Polish Dictionary

Sometimes we hear terms that we aren’t quite sure what they mean. This will be a growing list of terms you might hear in the indie world

5-Free: A polish that does not contain Toulene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde, Camphor and Formaldehyde Resin

Crelly: A mix between a creme and a jelly that can be layered to cover the nail line, but still has some sheerness to allow glitters to show through

Creme/Cream: A smooth pure color polish that dries glossy without any additional additives

Decant: Taking from a full size bottle and sharing between an empty bottle. Usually to share with a friend

Destash: When someone is selling from their stash of polish

Double (Layered) Stamping: A stamping nail art technique layering 2 designs on top of one another. Example

Dry Brush: A nail art technique where you wipe off most of the polish on the brush and then lightly drag it over the top of the nail to create a distressed weathered look

Dry Marble: A nail art technique where you make your marble design on a mat (sans water) and cut the decals to fit your nail

Drag Marble: A nail art technique where you add drops of different color polish on top of a wet polish and then drag the colors around to make a design

Dupe: An exact match to a polish made by multiple brands

Fast Drying Top Coat: A five free top coat that takes about 30-45 mins to fully dry layers (different from a QDTC)

Foil: A type of polish that has metallic sparkly smooth finish

Franken: When you mix multiple pre-made polishes together to make a new color

Free Edge: The part of your nail that grows beyond the tip of your finger

Gel Polish: Polish that is cured or “dried” with a UV or LED light

Gradient: A nail art technique where you blend two or more colors usually not from the same color family on the nail

Holo/Holographic: A type of pigment that reflects and refracts light, giving off a rainbow effect. There are two types of holographic polish. Linear Holographic when the rainbow effect in a distinct line and Scattered Holographic larger less dense particles that make the rainbow effect scattered throughout the polish

Indie: A brand that is designed, created, and sold by independent owners

Jelly: A polish that is sheer and has a transparent finish that may show the nail line

Liquid Latex (nail tape, barrier): A product that is painted around the nail bed to protect the skin while creating nail art that peels off and makes cleanup easy

Mainstream: A brand that can usually be found for sale at large retailers

Matte: A polish that dries to a flat dull finish without any shine. Can also be a top coat

Metallic: A polish that has a high shine, mirror like finish like metal. It can often be tricky to work with

Milky Base Coat: A creamy base coat that blurs imperfections and whitens and brightens the nail

Multichrome (Duochrome): A polish that shifts between multiple colors depending on the angle and lighting

No Buy: When you’ve spent too much money and you have to promise not to buy anything

Ombre: A nail technique like the gradient. Where these differentiate: Ombres use the same color just light and dark versions (example: dark grey, medium grey, light grey) whereas gradient can be any color combination regardless of color family

Peel Off Base Coat: A type of base coat that does not last long but will pop off easily. Usually used under glitter polish to help with the removal process

Polish Fairy (Mule): A person in the community that you can send money to who can buy and send you items you can’t get in your area. They can also pick up items at conventions they are attending that you are unable to attend

Pond Manicure: A nail art technique where a jelly polish and nail art is overlaid multiple times creating depth and dimension

Quick Dry Top Coat (QDTC): A four free top coat that contains Toluene that dries super fast and will have you back to using your hands in no time

Reverse Stamping: A nail art technique using a clear stamper and painting in sections of the image on the stamper before placing on the nail. Example

Ridge Filling Base Coat: A creamy base coat that fills in dips and ridges to give you a smooth painting surface

Sharpie Manicure: A nail art technique where you use Sharpies and rubbing alcohol to color on your nails.  Example

Shimmer: A type of polish finish that has a shimmer effect in light

Skittle Manicure: When each finger has a different color (example: rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue order)

Stamping Polish: A nail polish that is highly pigmented and thicker than regular polish used for stamping nail art

Sticky Base Coat: Usually a blue green colored (clear when dried) base coat that dries with a slight sticky feel used to help the longevity of your mani. Also perfect for pulling a reversed stamped imaged off of the stamper

Texture: A type of finish that purposely has a gritty, bumpy, or lumpy textured appearance/feel

Thermal: A type of nail polish that changes color when warm or cold

Thirsty Glitter: A glitter polish that soaks up top coat and will require multiple layers of top coat to get an smooth, even glossy finish

Tip Wear: When the nail polish rubs off of the tips of your nails

Undies: A polish you would wear underneath another polish. Coordinating unides for UP polishes so you only have to use one coat of the precious UP color

Unicorn Pee (UP): An incredibly rare pigment that shifts from a red to gold to green

Untried:  Polish that you have purchased but have not yet used

UV Polish: A type of polish that changes color when in natural or artificial light containing uv rays

Visible Nail Line (VNL): When you can see the line when the nail passes the the skin through your polish

Water Decals/Waterslide Decals: A nail art product printed on a special kind of paper that soak it in water and place on your nail. Similar to the fake children’s tattoos

Water marble:  A nail art technique where drops of polish are added to water and designs are drawn in. You dip your finger into the water to place the design on the nail

Wrap Your Tips:  When you are apply polish to the top, tips, sides and underside of the nail