My (former) roommate, Maggie, and I like to fancy ourselves on the cutting edge of nail polish creations. I own every color imaginable and some that you would never guess in a million years (I have one that looks like a holographic card background. Fo rizzle.) Many people seem to pick really boring, neutral colors once they enter the workforce. But I am determined not to be one of those people.
One of the coolest things to come out in a long time is OPI's Shatter line. If you haven't seen these yet, get on that shit. Maggie and I were nagging the people at Ulta, asking when this would be in stores months before any of them had a clue what we were talking about.
Basically, you apply one color of whatever polish you like, allow this to dry completely, and then add a layer of Shatter. As the Shatter layer dries, it begins to shrink and crack. Why, I am not sure. Once that's dry, apply a clear top coat so that it doesn't look leathery. This also helps keep it all from flaking off really quickly. There's a bunch of videos on YouTube and the OPI site explaining how different brush strokes can create a variety of shatter effects. From my experience, Shatter seems to work best if the base color is also from OPI, which is kind of disappointing, since I have zillions of others. And OPI is expensive-ish.
Originally Shatter was available only in black, but now there are 6 colors: turquoise, navy, silver, blue, red, white, and black. It can be purchased at Ulta for sure, and I've seen it around at a few department stores, like JC Penney's. Although the demand isn't as crazy as it was a few months ago, you still might want to call ahead to see if they have the color you want in stock.
Sally Hansen Crackle Overcoat
One night at 1AM-ish, Maggie and I wandered around a Walgreen's in search of flip flops. A few hours before this, I had lost the only pair of shoes I had with me in the Guadalupe River. Shoe-less or not, I cannot enter a drugstore without passing by all of the nail polish, just in case they miraculously have a color I don't have yet. Although I usually end up buying something that's just a TINY bit different than one I already have, this time I found something totally new! Sally Hansen has already come out with Shatter-esque line called Crackle Overcoat! They had some pretty bright, neon colors, which is pretty sweet since the OPI ones are a bit tame. I bought an intense neon purple and intend to go back and get some more. Once I get a paycheck.
Sally Hansen Salon Effects
During a midnight snack run to CVS (yes, I do a lot of my shopping at drugstores) Maggie and I discovered Sally Hansen Salon Effects, which are basically flexible nail polish strips (stickers!). They look really intimidating to apply, but it's pretty simple. Even someone as challenged as me got it perfectly on the first attempt. What's cool about them is that they allow normal people to have crazy nail designs without having to pay an arm and a leg (or a pinky and a thumb) at some salon. Or if you're into solid colors, they have many shades that you can use if you just want a flawless-looking regular manicure. There are currently 23 different designs, which can be purchased in various drugstores and grocery stores as well as the usual Ulta, Sephora, and Sally Beauty Supply.
Del Sol Color-Change
During a spring break excursion on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Maggie and I (sounds like I'm around Maggie too often...) discovered a store called Del Sol that sold things that changed colors in the sun - clothes, toys, sunglasses, and... nail polish! I was slightly skeptical about this, since I had been sold a glow-in-the-dark nail polish in the second grade that never quite worked right. But the store actually has UV lights all over, so you can see how the colors change for yourself! As soon as I walked out of the store I tried it immediately. And it was awesome! It still works really well if you apply a clear top coat, which I would suggest, since it's not shiny enough for my taste. There are currently 23 different colors, which can be purchased at the store or online.
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
This is the only thing so far that I haven't tried personally. I just heard about it today. Gimmie a break. From what I've heard, Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat is just a clear top coat that dries your nails really fast. Like 5 minutes. For someone like me, this sounds like an absolute necessity. I tend to spend a while painting awesome designs on my nails, get bored while they're drying, and then smudge them beyond repair. And then cry. I plan on heading over to Sally Beauty Supply to buy one ASAP.
I also just heard about this today, but I plan on testing it soon. Apparently if you stick your newly-polished fingers in very cold water for a bit they'll dry really fast. Sounds sketchy... but I will try almost anything that claims to dry nails faster.
I heard about this tip, and a few others, on HelloGiggles.com, a blog dedicated to comedy for women. Don't laugh just yet, it's actually pretty interesting and hilarious. One of the weekly posts is called Get Yo Nails Did by Molly McAller, one of the site's founders. I've liked all of the stuff she's done so far (although I've already been doing a couple of them for years). I think the site has only been around for 3 or 4 weeks, so you should hop on over and check them out!