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#-Free: When a nail polish is 3, 4, 5 etc. free, it means their formula does not contain some of the most harmful ingredients that are commonly found in nail polish.

Big 3 (also know as Toxic Trio): Dibutyl Phthalate  (DBP), Formaldehyde and Toluene.

Capping: Capping is done to help with the longevity of your manicure. Simply, drag the nail polish brush at an angle over the edge/ tip of your nails.

Clean-Up: Using a brush (makeup or nail brush) to wipe away the excess nail polish on your cuticles or around your nailbeds to create a smooth, clean line.

Core: A nail polish that is permanently part of a brand’s line and unlikely to be discontinued.

Cruelty Free: Not tested on animals, but not that same thing as Vegan.

Destash: A sale where the owner sells their new or lightly used nail polish.

Double Stamping: A technique where a nail art stamping tool is used to layer designs on top of each other.

Dry Brush: A technique where the majority of the nail polish is wiped off the brush before dragging it across the top of the nail. This creates a distressed, cracked look.

Dry Marble:  A technique where polish is haphazardly blobbed onto the nail and then smudged with a piece of plastic to emulate the look of marble. Duochrome:  A polish that shifts between two colors depending on the angle and lighting.

Dupe:   A duplicate nail polish color. For example Brett by Zoya is a dupe for Social Studies by Olive & June.  

Finish:  The texture or appearance of the nail polish once it is dry.

  • Crelly (Crème-Jelly): A type of nail polish finish that is a bit sheer, but opaque enough to cover the nail line. It is often squishy-looking and jelly-like in appearance. 

  • Crème: A type of nail polish finish that is opaque in 1-2 coats. 

  • Frost:   A type of nail polish finish that has a frosted appearance. 

  • Foil:   A type of nail polish finish that is metallic in appearance with tiny glitters. It looks a bit reflective on the nails, kind of like aluminum foil.

  • Holo (Holographic):   A type of nail polish finish that is reflective or looks different from every angle. Holo’s contain specialized micro-particles that create a sparkly, multi-colored rainbow effect. The rainbow effect can be either scattered or linear.

    • Linear Holo: The particles in linear holo’s are packed together tightly, so that the rainbow appears linear and uniform.

    • Scattered Holo: The particles in scattered holo’s are dispersed, so that the rainbow appears throughout the whole bottle

  • Matte:  A type of nail polish finish is dull and non-glossy appearance.

  • Metallic:   A type of nail polish finish that is shiny and mirror/ metal-like in appearance.  

  • Multichrome: A type of nail polish finish that shifts between multiple colors.

  • Pearl: A type of nail polish finish that has a slightly reflective, iridescent quality. The overall look resembles a pearl.

  • Satin: A type of nail polish finish that give the polish a matte finish, but slightly shinier.

  • Sheer: A type of nail polish finish that is intended to be transparent and glossy when applied. 

  • Shimmer: A type of nail polish finish that has a crème base with certain amounts of small glitters in it. Not to be confused with glitter, which is a type of nail polish.

Flakes/Flecks:  Small, asymmetrical glitters found in nail polish.

Foil Method:   A removal technique used to remove glitter or gel nail polish by placing an acetone-soaked cotton ball on your nails, wrapping your nails in foil to secure the cotton ball, then waiting 10-15 minutes for the acetone to set.

Formula:   Refers to how well or poorly the nail polish applies to your nails.

Free Edge: The tip of your nail that extends beyond your finger.

Glitter:   A type of nail polish that has glitter in it, often with a clear or tinted base. Not to be confused with shimmer, which is a type of finish.

Gradient:  A type of nail art that begins with one colors, seamlessly blending into another color. This can be done with 2 or multiple colors.

Indie Polish:  A genre of nail polish brand that are independently-owned and operated. Usually, the nail polish is handmade/ hand-mixed and made in smaller batches.

ISO:  In Search Of  

Latex: A nail polish product that is painted around the nail to protect the skin. It is peeled off after painting and is often used when creating nail art.

Mainstream:   Nail polish that is easily accessible and sold in drug-stores/ department stores by large companies such as OPI, Essie, Sally Hensen, etc.

Nail Polish Haul:   Usually purchasing a large amount of nail polish or nail related items all at once.

Negative Space Mani: Negative space mani’s incorporate your natural nail into the design and include other design elements.

NOTD: Nails Of The Day

NP:  Nail Polish

Ombre:  A type of nail art that is achieved by using 5 nail polishes in the same color family whereby each nail is painted a different color in order of lightest to darkest.

Shrinkage:  When the nail polish or top coat shrinks and lifts away from the free edge of the nail making your nail polish look already worn.

Skittle: A manicure where each nail is painted a different color.

Stamping: A technique where a design is transferred from a stamper to your nail.

Stash:   A person’s nail polish collection.

Striping Tape: Thin, colored tape used to create clean, precise lines.

Swatch: A swatch is usually worn briefly and with the purpose of showing viewers (through social media pages, website or blog) how a certain nail polish colors looks on the nail.

Nail Wheel: A plastic wheel with multiple false nails attached to display nail polish colors.

TC: Top Coat

Texture: A type of nail polish finish that is meant to provide a 3-dimensional look. There are many types of texture one can achieve like sandpaper, leather or flakies.

Thermal: A type of nail polish that changes color when exposed to heat or cold.

Untried(s): Nail polish that has not been worn or used.

Vegan: The product does not contain any animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients. This does not mean the product is cruelty free. It is possible for a product to be vegan, but not cruelty free and it is possible for a product to be cruelty free, but not vegan.

VNL: Visible Nail Line

Watermarble: A technique where droplets of nail polish are dropped into water and swirled together to create a pattern. Nails are then submerged to transfer the design from the water’s surface to the nail.

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