How to Wear Glitter Polish Without Looking Like a Tween aka Grown Up’s Guide to Glitter Manicures

Ah, glitter. Those twinkling, shimmering, metallic gleams can easily make you feel like a teenager – and they can easily make you look like one, too. If you want to edge up your conservative style with glitter but don’t know how to start OR want to curb your glitter addiction, our tips below will have you sporting a responsible yet sophisticated glitter manicure that looks just as good paying bills as it does giving a cutie your phone number.

Make the Familiar New Again

Erin Hoover, Celebrity Nail Artist and owner of Los Angeles’ It’s A Secret Nail Studio, recommends using a glitter polish as a top coat over one of your favorite shades. “This will add a little something special but the base color is still familiar.” It’s also a great way to extend the life of your manicure, especially if you’re getting bored with your color. Try essie’s Sparkle On Top, an incadescent topcoat that adds a holographic sheen to your manicure without changing the base shade’s color.

Use a Fine Grade Glitter

Bigger isn’t always better: “The bigger the pieces, the more they stand out and can be overwhelming to the wearer,” says Hoover. NCLA’s “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not” is a perfect example of a fun, glossy color with the right amount of twinkle.

Stick with Neutrals

Glitter is so much fun, and so is bright blue, but you don’t need to pair them together, especially if you’re not a pre-teen girl discovering her first boy band. Hoover notes that limiting your sparkle shades to time-tested shades such as gold and silver keep your manicure classy. “As Gold As It Gets,” a gold metallic shade from essie, is sheer enough to ease you into sparkle but flashy enough to get your nails noticed.

Keep It Subtle

You don’t have to commit to actual GLITTER to make your nails sparkle. Choose a metallic polish or a polish with a pearl finish – these naturally reflect light, much in the same way that a highlighting concealer on your face does. MAC Cosmetics’ “Mean & Green” is a great example – this shade of purple has a multi-changing teal pearl running through it, making it look more gold in some light and more of a green in others.

Don’t Forget to Accent

You don’t have to use a glitter polish on every nail. Use a glitter polish as an accent color: pick one finger per hand to try it, or try using the glitter only on the edge or the moon of nail. You can also add a glitter ombre effect to your nails, starting heavy at either your base or tip with a glitter in the same color family as your base shade. We like butter London’s bronze Bit Faker glitter lacquer matched with their opaque creamy tan shade Tea & Toast – brown but not boring, sophisticated without being silly.

– Bren Lee Gomez

Elise Wright

Elise is a social media strategist from Sydney, now living in NYC, who has a long standing love affair with the beauty industry- especially the nail industry!

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