In the nail polish community we call it "crackle" others might now it by "shatter". I don't care what we call it, but it's highly addictive and I can't stop playing with it.
Crackle or Shatter polish is a topcoat that shrinks when it dries to leave a shattered layer. It is applied on top of a "normal" nailpolish. The shattering creates a pattern that looks somewhat like an animal print, leaving the base color underneath peek trough.
OPI by Katy Perry Black Shatter over Nfu.Oh 61
Eversince OPI and Katy Perry announced their collaboration that includes a Black Shatter, the hype around crackle polish is exploding. I was lucky enough to have crackle polish experience for a few months now and I discovered some tips and tricks I want to share with you.
Apply the shatter on a dry manicure
Make sure your colored polish is completely dry before you apply the Black Shatter. If you apply the Shatter on a semi-dry polish, you will not get that nice animal print look but ugly thick streaks.
Example of Shatter polish on top of thick layers of semi-dry base. In the proces of shattering, the crackle fragments adhere to the semi dry layers, tearing them apart. Do not want!
Example of crackle applied over a thin layer of semi-dry base polish.
The crackle layer shrinks into weird strings. Do not want as well!
Can you wear crackle/shatter polish by itself?
The answer is; yes, you can. But it won't crackle. It would just be a chalk board like streaky, thin layer. SO probably not a good idea.
Shatter and crackle polish dries super fast. You would want to apply it very quickly. Very quickly. Í reccomend not to even re-dip the brush, that takes too long.
Quick dry topcoat
Be aware when you dry your base mani with a quick dry topcoat before applying a shatter. I didn't like the patterns the crackle made when I applied it over my quick dry topcoat (I use Seche Vite). Quick dry topcoats dry to a glass-like finish and I wouldn't be suprised if Seche Vite leaves an oily residue on the nail after it has dried. Either way, it makes the surface of the nail so smooth that the shatter won't have enough grip to shatter in a nice pattern.
Ugly patterns over quick dry topcoat. The shatters fall apart in string like pieces. Not so pretty.
Experiment with the amount of Shatter polish on your brush when you apply. When you apply a thin layer you will get a fragile fine craquelé look. On the other hand, when you apply too much, the Shatter will "break" into huge pieces. Personally I like to apply the Shatter like this: I take the brush out of the bottle but I don't swipe away the excess of one side of the brush.
Also, I found that the more "grip" the base polish has, the better the crackles are. For instance; holographic or semi bumpy glitter polishes display a more linear shatter (the Leopard and the Turtle) as opposed to creme, glass-like polishes (they tend to display either the Giraffe of the Tread/String like shatter)
|The turtle has a linear pattern |
of medium sized shatters. You create this by
applying a medium to thick layer of shatter.
|The Giraffe has big, bold patches of shatter in a random pattern. |
It allows a lot of base color peek through. Create this by
applying a very thick layer of shatter. If your shatter
is too runny, leave the cap of for a while to thicken it's formula.
After the Shatter has crackled, I like to be precise with my clean up. The crackle look is funky and can crackle all it wants on the nail, but because it is so "out there" it can easliy end up looking trashy. So I make sure my cuticles are clean. I use a thin brush dipped in acetone.Have a look at my tutorial if you want to see how this works.
The Black Shatter dries up matte. I do like the contrast of the sparly, shiny base color peeking trough the matte crackle but you can also apply a regular topcoat on top to add shine. This will also deepen the black of the Shatter itself.
Shatter polish without topcoat
The same manicure as above topped off with a shiny topcoat
Crackle or Shatter polish will thicken after a few uses. You can apply a few drops of nail polish thinner but never, EVER use polish remover for this purpose. It will destroy your polish.