the record, that’s a bad thing.
The pros: You can use the bottle of nail polish you have on hand;
The cons: There is no invitation to spillage like a cap full of nail polish remover; again, one finger at a time is sloooooooooow.
Method 3: Wrap It Up, Wrap It Up
So, I am going to tell you about the gold standard in glitter nail polish removal. I tell you this because I love you. I was hiding under your porch because I love you. Wait, no, that was in a movie. I tell you this because I want you to be able to get the damn glitter nail polish off.
Also, and I’m being honest because that is what I do: I rarely use this method. There, I said it. Yes, it’s the best. It’s technologically superior. It’s the Betamax of glitter nail polish removal while the jar with the foam sponge is VHS. And I am VHS all the way.
Metaphorically. I don’t even watch DVDs anymore -- Netflix Instant Watch is everything.
And but so, here’s what you do: gather together your nail polish remover, your cotton balls, your tin foil, your tired masses yearning to breathe free. Or, you know, just the first three of those. Tear off some squares of tin foil. Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover, press it against your fingernail, and then wrap the tin foil around your finger to securely hold the cotton ball in place. I tried to get Ed to demo this in a sort of Edward Tinfoilhands moment, but he declined. Alas.
It’s easiest to do this one hand at a time. You’ll need to sit there with tin foil fingers for a few minutes at least -- when you remove the tin foil, press down on the cotton ball as well. That’ll help slide the mess of glitter nail polish off your nail.
You’ll probably need to do a little clean up. But, especially if you’ve been patient and let things sit for, like, a full five minutes, your nails might just be spic and span. I wouldn’t eat off them or anything. But you could certainly move on from the nail polish removal portion of the program.
The pros: You get to play *your name here* Tinfoilhands; this is the most effective way of removing glitter nail polish, (tinfoil)hands down.
The cons: You have to cover your fingers with tin foil; it kind of feels like it takes for-freaking-ever.
Also, with all of these, you really ought to have some sort of moisturizer available. That much exposure to nail polish remover is not doing your cuticles (or, you know, your skin in general) any favors. In fact, you aren’t doing your actual nails any favors either -- soaking in nail polish remover is going to dry your shit out.
Well-moisturized cuticles are my anti-drug.
It isn’t that I hate efficiency -- it’s that I hate having things wrapped around my fingertips. I have some sensory issues, so tin foil is not one of my favorite things in the world anyway. It has a terrible sound. And it smells funny. And has an awful hair cut.
When in doubt, you can also just soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and then hold it firmly against your nail while you count to 60. We have these fancy methodologies, but really -- you can go totally lo-fi with this. I know we love a process though, especially a process that repurposes common household items.
There is no truly quick and mess-free way of taking off glitter nail polish. Only you can decide if putting it on is going to be worth taking it off. One alternative is to get your glitter on via nail polish strips. Or stickers. Or press-on nails. That’s three alternatives, actually. But I love the look of glitter nail polish with black designs stamped over it -- it’s worth the time and effort for me. Most days, at least.
And here’s a tip that you can do from the start to make removal easier: use fewer layers of glitter. I know you want that solid coverage -- or maybe you just want a whole lot of bling -- but if you start with a foundation coat of color, you won’t need to build up the glitter to such a degree. And fewer layers of glitter mean easier removal.
Black is my favorite base color for glitter nail polish of just about any color. Using black as a base for glitter is kind of like using white as a base for neon; it’s a primer that makes the colors involved really obnoxious. And isn’t that what we really want?
Well, what I really want is to be done taking off this fucking glitter nail polish. I’m going to go stick my finger in a sponge for a while.