Terms & Techniques

A handy list of nail polish terms, abbreviations, finishes and techniques. This is a continuing work in progress and the nail polish world is always evolving.

Advanced Stamping - Is a lot like reversed stamping but you do this one entirely on the stamper head.
Alcohol Spray Manicure
Blobbicure - is a nail art technique, where dots or mosaics shapes are created by dropping blobs of polish.
BNNU - Brand New Never Used
BNWS - Brand New With Seal
Cherry Blossoms - Nail art created to look like a cherry blossom.
Chevron -Nail art created using a v shape design using individual V's. 
Cinderella Hand - The hand that does all the work and gets none of the credit. Typically your non-dominant hand. Sometimes referred to as Cindy.
Color Blocking- involves painting neat geometric shapes on each fingernail, using different colored polishes.
Crelly- A hybrid polish that's half creme and half jelly. Often times mixed with medium to large glitters.
Creme- A pure color nail polish without embellishment from shimmer or glitter.
DISO - Desperately in Search of
Double Stamping 
Drip Marble
Dry Brush Technique
Dry Marble 
Duochrome - A nail polish that shifts between two colors with the reflection of light.
Dupe - An exact match to another polish in color and finish. If there are any differences it is not a dupe.
Dusty - An older nail polish that has sat around in the store long enough to collect dust.
Fan Brush Manicure
Fishtail Manicure
Free Hand Nail Art
Flakie - A jelly based nail polish with fine usually opal-like particles of irregular size. The particles are typically larger than what you would find in a glass fleck finish.
Fluid Nail Art
Foil- Metallic finish nail polish with the addition of fine glitters.
French Manicure
Frost- A fine shimmery nail polish often having an icy look to them.
Funky French - A french manicure style but with different colors than the traditional pink and white. Can also have a slightly different angle at the tips than the traditional french manicure.
Galaxy Nails
Glass Fleck- Nail polish containing small particles of glitter often mixed in a jelly base.
Glitter Bomb - A nail polish with little to no color in the base. The color you see on the nail is created by the different glitters typically of multiple sizes and or colors.
Half Moon
Helmer - A piece of furniture found at Ikea similar to a file cabinet that works perfectly for storing nail polish.
Iridescent- This nail polish has a flash of color with the reflection of light but is less obvious than that of a duochrome.
ISO - In Search Of.
Jelly-A glaze like nail polish that dries to a squishy looking finish.
Jelly Sandwich-A manicure done with layering glitters between layers of jelly nail polish.
Leadlight Technique - Is the technique of using transparent jellies, alcohol inks, or watercolors to color in open images stamped in a darker opaque polish.
Lemming - A nail polish that you want badly but have been unable to get. Usually, a polish that is no longer sold.
Linear Holographic - A nail polish containing very fine rainbow pigments known as spectra flare showing a rainbow effect with the reflection of light.
Mannequin hands - A nude polish that matches your skin tone giving the appearance of being a mannequin.
Matte- A nail polish with a lack of shine.
Mermaid Nails
Metallic - A nail polish containing no glitter or shimmer but gives your nails a smooth almost mirror-like look.
Multichrome - A Nail polish that shifts between 3 or more colors with the reflection of light.
Multi-colored stamping
Needle Drag
Neon- More a reference to the color than a nail polish finish. Neons are brightly pigmented nail polish. Often neon nail polish with glow under a black light.
Negative Space Manicure
Neon Gradient
Newspaper Nails
One Stroke Flower
Pearl-A pearly sheened nail polish with a satin appearance.
Pond Manicure
Reciprocal gradient
Reverse Stamping -Is a lot like leadlighting in the sense that you are stamping an image and filling in the open space. The big difference is that you are using opaque colors to fill in effectively covering up your base color.
Ruffian - A backward french manicure.
Satin- This nail polish has a slight shine but no shimmer sometimes referred to as a demi-matte.
Saran Wrap Manicure
Scattered Holographic - A nail polish containing very fine rainbow pigments know as spectra flare showing a rainbow of colors scattered over the nail with the reflection of light.
Serio Type
Sharpie Manicure
Sheer - A nail polish that's half transparent but can be built up to full opacity with multiple coats.
Shimmer- Nail Polish with fine metallic or sparkly particles mixed evenly within the base color.
Skittles Manicure - Each nail is painted with a different color.
Smoosh Base Manicure
Specialty Polish -A nail polish that has a chemical reaction when layered over another polish. These reactions can be to crack or split apart.
Suede- A nail polish with a lack of shine but has a hint of shimmer.
Sugar Spun
Tape Manicure - A style of manicure where tape is used to create the design. This can be done using scotch tape, painters tape or striping tape. 
Textured Gradient - A gradient created using textured nail polish.
Undies - A color of polish painted underneath another color to help with opacity. White is used mainly under neons to make them look brighter.
Water Color Manicure
Watermarble - A nail art technique that uses drops of polish in a cup of water to create a marble look. 
Vintage  Rose Manicure
VNL- Visible Nail Line
Zig-Zag Manicure - A continuous line of peaks and valleys to create a pattern. Often confused for a Chevron.

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