What’s in a Name? Part II – Textures

The mini series, “What’s in a Name?” attempts to decode and demystify jargon used in the nail fanatic community!

Late last year, I started a series of posts called What’s in a Name? After talking finishes and types of manis, I wanted to do a post on different polish texture – that is, how your polish looks and feels when your manicure is done – is it smooth and shiny? Is it rough and broken up? This is probably mostly a post of review, but I figured it can’t hurt to put it out there!

Here are the previous posts:

Here we go! Let’s start with Shiny:

Shiny is probably what folks would consider the norm. Your polish is glossy and your nails are poppin’! Although some polishes are formulated to be glossy when dry, you can guarantee shiny nails by using a top coat, or even fast-dry top coats like Seche Vite. I recommend trying Nail Life Speed Demon, which dries quick and has better shine than I’ve been able to achieve and maintain with Seche Vite.

With your nails shiny, the texture can almost feel like a piece of plastic. Check out this shiny manicure – Deborah Lippmann Stormy Weather:

The sun just hits off this finish!

Matte and Suede

Matte is the opposite of shiny. There is no reflection off your nail, and the texture to touch is more velvety. Matte polishes tend to dry quickly, and do not require a top coat (unless you want that matte polish to be shiny!). There are also several great matte top coats so that you can turn any polish into a matte manicure! Check out this matte polish, Ulta Surfer Girl:

This is a shimmer. Here’s a nonshimmer matte, Claire’s Matte Cobalt:

I grouped Matte with Suede because I think it’s the same thing. It’s just how other companies choose to identify their finish. OPI’s Suede polishes are matte versions of some of the company’s popular shades. Here’s Russian Navy Suede:

And here’s Revlon Matte Suede Powder Puff:


Crackle has resurged in popularity, although it’s a trend that I’ve tired of. It’s a layer of polish you paint over a base color that pulls into a cracked pattern as it dries. There are a couple different ways crackle can work – with big cracks or tiny veins of crackle!

Larger cracks – OPI Pink Shatter:

And smaller cracks – Kleancolor Teal Crack:

Different brands of crackle require different processes to achieve the desired result. For many, you apply a layer of crackle over a dry manicure. For others, it’s best if the polish is wet or tacky.


Magnetic polish is the new crackle polish, aka, the new polish trick, aka, the IT thing right now. These polishes have magnetic particles suspended inside, and you hold an accompanying magnet above the nail for so many seconds and a design appears. Many brands are coming out with magnetic polishes. Here’s an example with Layla Cosmetics Magneffect Metallic Sky:

Magnetic doesn’t really give a texture feel to your nail, but it gives a textured look!

 Glow in the Dark

Glow in the Dark polish is popular at Halloween! Some companies make glow-in-the-dark top coats, others produce polishes that glow. This year, I purchased OPI Zom-body to Love, which is a polish that glows:

That’s in the daylight, with OPI Black Shatter over it! Here’s a shot in the dark. The bottle glows, but you really can’t see it too well on the nails:


When you use glitter polish, sometimes, no matter how much top coat you use, your polish feels like it’s got a gritty texture. Here’s Hello Kitty Silver Star as an example:

So there you go! Some textures for you! I’m sure I missed a couple. If you have one to share, post in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of the polishes that appear in this post may have been provided to me for review by the PR Firm/Manufacturer. Please visit my Disclosure tab for more information on how BeautyJudy.com keeps it real!