Glitter Nail Polish: The 20 Best Sparkle Shades of 2018

glitter nail polish

I’m addicted to glitter nail polish. I wouldn’t say I have a problem; I would say I have a lot of glitter. I wouldn’t say I have enough glitter–just a lot.

Nail polish is my favorite way to wear glitter because it’s the least likely to shed sparkles all over my clothes and apartment. Plus, it comes in a wide variety of nail polish styles to I can vary my glittery look

Confetti Glitter: Specks of all shapes and sizes. Hexagons, circles, squares, and bars are most common. They can be reflective, colorful, or matte.

Flake Glitter: Thin, flexible, irregular shards that give a gold leaf effect.

Micro-Glitter: Reflective glitter that is so fine it produces a dense, uniform shimmer effect.

Holographic/Holo-Glitter: Confetti, flake, or micro-glitter that doesn’t reflect light, it refracts it creating super-shiny, prismatic colors like tiny little rainbows.

Glitter polish runs the gambit from subtle shimmer to full, blinding glam and often the difference is how you apply it. You can get a more understated look by applying a single layer by itself or over a base color.

Hack for full coverage glitter nail polish in one coat

For sunglasses-worthy shininess (my personal favorite) for either an accent finger or your whole hand, most folks end up layering two or three or four coats of glitter trying to get full coverage. It takes forever to dry and peels fast.

There’s an easier way. Do a clear base coat and then paint your glitter directly onto a makeup sponge. The sponge absorbs the excess clear polish so you can dab only the glitter right onto your nail for complete coverage and extremely glittery nails in one coat.

And if you’re planning to skip the liquid latex skin barrier because you’re thinking, “Oh, I can be really careful with the sponge,” please learn from my disastrously messy attempt– and spring for the latex nail tape as a barrier.

A good top coat can be essential to a good glitter manicure. It can give you that extra hold so little specks won’t flake off, smooth over bumpy texture, and even help those thick glittery layers dry faster. Plus, a glossy top coat can make your nails catch even more light. Check out my guide to the Best Top Coats for Long Lasting Nail Polish.

The one thing all glitter polishes have in common is they are a pain in the butt to take off. Your best bet is to put a some acetone remover on a bit of cotton ball, set that on top of your nail, and cover it with tin foil to keep it from evaporating. Let that sit for a minute to five minutes and then wipe off.

Did I mention you can mix them? My go-to combination is a base coat of silver micro-glitter and a second coat of chunkier silver holo-glitter for a really multidimensional shine. So if your partner tries to tell you you don’t need two silver glitter polishes–they’re wrong and you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

Now let’s look at the best and the brightest.


1. Hexy Bikini by KBShimmer

Image of silver KBShimmer holographic glitter polish

(KBShimmer)

The only word I can think of when I see this polish is spangle. I got this for Christmas and I can tell you the pictures and video don’t do it justice. I’ve had someone over a skype call say, “Whoa! What’s on your nails?” because the sparkles were visible even over a video call.

When Hexy Bikini moves in the light, it looks like your nails are studded with rhinestones. Hexy Bikini is a clear base loaded down with silver micro-glitter and studded with small and medium holographic hexes of silver, pink, and teal. Because of the holographics, it looks like there are way more colors packed in there when the light hits it.

It is a textured polish so expect a slightly rough finish that can be smoothed over with a clear top coat. To be worn on its own without using a sponge method, I’ve needed two to three coats or it can be worn as a top coat over a base color. This is definitely one of my new favorites and one of the polishes that I get the most excited to wear.

Price: $10

Buy Hexy Bikini by KBShimmer here.



Pros:

  • You’ll feel like a glam rockstar
  • Very heavy glitter load
  • Rhinestone like holographic sparkle
  • Works as a top coat or alone

Cons:

  • Textured finish
  • Needs two to three coats when worn alone
  • Can be a little chunky going on

Find more Hexy Bikini by KBShimmer information and reviews here.


2. Juliette by ILNP

Image of gold glitter polish bottle

(ILNP)

Juliette is so crammed with sparkle that looking at the bottle you’d think it was a solid cream pigment or a heavy micro-glitter, but it isn’t. Juliette by ILNP is a clear base filled with irregular holographic flake glitter–a ton of it.

For a glitter nail polish, it’s very opaque and you can get full coverage with just two coats which is impressive for even non-glitter polish. The holographics used in this are so intense they twinkle like starlight. It dries to a surprisingly smooth finish and because it’s not traditional glitter it won’t be a struggle to remove. Juliette is three-free and cruelty-free.

Price: $10

Buy Juliette by ILNP here.



Pros:

  • So much sparkle
  • Dense holographic flakes
  • Full coverage with two coat
  • Easier to remove

Cons:

  • More of a gold than a rose gold

Find more Juliette by ILNP information and reviews here.


3. Carnivalesque by Adesse New York

Image of Adesse multicolored glitter polish

Adesse New York

My partner has said he thinks this is the brightest glitter I own. Carnivalesque is a clear base filled with hexes, squares, and diamonds of all sizes in all the colors you can name as well as a sprinkling of micro-glitter.

Most of the glitter pieces are reflective but many are holographic as well adding in that extra bit of color. I love the sparkle in this one and the variety of shapes like glitter at a carnival. This can be worn as a top coat or on its own, but you’ll want to use a sponge to apply it if you’re using it on its own.

Adesse was kind enough to send me a sample of this shade to try but with no guarantee of any review at all. Adesse New York’s lacquers are 12 free, cruelty-free, GMO free, vegan-friendly, and made in New York. Carnivalesque has organic bamboo extract, argan oil, and shea oil for healthier nails.

Price: $20

Buy Carnivalesque by Adesse New York here.


Pros:

  • Unique mix of glitter shapes
  • Holographic and reflective
  • Long lasting formula
  • Contains nourishing extracts and oils
  • Works as a top coat or alone
  • Cruelty-free

Cons:

  • Needs at least two or three coats to be worn alone
  • Pricier than others

Find more Carnivalesque by Adesse New York information and reviews here.


4. Shattered Souls by Smith & Cult

Image of chunky bottle of Smith and Cult large gold nail polish with glitter gold cap

(Smith & Cult)

This polish is a clear base with two different sizes of highly reflective gold hexes. The combination ends up looking almost your fingernails are covered in gold leaf. It works as a top coat to brighten up any shade and as a stand alone polish for some serious shine.

It’s not going to give you dense coverage like some other glitters without several coats or sponging, but the glitter is so bright that you might not even see that the whole nail isn’t covered. Shattered Souls dries to a textured finish which feels even more like having gold leaf on my fingers. It’s an eight-free polish so it’s not full of nasty stuff that can hurt your nails.

Price: $18

Buy Shattered Souls by Smith & Cult here.



Pros:

  • High quality, luxury brand
  • Longest lasting
  • Works as a top coat or alone
  • Flashy, gold leaf like shine

Cons:

  • Not dense coverage
  • Feels rough when dry

Find more Shattered Souls by Smith & Cult information and reviews here.


5. Hologram Diamond by LeChat

Image of holographic diamond like glitter gel nail polish

(Amazon)

This stunning holographic lacquer looks like it’s loaded down with glitter of all sizes but it’s hard to tell because it’s just so darn shiny! When they say diamond, they mean it. Sometimes diamond-like just means shiny, but this gets at that unique diamond quality to shoot out sparkles of light in all the colors of the rainbow.

This is disco ball levels of brilliance and maybe not for the easily distracted. For me, this is perfection. It doesn’t have as gritty a finish as some of the others and is opaque in two coats.

This one is a gel polish which needs to be cured under UV/LED light but it comes with the matching standard nail lacquer or you can buy the standard lacquer alone.

Price: $13.21 (17 percent off MSRP)

Buy Hologram Diamond by LeChat here.



Pros:

  • Rainbows and diamonds on your nails
  • Long lasting
  • Smoother texture
  • Opaque in two coats

Cons:

  • A little thick for some

Find more Hologram Diamond by LeChat information and reviews here.


6. Candy Shop by Deborah Lippmann

Image of pink confetti nail polish bottle with black cap

(Amazon)

If you’re looking for a playful pink, Candy Shop delivers. It looks like you could find it in a tall glass jar along the wall in a sweets shop.

This is a mix of colorful hexes and circles in several shapes in a tinted base. This isn’t a reflective lacquer, and instead looks like confetti. Or funfetti. This looks like a birthday party.

The base is a translucent bubblegum pink and you can control how sheer or opaque you want it by how many layers you apply. It’s a three-free polish and contains biotin and green tea extract to nourish nails.

Price: $16.56 (15 percent off MSRP)

Buy Candy Shop by Deborah Lippmann here.



Pros:

  • Unique playful look
  • Contains strengtheners
  • Works as top coat or alone

Cons:

  • Sheer pink won’t go with all base colors

Find more Candy Shop by Deborah Lippmann information and reviews here.


7. Cosmo Magical Pixie Dust by Zoya

Image of a bottle of shimmery silver nail polish

(Zoya)

I know I just said you can mix two polishes to get multidemntional shine, but Cosmo has all of that in one lacquer. This is a silver micro-glitter base with holographic hexes and it’s not for the faint of heart.

This is not a subtle glint on your fingertips; this is blinding, prismatic shine. The formula is a little on the thick side but that means you only need one or two coats for full glittery coverage.

It is a textured polish so there is a gritty feel to it once dried. If you’re not into that, a clear top coat will cover the grit. It’s also 10-free, so it’s free of 10 of the common but less desirable ingredients like formaldehyde. It’s Zoya so you know it has staying power. Expect this one to last chip-free for four days at least.

Price: $10

Buy Cosmo Magical Pixie Dust by Zoya here.



Pros:

  • Bold, unapologetic glitter
  • Long lasting
  • Trusted brand
  • Mix of holographic and micro-glitter

Cons:

  • Gritty texture

Find more Cosmo Magical Pixie Dust by Zoya information and reviews here.


8. Paige by ILNP

Image of a bottle of holographic pink glitter polish

(ILNP)

Paige is a holographic micro-glitter in a fun raspberry pink. I bought this one myself because I couldn’t resist and it has quickly rocketed into my normal rotation.

This polish from ILNP’s Ultra Holo collection has lots of sparkle and the intense holographic formula gives it a color-changing rainbow sheen. Depending on the angle, Paige has magenta, blue, gold, and red flecks hidden inside.

The shimmery sunset pink pigment is very rich and smooth. It doesn’t feel like putting on a glitter polish. You only need one to two coats to be fully opaque ready to go. Three coats will give a little more punch to the holographic effect, but it doesn’t need it.

You’ll get an easy five days of wear out of this. When I had it on my toes it went two weeks before it started chipping. ILNP polish is three-free and it’s made in America which is always great. Plus, it came in this fancy black box wrapped in colorful paper. It was like Christmas morning.

Price: $10

Buy Paige by ILNP here.



Pros:

  • Intense linear holographic
  • Rich, creamy pigment
  • Long lasting
  • Great formula
  • Made in America

Cons:

  • Not to be used as a top coat

Find more Paige by ILNP information and reviews here.


9. Sashay My Way by Orly

Image of gold Orly bar glitter polish

(Amazon)

I’m not normally that into bar glitter, those little strips that I tend to think make you look like you got in a fight with a paper shredder. This is the first bar glitter lacquer that I am legitimately drooling over.

Sashay My Way is a clear base with uniform gold holographic hexes and thin holographic gold bar glitter. It’s light on the bar glitter so it’s more an accent to contrast the shimmery hexes. The result is a top coat that looks like expensive embroidered beading on a designer gown.

Price: $7.13

Buy Sashay My Way by Orly here.



Pros:

  • Holographic
  • Unique look
  • Looks amazing on light and dark base colors

Cons:

  • Not for use on its own
  • Glitter may be too sparse for some

Find more Sashay My Way by Orly information and reviews here.


10. A Cut Above by Essie

Image of essie rose gold glitter polish

(essie)

If you’re feeling the rose gold bug, this is for you. A Cut Above about perfectly matches the rose gold iPhone. It’s a clear base loaded with reflective pink quartz tinted gold hexes in all sorts of sizes.

Some polishes when they are full of these big hexes get glompy when you’re trying to put them on, but A Cut Above goes on very smooth. It’s a three-free polish, making an effort to reduce the harmful chemicals they use.

If you want to wear this glitter on its own without using the sponge trick, you’ll need two to three coats for full coverage which isn’t abnormal for glitter polish. As a top coat, this one is protective and will last you around four days depending on how much you abuse your hands.

Price: $9

Buy A Cut Above by essie here.


Pros:

  • Beautiful rose gold
  • Long lasting
  • Top quality brand
  • Works as a top coat or alone

Cons:

  • Takes two to three layers to wear alone

Find more A Cut Above by essie information and reviews here.



11. Brilliance by ILNP

Image of green and gold flakie nail polish

(ILNP)

Brilliance is a unique flake glitter in a clear base. It’s hard to tell you exactly what color it is because the multi-chrome effect has it constantly shifting. There are certainly green, gold, pink, bronze, and blue tones.

It has a look of mermaid tails, tropical fish scales, or the shiny metallic backs of jewel beetles. The irregular flakes remind me of gold leaf and since it’s not a traditional glitter, this one will be much easier to remove.

It’s not so much a polish you would wear alone and it looks best over dark colors. Static pictures really don’t do it justice.

Price: $12.50

Buy Brilliance by ILNP here.



Pros:

  • Shifting holographic chrome color
  • Easier to remove than confetti glitter

Cons:

  • Not great alone
  • Not for full glitter coverage

Find more Brilliance by ILNP information and reviews here.


12. Turn it Up by Orly

Image of multicolored glitter polish by Orly

(Amazon)

Turn it Up is a fun, non-reflective confetti glitter nail polish. It’s loaded with white micro-glitter and small and medium hexes in yellow, blue, purple, green, orange, and red. That’s the whole rainbow on your fingers.

The formula has a UV light inhibitor to keep sunlight from fading your color. I had this on for a week and I didn’t notice the colors dulling at all. This one works as a top coat and it can be worn alone. I personally like two coats over a black base.

I’ve found that the sponge trick with this polish affects its staying power, but the glitter is dense enough that you can get away with painting it on like a standard lacquer. At one coat, Turn it Up looks like party confetti. At two coats, it looks like candy.

Price: $8.50

Buy the Turn it Up by Orly here.



Pros:

  • All the colors of the rainbow
  • Works as a top coat or alone
  • UV light inhibitors protect color

Cons:

  • Textured, bumpy finish

Find more Turn it Up by Orly information and reviews here.


13. Pop the Bubbles by L’Oreal Paris

Image of shimmer blue glitter polish

(Amazon)

Pop the Bubbles is part of L’Oreal Paris’ Gold Dust collection and it’s chock full of micro-glitter and silver glitter that is just a little bit too big to be called micro-glitter.

What you get is a really gorgeous continuous shimmer like sunlight off water. It has a textured finish which feels a little sandy so if that’s not your jam, grab a top coat. This is definitely a polish you’d wear alone.

You get full coverage with one coat and two coats gets you the full shimmery effect. It dries extremely fast and has good staying power.

Price: $4.88 (30 percent off MSRP)

Buy Pop the Bubbles by L’Oreal Paris here.



Pros:

  • Only needs one to two coats
  • Loaded with small silver glitter and micro-glitter
  • Fast drying

Cons:

  • Sandy texture
  • Not for use over a base color

Find more Pop the Bubbles by L’Oreal Paris information and reviews here.


14. Lovely Jubbly by Butter London

Image of square purple and blue glitter polish

(butter LONDON)

This gorgeous jewel-tone lacquer is made up of purple, blue, and red reflective hexes with smaller gold circles in a clear base. The result is a gemstone appearance that looks good over many different color base coats.

It has a kaleidoscope feel to it when you turn your hand and the light catches all the separate colors. On its own, it’s a fairly thin polish and if you want to wear it alone, you’re best using the sponge trick I talked about in the introduction.

It does already have a high gloss, but a top coat would smooth over the slight textured finish and extend it’s lifespan. Lovely Jubbly is an eight-free formula and is infused with hydrolyzed silk, horsetail extract, and vitamin A, C, and E to strengthen nails.

Price: $15

Buy Lovely Jubbly by Butter London here.



Pros:

  • Multi-color jewel-tone
  • High quality, luxury brand
  • Contains vitamins and nail strengtheners
  • Perfect for over base colors

Cons:

  • Takes several coats to wear alone
  • Textured finish
  • Not as long lasting on its own

Find more Lovely Jubbly by Butter London information and reviews here.


15. Upside Round by KBShimmer

Image of pastel matte glitter polish

(KBShimmer)

If you haven’t found something playful enough on this list, Upside Round is as playful as it gets. It’s a clear base loaded with small and matte neon confetti glitter. You’ve got neon purple, yellow, orange, pink, green, and blue.

The glitter is slightly translucent so you get a neat effect when they overlap. There is also a little bit of red micro-glitter floating around in there and that contrast makes these polka dots more visually interesting.

This is going to have a bumpy finish so a top coat is a must. The glitter load is heavy and they tend to stick to each other so you’ll need to do a little manipulating with the brush to get your confetti where you want it. I love this one for spring and summer wear. It makes me smile just looking at it.

Price: $10

Buy Upside Round by KBShimmer here.



Pros:

  • Eye-catching
  • Unique micro-glitter and confetti circles
  • Long lasting
  • Only needs one coat

Cons:

  • Not best alone
  • Bumpy finish
  • Glitter needs to be positioned

Find more Upside Round by KBShimmer information and reviews here.


16. Diamond Theory – It Girl by Julep

Image of metallic copper glitter polish

(Julep)

Diamond Theory is a clear base packed with reflective metallic glitter of all sizes running in a gradient from micro glitter up to medium hexes. It’s less a gold like many we’ve seen and much more of a copper or bronze. It’s a warmer color compared to other metallic and reminds me of a night beside a fireplace, but maybe that’s just me.

Coming from Julep, you know the formula will be smooth and long lasting. It contains green coffee extract and hexanal to strengthen nails, is five-free, and vegan-friendly. It can be worn as a top coat and you’ll need two to three coats for full glitter coverage to wear it alone.

Price: $14

Buy Diamond Theory It Girl by Julep here.


Pros:

  • Multidimensional copper glitter
  • High quality brand
  • Contains strengtheners
  • Works as a top coat or alone

Cons:

  • Needs two to three coats for full coverage

Find more Diamond Theory It Girl by Julep information and reviews here.


17. Beyond the Mistletoe by Color Club

Image of Color Club blue glitter polish

(Amazon)

Here’s a holiday theme polish but unless you show everyone the bottom of the lacquer bottle, no one will know. Beyond the Mistletoe is a translucent blue base with holographic micro-glitter and holo-glitter than is just barely larger than micro-glitter.

It creates this solid sparkling effect where there are always specks ready to catch the light and throw little twinkling rainbows back at you. It can be worn as a top coat, but I think it looks best alone.

For full coverage on this one you definitely need two to three coats and it has a textured finish like most heavy glitters. This lacquer is three-free, vegan-friendly, and cruelty-free.

Price: $4.99 (38 percent off MSRP)

Buy Beyond the Mistletoe by Color Club here.



Pros:

  • Lots of tiny holographic sparkle
  • Gorgeous robin’s egg blue tint
  • Works as a top coat or alone

Cons:

  • Needs two to three coats when worn alone
  • Formula can be a little thick

Find more Beyond the Mistletoe by Color Club information and reviews here.


18. Alloy Matey by KBShimmer

Image of silver holographic nail polish

(KBShimmer)

Alloy Matey, besides having an awesomely punny name, contains dense micro-glitter with small holographic glitter that sparkles with tiny rainbows at every movement. This one works as a top coat or on its own for a glittery diamond look.

It will need two or more likely three coats to get full coverage on this one though. Like most micro-glitters, it has a gritty texture when dry, but a top coat can smooth that out and make the holographics even more brilliant.

Price: $10

Buy Alloy Matey by KBShimmer here.



Pros:

  • Great formula
  • Intense holographic sparkle
  • Works as a top coat or alone

Cons:

  • Needs at least two coats for full coverage
  • Gritty, textured finish

Find more Alloy Matey by KBShimmer information and reviews here.


19. Omg by Color Club

Image of pink color club emoji glitter nail polish

Amazon

For something fun and cheeky, go for Color Club’s Nailmoji Collection. This polish is called Omg and it’s a clear base filled with neon pink matte confetti glitter, white hearts, yellow smiley faces, white ghosts, red lips, and brown smiling poop emoji glitter.

Yup, there are little emoji poops in there and you can wear them on your nails. It’s funny, it’s cute, and it’s undeniably unique in a glitter.

The formula is great like you expect from Color Club, but you do have to do a little fishing to get out the glitter pieces that you want. That’s not unusual for this type of polish and it’s worth it for the finished manicure.

Price: $5.50

Buy Omg by Color Club here.


Pros:

  • Unique emoji glitter including smiley faces, lips, and poop
  • Trusted brand
  • Bright neon glitter

Cons:

  • Not to be used on its own
  • Have to fish for glitter

Find moreOmg by Color Club information and reviews here.


20. Olaf’s Snowflowers by Black Dahlia Lacquer

Image of milky white nail polish with gold holographic glitter

(Black Dahlia)

It’s got a wintry name, but it’s pretty enough to wear this sparkle all year long. Olaf’s Snowflowers is a creamy white base loaded with small and medium silver holographic hexes and small and large gold holographic hexes.

The result is a champagne bubbles look with serious shine. It’s smooth going on, but thicker than most which is good in that you need fewer coats. The polish is five-free, vegan-friendly, and cruelty-free. Plus, I love that Black Dahlia lacquers are handmade in small batches by a company started by a mother-daughter team.

Price: $9.50

Buy the Olaf’s Snowflowers by Black Dahlia Lacquer here.


Pros:

  • Silver and gold holographics
  • Thick, creamy base
  • Made by ethical, small family business

Cons:

  • Not to be used as a top coat
  • May be a little thick for some

Find more Olaf’s Snowflowers by Black Dahlia Lacquer information and reviews here.


See also:

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2 Comments

2 Comments

Polish Perfect

No 11 looks very interesting. I’d love to try it. I already have Essie’s rose gold glitters and they go perfectly with the same nail polish.

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