Nail ABC

Here are a little list to help you through the different expressions and abbrevations we use for nailpolish, nailart and other nail-releated things within our communities. Enjoy!

Ingredients in nail polish:

3-Free - Nail Polishes contains no Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, or Formaldehyde
4-Free - Nail Polishes contains no Dibutyl Phthalate, Toulene, Formalehyde or Camphor
5-Free - Nail Polishes contains no Dibutyl Phthalate, Toulene, Formalehyde, Camphor or Resin
Cruelty Free - Nail Polishes never tested on animals.

Nail polish finishes:

Take a look at this link from Lacquerized - it has a wonderful overview over the different types of finishes that are avaialble.

Stamping tips & tricks:

You don't need special stamping polish to stamp. At sassestampingstampede there is a list of polishes that are good for stamping.

There are a lot of great turorial videos for both beginners and other on Youtube.

Manicure - Step by step:


In Norwegian, written by a nail technician/skin therapeut for Norway Nails: Link to article.

Different explanations of expressions and abbrevations:

Acetone - Ingredient in many nail polish removers and thinners.
Aqua Base - A special basecoat that is used for special holographic polishes
Basecoat - Always use a basecoat to protect your nails from the polish. It also makes it last longer
Buffer - Sort of a file you use to get your nails smooth and shiny, only recommended to use as little as possble
Cleanup Brush - A brush that's used to dip in acetone to clean up cuticles after painting your nails. Many use an ordinary make-up brush.
CP - Custom Purchase - When you ask someone to buy something special that you can't get a hold of yourself
Discontinued - Product that are for some reason not produced longer
Drugstore - Usually the cheaper brands that you can get in shops like H&M, Gina Tricot and others department stores.
Dry Drops - Drops you can put over the polish to make it dry faster
Dry Spray - Spray that you can spray over polish to make it dry faster
ETF - Easy to Find
Fimo - This comes either in long 4-5 cm. sticks or slices to use for easy nail art.
Fish-egg mani - Manicure that are inspired by Ciates Caviar nails, usually people buy the little pearls at craft stores or on Ebay.
Foil - This is a foil that can be applied either over a basecoat or a color for an amazing effect. Easy nail art. Special base required.
Foil-method - Method for removing glitter bombs by using cotton balls and acetone, put them on nails for a while with aluminum foil over.
French - Manicure with a different color just on top of your nails
Gel polish - Polish that can last for weeks using special polish and a LED or UV lamp.
Glitter bomb - Expression used for glitter polishes that are very sparkly and usually a pain to remove
Gradient - Manicure that gets a gradient look by sponging diffferent color of nail polish on to eachother, usually in the same colorgroup
Half-moon manicure - Sort of a backwards french, but formed as a half moon, by using stickers to get the effect
Helmer - Drawer cabinet from IKEA, most of the nail polish collector uses them for their collections
High-End - The more expencive brands like Chanel or Dior.
HTF - Hard to Find
Indie - Independent brand, independant polish makers who usually blends their products at home
Jelly - Finish that has to be layered in several layers before it's completely opaque, it's nice to make a Jelly Sandwich with it(read below)
Jelly Sandwich - Usually a layer of jelly polish with glitter and another layer of jelly on top.
Layering - To layer several different colors/finishes over each other for a unique color effect
LE - Limited Editon - Often just available in a short period of time until the supplier runs out of stock.
Lemming - When you are wishing very hard for a nail polish (yes, the word is also an animal....)
Lemony Flutter - Cuticle cream you can buy at Lush stores that are highly recommended by many
Mainstream - Polish you can find "everywhere" that are produced in larger factories
MUA - Make Up Alley - US forum with a "NB=Nail Board", where everyone is crazy for polish
Nail wheel - For testing, training and displaying colors without taking it on your nail. Sort of a wheel with fake nails.
NOTD - Nail of the Day - showing off what you have on your nails by adding a picture to you blog/page/instagram or wherever :)
Ombre - Manicure when you have different colors on every finger just in the same color palette but from light to darker
One-coater - Polish that it only takes one coat to get opaque.
Orange stick - The little wooden sticks that can be used for everything. To make them last longer, use sand paper to file them down.
Palette Cleaner - Expression used to take on a neutral color after a long time with glitter or strong colored polishes
Peel-off basecoat - Basecoat that you can just peel off your nail, many also uses ordinary hobby glue for this
Scrubby Tub - Kind of a little tub filled with remover that you can use to remove difficult glitter.
Shake vs. Roll - Some independant brands recommend that instead of shaking the polish before use, rolling it between your hands are better.
Skittles - When you wear different colors on each finger
Spectraflair - Holographic pigment often used in car paint. Used to create the most amazing holographic effects in nail polish.
Stash - A collection of nail polish and supplies
Stamping - To stamp with plates and a stamper on your nails, there are thousands of motives to choose from
Suspension Base - The base that polish makers use when they start making a new polish before adding powder, micas, glitters and more.
SV - Seche Vite (the most popular and recommended topcoat that are easily available).
Swapping - Many in the communities swap polishes for other polishes. It's fun!
Swatchstickles - For testing a color against another or just to practice nail art for display.
Thinner - Use thinner to repair old gloppy polish and polish that are thick. Can also be used on thick glitter polish.
Taco glitter - Glitter that kind of forms to a taco-shape and are impossible to get to lay flat on the nail
Tipwear - When the polish starts to peel off on the tips.
Topcoat - Always use at least one layer of topcoat over your finished manicure to get the manicure to last longer.
Unicorn Pee - A very popular name for the Clarins 230, a discontinued polish that are VHTF and is sold for extreme sums on Ebay
VHTF - Very Hard to Find
Water Marble - Using water and nail polish to get a marbel like look, this can be quite messy and hard to do.

Nail art tips & tricks:

I highly recommend to watch nail art tutorials for inspiration on Youtube.