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Why Adults Should Embrace Glitter Nail Polish


I’ve done a lot of growing up recently. Big moves, exciting jobs—I’m almost old enough to rent a Nissan. And now I become startled, then concerned, at the antics of young celebrities—they’re role models, you know? I’ve even considered letting my friends have children and naming me their hot, young godmother. Something about the phrase “young professional” makes me feel almost too responsible, and I find myself trying to catch up to the level of maturity those two words connote.

Chief among my tactics is avoiding the one thing that brings the most joy to girls all over the world: glitter nail polish. We’ve all seen the fiercest of tomboys go completely apeshit over a good multi-tonal sparkle. Yet here I am, denying myself that most carnal of all girly desires—and for what? To be a living, breathing LinkedIn profile? I’m not being honest with myself. Sparkly—This is who I am (to be read in the voice of Oprah).

We, as women, should feel empowered to celebrate that core of pure, glittery femininity, rather than try to snuff it out with nothing but neutrals and mattes. That’s not to say we should approach the material with the same youthful naiveté that had us picking our nail beds raw and leaving a trail of fairy dust flecks in our wake. The glitter polish industry has grown up, even as we are caught in limbo. Take, for instance, OPI Glitter Off Base Coat—it makes any glitter polish or stone job peel off easily. No nail damage, no acetone, and it stays-put quite impressively until you’ve grown tired of a particular shade of sparkle. Ah, glitter, we are such fickle friends.

Though, I do have a recommendation for a “staple” glitter, if that concept even exists: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Disco Ball leaves a coating of delicately small iridescent specs—like a butterfly with seasonal allergies gently sneezed on your fingertip. That’s a good rule of thumb: the smaller the spec, the subtler the glitz, and thus the more seriously you’ll be taken by the adult race. Try limiting your application to a Disney-like dusting of just one edge of the nail [6-7]. Bars, stars, and heart-shaped sequins are out (but never turn your back on the rhinestone). Just keep the design simple and graphic [2-3]. Or, choose an option in which the reflective specs are fully diluted into a shimmer. Then play with blocks of nakedness on your nails—boom, shimmer is cut in half [1]. Sometimes, though, it's business on the top, and party underneath [4].

I won’t go so far as to refer to any sort of glitter nail as ‘sophisticated’—half the fun comes from the fact that glitter causes us to giddily lose a measure of composure. But the easiest way to elevate a polish so youthful is to pair with investment jewelry. Either an investment you make (well done, you deserve it), or an investment borrowed from your mother's hidden jewelry box that she doesn't know that you know exists (mind your manners—ask first, and don't leave in a public restroom).  Something far more elegant, but equally as fun as the happy stacks of rings we wore during our first go-rounds with glitter. Consider the Piaget Rose Ring [5]: a carved pink-opal rose set in rose gold with a tiny diamond nestled in the center, right alongside another little diamond flower—it perfectly splits the difference between charming and stunning. Kind of great for when you’re transitioning from girly to feminine, all while white-knuckle clenching those glitter polishes.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Photos by Elizabeth Brockway; nails by Natalie Pavloski; feature in collaboration with Piaget. See their latest collection here.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Abby

    I love glitter nail polish - makes my manicure much for fun!


  • Kim

    what color is the pink? I love it

  • http://www.wernerbeauty.com/ Teckie

    Ha - a walking LinkedIn profile. I feel like that sometimes and hate myself for it! Great post.


  • Jessica

    ahhh I have been looking for that basecoat all over the internets, but it seems to be totally sold out! anyone else having any luck with finding it?

  • mlle p

    I'm running out to get the base coat that lets me peel off glitter polish! I do glitter nails sometimes, despite being "of a certain age". This would be a good discussion - what do you feel too old for? If anything.

  • mlle p

    I'm running out to get the base coat that lets me peel off glitter polish! I do glitter nails sometimes, despite being "of a certain age". This would be a good discussion - what do you feel too old for? If anything.

    • Abby Kidwell

      My mother is in her 60's and still rocks glitter nails from time to time.

    • CK

      Nothing gets too old for me!

  • Victorious_me

    pretty into that glitter at the nail-bed look. might have to give that one a shot next time i get my nails did...

  • Katie

    Love this article! As a glitter polish loving gal, I'm glad someone feels the same :) Also... that ring is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen


  • Abby Kidwell

    Glitter makes me happy!

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    I definitely embrace glitter polish, it's a nightmare to remove though!

    Mafalda ❤

  • Twix
  • Liz

    glitter nails + grown up jewels happening now...in an office.

    • Alyssa Gapske


    • http://intothegloss.com/ ITG Annie

      Aweee yeaaahh :)

  • http://www.bohemianjourneys.blogspot.com/ Cheyenne

    Aaahh I need that base so I can wear my glitter nail polish more often! :)

  • Em

    May I ask what the polish used in images 4 and 5 is?

  • Inkygrl

    Love this. Here's my take, inspired by Alyssa from xoVain

  • Inkygrl

    BTW I'm no spring chicken...

  • Anna

    I would never consider giving up glitter nail polish, ever. And I'm closer to 40 then 30. Also. One of the benfits of sparkly polish is that it is impossible - atleast for me- to bite your nails when wearing it.
    I'm the worst nail biter, I've tried to stop for about... 25 years or so. And the only thing that works for me is wearing glitter nailpolish. Its so pretty it makes me stop, loot at it and think before biting, and when I bite anyway it's so gross to chew on the metallic flecks that it makes my brains hurt. Win-win!

  • Rita De Alencar Pinto

    Floss Gloss Glitter Polish 'Stun' and 'Dimepiece' are hands down my fav glitter polish. One coat will do the trick for full coverage and it is irrendecent in the light.

  • kaemicha

    Love the glitter and add nail art to a couple of fingers and toes and I'm ready to show off!

  • http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/ Nomadic D.

    That glitter-off base coat stopped me in my tracks! The joy! Why didn't somebody do that sooner? I do love some occasional glitter, my favorite thing to do with it is this:


    but I don't do it very often, honestly because it is just such a pain in the ass to take off! Just goes to show how very lazy I can be. But hey, it's the truth! Off to see if I can find that stuff here in Madrid now. Thanks for the recommendation!


  • http://beautynbuzz.com/ BeautynBuzz

    Lovely read...I simply love glitter on my nails...These are like highlighter for my nails ;)

  • Gypseej

    I'm of that "certain age" and I couldn't care less! My fave polishes are holographic - glitter without the glitter if that makes any sense! It's toned down indoors (for professional use lol) but gorgeously brazen in sun and bright light! Color Club is nice so is Jade n the ultimate holo is by Enchanted Polish! BLAMMMMM,

  • http://www.everybeautytalks.com/ Everybeauty Talks

    Oh my... I didn't know that such a base coat existed! That's genius!

    ♥ Kristen // http://www.everybeautytalks.com

  • http://www.clevergirlreviews.com/ Clever Girl Reviews

    I love it for accent nails and french tip!

  • mel

    I'm never going to be old enough to not want to be covered in glitter. You can never have too much sparkle

  • Elso

    Omg looove the Piaget jewelry suggestions! I love glitter nails but always think twice about it :( Thank for the encouragement :D


Piaget Rose Ring in Rose Gold
Piaget Rose Pendant
Piaget Rose Bracelet
OPI Glitter Off Base Coat
Sally Hansen
Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color
Piaget Rose Ring
Piaget Possession Ring
Piaget Rose Earrings
Piaget Rose Gold Opal Ring