Enhancing Your Manicures with Special Effect Top Coats


As promised here on the Nail Buff Blog this month, we are focussing on affordable nails, which also includes products which are friendly on the purse transforming your manicures this January. While picking up a new bargain polish is great, wouldn’t you rather add something into your nail polish wardrobe which will re-invent your manicures?

I am all for investing in your stash, with a selection of these manicure enhancing polishes, which mixed with other shades you already own can create another unique polish look.

By the time you have picked up a small selection of the polishes I have featured in this post, your manicure possibilities are endless. Especially with all the various combinations you could create!




And they are not expensive polishes to pick up either! All this hawking about looking for polish bargains is paying off, this post practically wrote itself! I found alot of these polishes on my travels, within the last month.

You may already have some of these polishes in your own collection. Some of them have been around a while, but it’s time to dig them out if they have become forgotten.

This post is perfect for those of you strapped for time and need to update their manicure quickly.  A quick coat of polish, you can transform your manicure into something new!


Textured Polishes


When adding an extra layer of polish to revive your manicure, texture is your friend. The majority of these polishes in the post change the look of the surface of the nail.


Probably the oldest ways of doing this is with glitter polish formulas. A quick layer of a chunky glitter or micro glitter will save you changing your manicure. It will change the manicure appearance depending on the colour of the glitter and undertone of your original polish.

You may already have a glitter in your collection, if not try Barry M or Essence for a budget glitter! Also Holographic glitters can add a unique look also!



Lace/Feather/Sand Effects

In the same way as Glitter, other texturised polishes like these effect polishes, add a layer of texture to manicure depending on effect type and how you apply.

For these special effect top coats, I like Nails Inc Special Effect polishes. I own their Lace and Feather effect top coats which look really pretty above all kinds of colour.

For all these effects and more, try Essence’s range. They cater for all these looks and more on a shoestring!





Shatter Polishes

Another old school way of adding texture is with Shattering polishes which were very popular a few years back. A quick layer of this applied to your manicure will appear to shatter, leaving a intricate design and update your look.

Also try mock croc shatters and leather effect polishes, for a similar chic update to your manicure.

For this look on a budget, Barry M do a selection of these polishes.




Magnetic Polishes

For more texture, another nail trend a few years ago was the magnetic polish trend. These are interesting addition to your manicure and are fun to play with, using the magnets to create unique design on the nails. You could apply this above a standard colour and the iron filings in magnetic polish will leave the design above your original manicure shade.

For a splurge, try Nails Inc’s magnetic polishes! Or to save the pennies, Essence do a very inexpensive magnetic polish!





Another way of changing the look of your manicure is using various topcoats with varying colour effects.


Matte Top Coat

A Matte topcoat is a really cool way of changing your manicure, applied all over the nail will give your polish a matte polish appearance.

Alternatively you could apply it to the tips to give a matte french manicure appearance or applied with a nail art brush you could come up with a pattern or design. This topper I find really handy and can be applied over pretty much over any polish type with varying result.

These matte topcoats can be found from most brands, my favourite is Sally Hansen’s the Big Matte Top Coat.




Iridescent/Shimmer Toppers

Another topcoat which you can create polish cocktails with is a shimmery or iridescent topper. These applied over pretty much any polish can also change the appearance and save you redoing a whole manicure, just like magic. I like to use cool undertone polishes over warmer colours and vice versa, for a cool polish cocktail.

For a budget iridescent topper, try No7 Stay Perfect Nail Polish in the shade In the Stars, one of my favourites for this purpose.




Sheer Colour Tints

Sheer Colour Tints are another way of adding a hint more colour to your manicure. They marry bright colour jelly nail polish with a high gloss top coat to create a new look to your mani.

My favourites are OPI’s Sheer Tint Top Coats which can be used either solo, for a sheer wash of colour, applied above another shade for a shade altering top coat, or for watercolour nail art designs and they come in 4 shades. Perfection!





Ombre Top Coat

Another topcoat that works in a similar way is an Ombre top coat, where in your manicure you can either apply across each nail to darken a polish shade, apply across the lengths of the nails e.g. Dab on the tips to darken them and sponge in between to blend them.

Or for an ombre nails manicure, add one extra layer for each addition finger for ombre nails across the hand in different shades.

Try Catrice’s Ombre Top coat for this!



Glow in the Dark Top Coat

Glow in the Dark topcoat is another polish I have also come across in recent times with all my budget polish hauling. Up until then I had only seen this in various neon polishes but now it’s available to apply above all of your manicure shades. Perfect if you going to a rave or festival, making your manicure glow! You could even create a design which only appears as light disappears!

For glow in the dark top coats, Essence Glow In the Dark Top Coat is perfect for this, for glow in the dark nails at a snip!





Well there was my round up of all the many ways of enhancing your manicure using one coat of polish! With all the different top coats available, you are sure to find a way to update your manicures.

Check them out and see what different looks are the most you! The good news is most of these polishes are fairly affordable.

This gives us all no excuses not always to try a new look this year and revamp your polish stash!


What are you favourite ways of enhancing your manicures? Have you tried any of the polishes above? Let me know in the Comments below.