What’s in a Name?! Finishing with Finishes

Last week I started a new series called “What’s in a Name?!” in an attempt to decode and demystify jargone used in the nail fanatic community!

Today, I’d like to finish up with decoding the different types of finishes that polish can have – as I mentioned last week, these are all my own opinions and observations, it is not a professional list. Also, I urge you to click on the photos to enlarge and see details in the polishes!

Let’s get to defining!


Glass-flecked is different from glitter polishes. The glitter pieces, or the glass-flecks, are irregular sized, and added a more shimmery than glittery effect to a polish. Check out some glass-flecked polishes:

China Glaze Raspberry Festival:

Revlon Apple Fizz:


Shimmer is quite a common polish finish, and very popular! Shimmer is sparkly without glitter or glass-fleck. Here are some examples!

Butter London Lady Muck:

OPI Cuckoo For This Color:

Nars Pokerface:

Shimmer is one of my favorite finishes!


Glitter finishes can be “gritty” or “bumpy,” even with top coat. These can be pure glitter in a clear base, or opaque color with glitter packed in it.

Here’s a couple examples of straight-up glitter polishes!

OPI Excuse Moi!:

Color Club Beyond the Mistletoe:

Glitter is also a pain in the butt to remove but the payoff when you where it is worth it!


Holographic is a stunning effect. There are a couple different types of holographic polish – you can get one that is like a rainbow on your nails – or linear – or one that has glitter in an opaque base that looks like a rainbow on your nails. Check out linear holographic polishes:

Gosh Holographic:

Nfu Oh 65:

And pictures of holographic glitter polishes…

Savina Charcoal Sparkle:

Sephora by OPI Midnight Mambo (click this one to enlarge…blurred to capture holo…it’s visible IRL but I had a hard time taking photos!):


Flakie is a finish that is popular, and gaining traction in the nail manufacturer community – Sally Hansen just released two in their new Diamond Strength polishes, and Cult Nails has everyone going ga-ga for Unicorn Puke! Which sadly, I missed, but I did order the Super Powers Collection with UP’s twin, Clairvoyant!

So how bout some examples?!

Here’s flakies in an opaque base…

Cult Nails Iconic:

And a flakie top coat over an opaque base:

Nubar 2010 over Nubar Midnight Matte:

Here’s Quirius History of Night with Nfu Oh 40 (flakie):

I know there are probably a ton of finishes I’m missing. But these are the ones I wanted to highlight! Are there any I’m missing that you’d like to see examples of? I can certainly do another post with reader input!!! Share in the comments below!