Types of Nail Polish Finishes

The many different types of nail polish finishes give you a ton of awesome ways to customize your daily look. Check out gel nail polish vs regular nail polish to choose the perfect medium for your nail art and get started creating your masterpiece! 

And if you’re wondering if gel nail polish is vegan, ORLY’s got you covered. Our entire range of nail polish is vegan and cruelty-free.

With us, you can create whatever look your heart desires.

20 Types Of Nail Polish Finishes

Crème/Cream Finish

The simplest look to date and the easiest to do, a crème nail polish finish is a solid color that comes in many different shades. This solid, opaque nail polish might require two coats to get the full color pay off. 

Sheer Finish

Sheer nail polish only has a small hint of color. Sheer nail polish is the perfect accent for a professional or effortless look. Sheer nail polishes are usually nudes or tinted with a pink pigment to create an almost translucent gloss. 

A sheer finish is timeless in its elegance. It’s by far one of the best gel looks out there. Because of what gel nail polish is made of, it creates a natural look that feels flexible. 

Matte Finish

what are types of nail polish finishes

Matte is described as being deprived of luster or gloss. And while most looks require a glossy shine, sometimes a smooth matte nail finish is the way to go. Matte coats tend to dry quickly. 

Don’t fret over the difference between nail polish and nail lacquer. This finish can be achieved with any type of nail polish, as long as it’s matte. 

Metallic Finish

Metallic finishes are super fun to create a steampunk or nightlife look. Metallic nail polish imitates the color and shine of metals with its reflective surface. Metallics come in gold, silver, and copper shades. 

Glitter Finish

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A glitter finish is a timeless and playful classic. Glitter nail polish is filled with sparkles and can add a fun touch to any nail look. A glitter polish can be worn on its own or could be used over another polish to add something extra to your nail art. 

Make sure to gently shake your nail polish before applying the glitter as the glitter tends to settle at the bottom of the bottle.

Chrome Finish

Like metallic finishes, a chrome finish imitates metal shades. But a chrome finish is a lot more vivid and reflective. The shine you can achieve with a chrome finish is something everybody should experience at least once. 

Chrome finish nail polish comes in silver, gold, rose gold, and copper shades. 

Textured Finish

A textured finish creates a 3D effect. Usually, a combination of sparkles and a grainy texture, the way it catches and reflects light makes a texture that is truly unique and fun for a nail look. Textured nail polishes tend to dry quickly so keep that in mind when doing nail art. 

Duochrome Finish

There are many types of nail polish but duochrome has to be one of the prettiest. With a duochrome finish, your nails polish will shift between two different colors, depending on how it catches the light. A beautiful emerald green nail polish can shift to rich gold in a second.  

Duochrome can come in many different shades with varying degrees of shine. 

Holographic Finish

Holographic polish has a massive following for its awesome ability to shift through all the colors of the rainbow when hit by light. Holographic nail polish comes in many different forms and is scattered, subtle, or linear. 

With awesome nail polishes like holographic polish, it makes one wonder what kind of paint is nail polish.  

Pearl Finish

Perfect Types of Nail Polish Finishes

Pearls are a timeless look and have to be one of the most elegant-looking nail polish finishes. A pearl finish is usually achieved with lighter shades that have a pearlescent effect on them. 

Jelly Finish

A jelly finish is a nail polish with a faded wash of color. It’s different from sheer nail polish as it can be bright colors and not just nudes or pinks. It leaves your nails with a wet-looking colorful gloss. A jelly finish is quite sheer and requires 3 to 4 coats to become an opaque color.

Suede Finish

A suede finish is what happens when a matte nail polish has a child with a shimmer nail polish. You still have the smooth matte texture but with the added sparkle of a shimmer. 

Neon Finish

For a vivid, bright pop of color go for a neon finish. Some people try to achieve this look with paint but the nail polish vs paint debate is especially true when trying to achieve the best neon nail. Neon nail polish tends to look creamy but it dries with a matte finish. 

Iridescent Finish

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An iridescent finish is similar to a duochrome look but not with such a clear shift in color. Instead, iridescent polish is usually applied over a base color that pops through. The perfect iridescent nail polish is our ORLY x Lisa Frank Star Glaze Topcoat

Flakes Finish

Different size/shape glitter flakes suspended in thick nail polish. The glitter is usually chrome, duochrome, or has a pearlescent shine. A flake finish looks the best when applied over another solid nail polish color.

Glass Finish

A jelly nail polish with small glass particles. A glass finish creates a very clean, glittery appearance. 

Thermal Finish

A thermal finish can be very fun. This finish changes color according to the surrounding temperature. It can be very fun, especially if you experience various temperatures during your day.

Satin Finish

A satin finish is a creamy, shinier matte finish. Satin finishes are simple and perfect for a timeless professional nail look. A satin finish is especially great as a gel, which can last up to 3 weeks. One of the many pros and cons of gel nail polish. 

Shattered Finish

A shatter or crackle nail polish is applied over an opaque base coat. When the shatter/crackle coat dries, it will leave you with a shattered appearance, like a dry desert landscape. It usually dries matte. 

Glow In The Dark Finish

different types of Nail Polish Finishes

One of the most fun types of nail polish finishes, glow-in-the-dark nail polish does exactly as the nail suggests. “Charged” by UV light, it will light up when in the dark and shine under black light to give your nails a crazy look that shines even in the dark.

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