nail polish finish

Nail Polish FInishes 101

Categories : Salons

How well do you know your nail polishes? See how many of these you know! It’ll also help you pick a color at your next mani-pedi.


creme polish

  • This is the most basic nail polish finish, and looks smooth and opaque.
  • If you want a little shine, go for a satin finish. This does reflect light better, but not enough to qualify it as glossy.
  • Some colors (especially pastels) can look flat, so if you want lots of shine be sure to get a good topcoat!
  • Some creme polish formulas go on a bit streaky. There’s a hack for that! Resist the urge to go over it with another coat. Instead, apply Essie Matte About You Matte Finisher topcoat on it — for some reason, it evens out the formula.
  • Reapplying topoat every few days can also help your nail polish last longer.


  • It goes on sheer, so you need several coats to get a strong color.
  • Looks really and usually comes in the coolest candy colors!
  • Red jellies are also a great way to wear red without looking so #TitaofManila. A blue-based red complements morenas, while cherry or true reds look great on fairer skin.
  • Want a cool effect? Make a jelly sandwich: one coat of jelly polish, one coat of glitter, and another jelly coat on top.



shimmer nail polish

  •  It’s got flecks of glitter, and is usually less likely to chip. Avoid the super-frosty shimmers (which look dated and old).
  • If you’re wearing it to work, pick shimmers that have very fine glitter.
  • Gold flecks are also very flattering for morenas, because they complement your rich, warm skin tones.
  • We’re also falling in love with white shimmer. It doesn’t look like you put wall paint on your nails — and matches all our outfuts!


pearl nail polish

  • Just like a pearl, they have a beautiful sheen when the light hits it.
  • They’re a modern alternative to frosty polish, and are especially pretty in neutral and pastel shades.
  • If you’ve got fair skin, you can’t go wrong with a pale pink pearl mani.
  • If you’re applying nail polish yourself for the first time, try a pearl formula. They’re less likely to get streaky, and the shiny finish hides mistakes really well. Apply in thin and sheer layers until you get the effect you want.
  • Very white or pale pearl polishes can look chalky on tanned skin. If you’re morena, go for warmer shades (like a rose pink or yellowish pearl).



  • Metallic nail polish never goes out of style
  • Gold and copper are really beautiful on warm skin undertones, and silver complements cool skin undertones.
  • Try combining metallic and matte nailpolish for a cool take on the French tip.
  • Metallic nail polish resist chips and “look fresh” longer.
  • For extra shine, get a super glossy topcoat. Some metals can look really cheap. Look for deeper colors, like a rose gold or a warm copper, instead of the “Christmas ball” shades that are so 1980s.



foil polish

  • Try this eyecatching combination of metallic and fine glitter if you’re looking for a “rockstar” shade.
  • We love getting this for our summer pedicures. There’s something about a bright, happy foil nail polish finish that makes us feel we’re going to a party (even if we’re stuck in the office).
  • You’ve got to be careful about skintone, though. Hold a shade against your hand and see if it makes your skin look sallow, dull or healthy. Three’s a foil finish for everyone — it’s just a matter of finding the right one!
  • Some foil formulas can get very goopy and thick. Always apply in thin coats.
  • Even if it’s got a super shiny finish, apply top coat to prevent chips.


glitter polish

  • Pure glitter polish usually comes in a jelly base. Some nail polish brands like Deborah Lippman have jelly cremes.
  • You can apply this on its own or on top of another color
  • It’s fun to put glitter polish at the tips of your nails, for a playful take on the French tip.
  • Glitter polish is notoriously difficult to remove. Soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover or acetone and then wrap around the nail. Leave for a few minutes and then gently rub off the excess glitter.


suede polish


  • This completely matte nail polish finish looks really sleek and sophisticated. We love how you can wear a really bold color, but the understated matte effect tones it down so you can wear it to work.
  • It’s hard to find suede shades in Manila, but you can get a top coat that will “mattify” a crème polish to create a similar effect.
  • Suede nail polish does have a tendency to stain the nails, so be sure to use a base coat.


holographic nails

  • This super-cool nail polish finish has rainbow colored glitter that changes when the light hits it. (Tell us you can wear this without hearing “Dancing Queen” in your head.)
  • You can also find holographic glitter, which gives a similar effect.
  • Love the holographic effect, but think it can look too much on all your nails? Try using this for grown-up nail art. Apply black nail polish, then add a holographic stripe.
  • Can’t find a holographic nail polish finish? Check out the Korean stores — they make some really fun shades, and are a lot cheaper and easier to find than the ones from the United States.

Duochrome / Iridiscent


  • Duochrome nail polish changes color when it’s under direct light.
  •  Iridiscent nail polish flashes a different color but actually transform into another shade.
  • Try this cool nail art trick: paint your nails with a metallic polish, but apply a matching duochrome or iridiscent nail polish on one nail.

What’s your favorite nail polish finish?

We’d love to hear what you think! Tell us your favorite nail polish shade in the comments section.