Thursday, January 6, 2011

Part 1 - Crackle Nail Polish: technique and tips

Crackle nail polishes are a kind of polish, which makes your coloured polish looking *vintage*, for example you can see it on old furniture. As a layer over a coloured polish it cracks when its drying and so you can see the colour layer underneath. Crackle is nothing new, but HOT! For years it was very difficult to research and find a brand to buy it from, but since nearly one year there come more and more brands with crackle polish on the market.

There are a bunch of quality differences. Two years ago I tried some different brands to find a good one, but the results were disillusioning. Some of them show off NO crackle effect, or they were not opaque and dense enough to cover the colour underneath, and worst result was - they still fall off: without top coat anyway and also the lightweight application of it smudges and peel them! So because of this I decided at this point to add no crackle coat into my shop.

But now there comes the good news: LCN added a range of 7 professional quality colours into the product line: White John (White), Black Jack (Black), Yellow Kim (Bright Yellow), Red Cheyenne (Fiery Red), Green Paul (Cool Green) and Blue Linda (Royal Blue). I swatched them all and you will see them in part 2 of this blog posting, but first I want to give you some additional informations and tips to handle crackle polish:

You can wear crackle either alone for everybody who dont want to have strong contrast or over EVERY coloured nail polish. Wear your regular polish in two coats to get an even, dense layer underneath.

Some tips for application:

* make sure you have enough polish on the brush and work from one side to another. Don't polish like normal tip - middle - side - side!

* don't press too strong and polish with a light hand.

* Leave both side free of coloured polish, but polish over also this part with the crackle polish - crackle shrinks when its drying and if you don't apply it on the sides the effect is concentrated in the middle, which looks a bit ridiculous, when the sides have too much free space without crackle!

* The colour polish must be completely dry when you apply the crackle!

* Work and apply the crackle polish quick - if not, the solvents will also soften the colour underneath and smudge it, especially on combinations of dark polish and bright crackle!

* Base Coat - I tried different brands and kinds: without, with normal Base Coat and with Ridgefiller, my result: I like the one with Ridgefiller the most, in my eyes it provides the most even and flawless surface! But maybe you have different experiences, so then I appreciate your comments!

The crackle effect is visible in milliseconds - you can watch it shrinking and crackle the pattern! When its dried it is matte and almost chalky.

Normally you apply just one coat, most of the times a second looks not sooo pretty. Please choose by application of this two kinds of crackle: a thin application causes fine lines and hair cracks, a saturated, thicker coat will show bigger cracks:

Crackle polish on Ridgefiller - left/ring finger: thicker, right/middle finger: thin application

Finally you can seal your art work with Top Coat. Choose depending on your taste matte or shiny. Personal I like also to leave it like it is: a shiny coloured polish underneath and the chalky crackle polish on top. Interesting because the reflections are different, but with one disadvantage: it won't last so long as with Top Coat!

The colour combinations - the strongest ones are with cold / warm or bright / dark colours. For myself I like also the matching shades of brighter pairs, its also an everyday-look. Or maybe you want to try this: a French Crackle Manicure:

Black Crackle for the *Smile Line*, French Polish: ORLY - Je T'aime

OK, this was enough theory - see and follow to part 2 now the colours...


  1. I have some of that but mine doesn't crackle that much.

    1. Hi, to get it to crackle, you have to paint **UPWARDS** a few times and then it will begin to look like its mixing, then you spread it again **UPWARDS** then it should be better :)

  2. mine does not crackel very much either. It is also quite runny, which makes it quite difficult to paint on evenly. I suggest a darker, more neutral colour underneath and a sparkly/glittery opaqueish crackle on top, that way both will stand out no matter how dense you paint it on.

  3. I Bought the Crackle in plain black and I absolutely love it, I wear it all the time. Mine is a little thick and took me several tries to get the right way and speed to do it and have it look nice. But i still go middle side side.

  4. Mine sucks. It does NOT look as good as that.

  5. mine sucks too, i just cant seem to get it right

  6. Great tips! I've shared your site and tips on my e-store Would you be willing to try our new crackle nail polish and write a review? I think you will love it. :)

  7. I will definitely remember these techniques and tips. I love to learn to apply this kind of nail polish effectively.

  8. i just bought red crackle nd put blck on underneath nd it looks burgendy:/

  9. i have dark blue and it works wonderfully!!!

  10. Thank you so much for this idea! I made up a bottle and I am very happy with it. I keep a separate bottle of pure acetone, which I use to wipe down my nails before polishing. Again - awesome science here:
    Matte nail polish