Shimmer nail polish that's ONLY shimmer?
December 3, 2016 2:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for nail polishes which have a completely or nearly transparent base and colored shimmer. I have found very few examples of this type of polish - the only ones I know of/own are e.l.f. Big Bang Blue (no longer being made), which is a totally clear base and mostly blue shimmer, with little flecks of pink/purple in there too - and Sinful Colors Just You Wait, which is a very sheer pink (almost invisible on the nail) with green shimmer.

Googling has not been very helpful - either I'm not correctly describing what I'm looking for, or else it just plain doesn't exist! There seem to be several polishes which are a clear base and neutral/silver type shimmer, but that's not as interesting to me as the colored ones.

(this is an entirely frivolous use of a question but I really like these nail polishes yall)
posted by showbiz_liz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Try googling for sparkle topcoat or shimmer topcoat. OPI has a good one called "I Juggle Men" that has tiny pink and blue shimmer. The Etsy shop Starlight and Sparkles has a whole range of them with interesting colors.
posted by runtina at 2:41 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Zoya Leia? Essie Pure Pearlfection?
posted by elerina at 2:50 PM on December 3, 2016

There's a lot of demand for this in the indie polish community, have you had a look there? try searching 'glitter top coats; or 'shimmer top coats.' Wasn't sure if you strictly wanted shimmer (smaller particles) or could include glitters too (larger particles) so apologies if these aren't all quite what you're looking for. I tried to include just smaller shimmers, but do comment if bigger glitters are OK too, there are tons of those.

KBShimmer Prism Break

KBShimmer r-e-f-l-e-c-t

KBShimmer Haute Mess

Rainbow Honey Diamond Dust

Rainbow Honey Outer Space Dust

Rainbow Honey Suu

Rainbow Honey XOXO

ILNP - all clear bases with shimmer or flakies, 33 items
posted by rachaelfaith at 2:51 PM on December 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I figured indie polish would be the way to find this type of thing, but I know very little about it. Yay! This looks like a great start. (Definitely looking for shimmer over glitter, I wear this stuff to work in an office and what I like about it is the subtlety.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:57 PM on December 3, 2016

Came in to suggest the ILNP shimmer category, I have Valentina and was a little disappointed with it because it's so sheer on first application but it sounds like exactly what you're after. The Pretty Serious Cocktail Crush range might also be up your street.
posted by corvine at 3:05 PM on December 3, 2016

You could also try adding the shimmer powder to a topcoat of your choosing.
posted by okieangel at 3:06 PM on December 3, 2016

I'm not sure if the "shimmer" you're describing is sort of an opalescent effect (seems like it from your examples), but I recently found a rather unusual one from Revlon that manages to be matte and shimmery at the same time. Look for "Matte Pearl Glaze - 785" Transforming Effects top coat. It's more in the pink-to-purple color range, only visible at certain angles.
posted by queensissy at 3:27 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think the specific term you're looking for is "mylar" or "fleck effect". It used to be pretty popular a few years back but unfortunately it seems to have fallen out of style. I own the Zoya opal and Chloe, but it looks like they don't make them anymore :(
posted by QueenHawkeye at 6:15 PM on December 3, 2016

Response by poster: You mean like flakies? The big shredded chunks? No, that's not what I'm looking for at all- I want particles so small you can't see them individually, and that only show up at certain angles. The examples in the first answer are pretty much exactly the sort of thing I want.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:27 PM on December 3, 2016

Sinful Colors is actually pretty good about releasing these in their seasonal promotions. Look for the cardboard end cap displays. I've got a couple that are a light pink that shimmers blue, a nude that shimmers pink/blue, and a weird blue one.

You might also have luck with some of the holographic shades. I love kbshimmer's holographics. I have a nude holographic from kbshimmer that is sheer if you only use one coat.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:06 AM on December 4, 2016

I highly recommend Revlon Nail Brightener. It's incredibly wearable but definitely has a magic milky opal going on. I have tried the other Revlon pearl glaze mentioned, and while that one is really pretty I still am way more obsessed with the Nail Brightener. The effect is a great blend of funky shimmer in the most classy understated way. :)

Fair warning though, this was the gateway polish that led me to the far more extreme ilmp polishes. I now unashamedly wear blinding glitter polish as a grown woman in a professional office setting.
posted by KMoney at 9:59 AM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Here are a few ideas:

Orly- Winter Wonderland

Sally Hansen- Hidden Treasure, Diamond Strength “Diamond Jubilee”, Xtreme Wear “In The Spotlight”

China Glaze- White Cap, Snow Globe, Luxe and Lush

Essie- Pure Pearlfection

Deborah Lippmann- Stairway to Heaven, Boom Boom Pow

Anything with the term "micro glitter" might help as well when you search.
posted by Kobayashi Maru at 6:16 PM on December 4, 2016

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