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Let’s face it: Shimmer is always a good idea. And while you may have an array of sparkly shades in your polish collection, not all glitter-packed formulas are created equal. From chunky glitter to opaque shimmer to holographic polish, there is a light-catching formula out there designed to fit your unique style. Keep reading to learn the difference between traditional glitter and holographic polish to achieve a flawless application every time.

Q: What’s the difference?

Though all shimmery shades may look the same at first glance, there are certain characteristics that set traditional glitter and holographic polish apart. Unlike traditional glitter, which simply reflects the light, holographic polish refracts and bends any light shining on your nails to reveal a tiny rainbow. According to hardcore nail art aficionados and Heavy.com, there are three types of holographic polish: holo glitter, which is holographic pigments suspended in clear polish; scattered holo, which features smaller pigments that provide a coverage similar to a traditional polish; and linear holo, which contains holographic pigments that actually fit together to create a large rainbow after applying it to your nails.

Q: What kind of coverage do these formulas offer?

Traditional glitter lacquer is usually available in an array of formulas, from sheer top coats to full-coverage glitter. Because holographic polish contains fine glitter particles, most formulas offer full-coverage and a thicker consistency.

Q: Any troubleshooting tips?

Both traditional glitter and holographic polish can be tricky to apply in the beginning. When working with sheer glitter, remember to “dab” the glitter pieces onto the nail before applying the product using the three-stroke method. If you’re working with a full-coverage glitter or holographic lacquer, make sure to apply color in thin, even coats to avoid clumping. The three-stroke method is also crucial when applying holographic polish as it prevents the color from looking too streaky. Though it’s always a good idea to apply base color to prevent discoloration, some formulas can cause the color to look dull and patchy. In fact, some nail artists actually apply top coat as a base or avoid base coat altogether in order to achieve the best results. 

Stay tuned for even more nail inspiration and take a peek at these nail trends!