Star Opal

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I was swatching the base polish I used for these nails, Picture Polish’s shimmer-flecked nude, Cherish, when I thought lovely and delicate though Cherish is, it’s really kind of boring. So then I added a couple of coats of Revlon’s Moon Candy iridescent flakies in Eclipse, which I thought would give the nude base a shimmering, opalescent look. Which they did, very much so, although, parenthetically, FRUSTRATION, THY NAME IS FLAKIE! The darn things NEVER want to lie flat on the nail, even after multiple layers of a high gloss top coat, and nearly all of them have issues hardening up, another problem that trumps a quality topcoat. But pretty? SO pretty, and worth their inherent frustration, at least in the short term.

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As the final, finishing touch, I dropped a gold-toned, “gemstone” encrusted star charm from Daily Charme onto my ring finger, its opalescent stones perfectly mimicking the delicate, colour-shifting flakies (which themselves occasionally flash gold, depending on the quality of the light.)

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Bipartisan Nails

Bipartisan HandEarly on in my nail art adventures Mr. Finger Candy floated the nice, but ultimately impractical, suggestion that I concentrate my polish buying power on one single brand. He didn’t know at the time – hey, neither did I – that there are roughly 8,657 different nail polish manufacturers out there, each one trying something just a little bit different from the somethings their neighbours are trying. It’s like a super glittery version of the Wild West, with your wallet acting as the spoils of a victorious high noon shoot-out. A nice idea (and I am nothing if not brand loyal; I’ve used naught but Clean & Clear face wash for the past 20 years), but one manufacturer cannot satisfy all polish needs. Besides, would you really want it to? Life’s not worth living if you don’t have choice (having said all that, too much choice is practically debilitating. Am I the only one who feels like she’s having a panic attack in the yogurt aisle at the grocery store? Why is there so much yogurt? Why is all of it suddenly Greek? Why do half the brands contain Aspartame? What happened to basic old fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt? Wither the yogurt? WITHER THE YOGURT?!?)

Tangents about dairy products aside, this manicure, a well-hidden teal and purple gradient topped with three different brands’ worth of iridescent flakies, really employs that whole “polish for the people” philosophy. Sure, it would have been nice if I could have gotten this effect out of one bottle of polish (which I clearly don’t own, or else I wouldn’t have been cherry-picking), but I like the every-manufacturer-for-themselves approach, too – it’s always satisfying to know I can cobble together a current look from polishes I already own without yet more financial and storage outlay.

For these super flaked out nails, I topped a can’t-see-it-at-all gradient of Nails Inc.’s blackened teal, Kensington, and China Glaze’s dark plum, Urban-Night, with one coat of China Glaze’s orangey-gold flakie, Luxe and Lush, one coat of Revlon’s blue Moon Candy flakie, Eclipse, and one coat of Nails Inc.’s yellowy-green Special Effects flakie, The Wyndham. It would undoubtedly be easier to just purchase a bottle of rainbow flakies – same effect, less work, less polish! – but if you’re on the fence like I am (I’m just not fond of iridescent flakies; they wear terribly, never seem to fully dry and stick up in maddening lumps) you probably already have the components available in your stash to achieve a very similar look, spread around though they may be!Bipartisan Fingers

There’s No Business Like Glow Business

Flakie CollageI knew this manicure, a purple-on-black gradient topped with blue-leaning, iridescent flakies, was going to look cool, but I had no idea the little blue flakies would pull so much light from the dark polish and glow neon blue! It’s such a cool effect – like tiny LED lights for your nails – and one that remains that way no matter the angle of your hand, the quality of the light or, apparently, your choice of matte or shiny topcoat. Neat!

Here I’ve shown a touch-too-dark gradient of OPI’s purple Do You Have This Color in Stock-holm? over Pure Ice’s Black Out, topped with the blue flakies from Revlon’s double-ended Moon Candy polish in Orbit. And going for two different looks from the same mani, I sealed the whole works off first with a coat of ultra shiny Seche Vite before finishing up with a coat of Essie’s satiny Matte About You. Either way, the light from the iridescent flakes blazes through, elevating this simple glitter-on-gradient manicure above the of-the-moment flakie fray.

Opalesence

Opalesence

This manicure, inspired by opals, my favourite gemstone, is a great example of an easily created bit of nail art where the polishes you choose do all the heavy lifting. To achieve this look, I topped two coats of a sheer, slightly shimmery pale pink polish, Revlon’s Sheer Blossom, with two different flakie polishes, Revlon’s Moon Candy in Orbit, a purple-to-green leaning flakie, and Nails Inc.’s The Wyndham, a yellow-to-green leaning holographic flakie. The overall effect is indeed quite like an opal, and would look totally different depending on how much (or how little) you vary up the base polish and the colour of the flakies. And I just realized I’ve used the word “flakie” about 167 times in this single post alone. Flakie flakie flake! And hey look, there’s a cat fur painted into my nails. Again. Must be a day ending in Y.

But one word about flakie (heh) polishes: They do not dry. Not completely, not ever, not even after you’ve sat very still with your hands on your lap doing nothing like a Victorian lady for six hours straight (true story, although I did watch six very worthwhile hours of Buffy the Vampire Slayer during that time.) I don’t know what it is about flakie polishes that causes them to never fully dry (even with a quick dry top coat like Seche Vite over top, they still remain slightly mushy) but of all the ones I’ve encountered, they’ve all shared this similar “quirk.” So use a light touch when applying, and don’t expect your manicure to survive the long haul – this one’s strictly a dazzle ‘n dash.

Sea Glass

Sea Glass

Although I remain somewhat unsold on the utility of flakie polishes (polishes with shards of iridescent or holographic glitter in them,) they do create a beautiful, textured sea glass-like look that’s perfection when layered over ocean-toned lacquers.

Here I mixed and matched a few readily available drugstore polishes, both sides of Revlon Moon Candy in Orbit, a double-ended lacquer featuring a dark purple cream polish on one end and a flakie on the other, as well as Hard Candy’s glittery Mermaid Magic and ’80s standby Wet and Wild’s turquoise Caribbean Frost.