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Nail Polish Finish 101

Posted by Liz Park on

In our listings, we list the finish of our polishes. Here's an in depth description of each finish we sell, as well as some related tips!

Cream: Generally a solid, opaque color that is white-based.

Jelly: Translucent color that is clear-based. A jelly base on its own will have a squishy looking shine to it.

Crelly (Cream-Jelly Hybrid): A sheerer creme base that is usually white-based. This finish on its own can be built up to a creme like finish that is a touch more squishy looking than a regular creme. It mixes well with glitters as it's sheer enough to show the glitter through its base.

Shimmer: Can contain anything from tiny sparkles to small glass like flecks.

Metallic/Foil: Metallic is a smooth, shiny, metal-like finish. Foil is similar, but the metallic shimmer is usually bigger, giving it a more sparkly finish.

Duochrome/Multichrome: Multichrome/Duochrome
These are chrome finish polishes that shift colors depending on the angle of light. In direct sunlight, you will usually see one main color. By moving your nails and changing the way the light hits your nails, you will see the color shift to a different color. In indirect or shaded lighting, you will see more colors on the nail at once. Try submerging your nails in water for an even crazier shift! Duochromes shift between 2 colors, while multichromes shift between 3+ colors.

Flake/Flakie: Irregularly shaped flakes that are generally thinner and wider than glitter. They can come in the following finishes:

  • Opal/Iridescent: These tend to be translucent and can have duochrome properties. They look best layered over another color, especially dark colors.
  • Multichrome: These are opaque with multichrome properties. These can be worn alone or layered over another color.

Holographic: A prismatic finish that looks best in direct sunlight or strong lighting. No special base coat is required for application, and most top coats shouldn't affect the intensity of the holo finish. For best results, wait until the polish is fully dry and view in direct sunlight. Our holographic finishes are not glitters and are easily removed. The following describe the holo effect in terms of strength and scatter.

  • Subtle/Scattered: This finish has holographic shimmer scattered throughout the color. There is either no defined linear ring or the effect is subtle - lending the color a bit of sparkle. 
  • Linear: Has defined linear holo rings. Direct sunlight will offer the strongest prismatic effect, but strong linear holos will also look holographic in indoor lighting.
  • Scattered-Linear: Between linear and scattered. A prismatic ring is visible in direct sunlight or strong lighting, but it is less defined than our strong linears. This finish is not holographic indoors or in indirect lighting - it will look more like a shimmery/metallic color in said lighting conditions.
  • Multichrome/Duochrome Holo: Hybrid finish that has both multichromatic/duochromatic properties as well as a prismatic effect. There is a shift in color based on the reflection of light and a prismatic effect.


This finish contains loose, cosmetic grade glitters. It's important to note that the glitters may settle a little during shipping and over time. For best results, shake the bottle a few hours before using. If using right away, roll the bottle upside down between your hands to bring the glitters to top without creating bubbles in the polish. Glitters look and wear best with a thick coat of top coat (like Seche Vite) to smooth everything out and add a glossy shine.

Other important facts: Glitters, especially those with larger glitters will settle over time. This is normal and can be fixed with a little shake from time to time. Polishes with large amounts of glitter may seem thicker due to larger concentration of glitters in the solvent. If you prefer a thinner consistency, this can be fixed with some nail polish thinner. It's also possible that larger shaped or irregularly shaped glitters may not conform or lay perfectly flat on the nail. For this, it's advised that you use a thick top coat or a coat of Gelous to smooth it out.

✿ Glitter removal: Glitters have the tendency of wanting to stick around. If you are finding the glitter hard to remove, try the following method.

1. Prepare cotton pads, pieces of cotton, or small squares of felt that are large enough to cover your whole nail.
2. Soak a piece of cotton/felt in nail polish remover and place it on your nail.
3. Secure the whole thing by wrapping a strip of foil around the nail and finger. It should look like you are wearing a foil thimble. Repeat this process for each finger.
4. Keep the foil on for about 5 minutes. Peel back a little bit of the foil to see if the glitter is coming off. If it isn't, leave it on for a few more minutes.
5. When ready, remove the foil and swipe the cotton/felt off the nail. Most of the glitter should come off. If there are a few stray glitters left, you should be able to remove them the regular way.
6. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and finish with a nice cuticle oil to keep your nails and the surrounding skin moisturized. Try our all-natural rose cuticle oil!

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