Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Rant & Rave


Your Mission: Tell us what you love, hate, or are otherwise indifferent to about jelly nail polishes. What drives you bananas? What makes them necessary?

my answer: I love how squishy they look! I’m not a huge fan of sheer polish overall, though some shades I like, so I love jelly finishes that are more opaque.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

51 thoughts on “Rant & Rave: Jelly Nail Polishes

  1. This is intriguing! Never heard of Jelly Nail Polishes, is this just out in the US? Love to know more

    •  @ADBeauty Jelly is a nail polish finish (not a brand) that dries to a glass like shine. They are extremely glossy though the downside is that they are often quite sheer (3 coats of polish is what I generally use for a typical jelly). Hope that helps!

  2. Dinitchka

    I’ve been in LOVE with Jelly polishes!! Especially for ‘Jelly Sandwiches’!! So many creative combos can be made and it’s a good way to use a polish you may not particular like the colour of.

  3. Naz

    I love them!! They certainly take more effort, but the depth and squishy finish is so worth it. Plus, they’re so great for layering over glitters!

  4. Dinitchka

    I’ve been in LOVE with Jelly polishes!! Especially for ‘Jelly Sandwiches’!! So many creative combos can be made and it’s a good way to use a polish you may not particularly like the colour of. I also am a fan of the way the polish looks … so squishy *YaY!*

  5. I like them on very short nails and preferably in summery colours. :)

  6. yellowlantern

    As long as it’s not a very dark color (I think dark, sheer color is less attractive) I love the sheerness that usually goes along with jelly finishes. I think bright colors or neutrals look the best in jelly finishes. To me the sheerness just adds to how squishy they look. 
    To me jelly finishes are cute! 

  7. Marian57

    Jelly nail polishes are my favorites! I love the “almost” sheerness and intense shine!

  8. ellyp

    I LOVE them! I like how fresh they look. I am not one of those people who get upset when my nail line shows. I actually like it when it shows because it sort of looks like I am not too dressed up. Can someone please explain why people get so unhappy when a nailpolish is too sheer that the nail line shows? I can see being annoyed if the bottle looks like this great color and it turns out to be very sheer — especially if I pay a lot for a bottle. Hmmm, come to think of it, I think I would be annoyed if I bought a bottle of Chanel nailpolish and it did that!

    • queen_frostine

      I don’t know, to me it’s just like seeing a visible panty line through someone’s skirt or pants.  It’s not a look I find attractive. 

      • ellyp

         @queen_frostine LOL! Ok, that’s a good picture of why some people don’t like jelly polishes! Just for the record, I might like jelly polishes but I totally dislike panty lines! :)

      •  @queen_frostine I cracked up when I read this!  For me, I would get all obsessed about having a perfect nail line and be a bit OCD cleaning my nails constantly to avoid any spec of dirt showing.     

        • queen_frostine

           @wwendalynne There’s that too!  My nail polish obsession grew out of my trying to manage my ultra bad habit of biting and picking at my nails.  The more I can see of my nails, the more i’m likely to fiddle with them in a way that’s not good for my overall nail health. and so sheer polishes are not good for me!  And yes, being able to see my nail line makes me neurotic about dirt or how my nail line isn’t in a perfect curve or what not.  Fully opaque nails are just easier for my peace of mind!

        •  @queen_frostine Me too..I keep nail enamel on my nails so I don’t pick at them either.. instead, I tend to pick on the skin around my nails which is just as bad.  LoL 

  9. xamyx

    I don’t have a strong opinion either way, other than I prefer “classic” shedes in general (for myself). Maybe it’s due to my age, or what I’ve grown up with, but I’m personally just not a fan of any of the recent nail fads for anyone out of school. I’m not saying bright and/or dramatic shades are not wearable, I just like a more classic finish.

    •  @xamyx I know..  I buy these ‘different’ nail polishes thinking I am going to love them and I get them on my nails and think ‘meh’..They just are not me!   Meanwhile, I wear that Dior ice blue and it looks very current and super elegant and that I can love.  Oh, and I received Frenzy last week and it’s perfect!  Perfect!!

      • xamyx

        @wwendalynne I’ll do the occasional metallic or glitter, but for the most part, I stick to cremes, and usually in a beige or red. I’ll wear something “fancy” for special, rare occasions.

        •  @xamyx  I used to only wear either super light almost white colours or really dark colours almost black and deep deep reds, but I’ve expanded my repertoire and I really into blue on my nails, but I’m self-employed so the boss doesn’t mind.. <grin>  I’ve tried a number of polishes recently with lots of bling, but never as far as flakies, and I don’t care for nails where there is just too much going on.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise for me, since I’m no part of a busy dresser either.  Polishes with texture drive me nuts and I compulsively run my fingers over my nails over and over again.  I will not buy another.  I really do like China Glaze ‘I’m not Lion’ but I drive myself insane and actually wear the polish off from my OCD.  

  10. sabammann

    I’d love to try jelly polishes but I don’t know how to identify them, I guess? Are they usually labelled as jelly finishes? Or can you tell by looking at the bottle? Is it just a trend that hasn’t arrived in Switzerland, yet?
    Incidentally, can anyone recommend a true red jelly polish? (Preferably not too expensive)

    • queen_frostine

      @sabammann Jellies are just semi-sheer polishes, and no they’re usually not marked as such. The only Jelly polishes I can think of that might be available in Switzerland are OPI’s most recent soft shades collection and a few from their 2011 Texas collection. You can easily make your own jelly finished polishes though by mixing a regular polish (cream or shimmer would work. Wouldn’t use a frost or metallic) with clear polish. The ratio of color to clear would vary based on the polish you use and your person taste, but I’d start with 3 parts color to 1 part clear and go from there.

    • sanguine13

       @sabammann Essie’s Jelly Apple is my favourite jelly red polish, and it’s opaque in 2-3 coats :)

    • Sam

       @sabammann One way you can tell whether a polish is going to have a jelly finish is to tip it to the side. If you can see that the polish in the bottle looks “watery” (either by seeing the consistency as it tips over or by looking for the balls rolling down the side), then it’s going to be a jelly. Cremes/polishes in a creme base are thicker, which is why they build opacity in fewer shades.

  11. I don’t like jelly finishes at all, I feel like those polishes often tend to be on the thicker side, and I don’t like sheer nail colors. The only jellies I consider are the ones containing sparkles or loaded with shimmer, or the most opaque ones.

  12. Maya

    LOVE LOVE LOVE jelly nail polishes!

  13. I’m not a fan of VNL or sheer looks, so I usually pass on jellies. I tend to like them more in the summer because the color is so great and juicy looking. But I don’t own any! 

  14. queen_frostine

    I have a love/hate relationship with jellies. On one hand, they’re fun for layering (especially over glitters!) and I do love the glossy/squishy look they produce, but I loathe VNLs too much to bother with them most of the time. If I can still see my nail line after 3 coats, it’s usually not worth the effort. Too many coats, and your nails start looking oddly puffy.

  15. Pami

    I like bright jellies in the summer. Can someone please clue me in as to what “squishy” means in this context? Like I think a silicone breast implant would be “squishy”, ROTFL, I know that sounds hilarious, but it was the first example I thought of… Thanks to all who reply!

    • queen_frostine

      It’s one of those terms that’s a little hard to picture in the contexts of nails if you’ve never seen it before, but that you’d immediately recognize if you saw it.  It’s like looking at a spoonful of jelly (the wobbly, highly artificial mass-produced kind, not a more dense type of jam or preserves) when it’s held up to the light.  The dense translucency of the polish (as well as the multiple layers needed to achieve reasonable opacity), just makes your manicure look more soft and cushy than a regular manicure or bare nails.

    • Kafka

      @Pami  Honestly, I’ve wondered the same thing and made the *exact* same mental association to breast implants. (I didn’t even know what jelly nail varnishes were until just recently.) I’m so glad you asked what “squishy” means in this context so I could learn the answer too!

  16. t_zwiggy

    I love the finish, but hate how sheer they are. I hate VNLs.

  17. DuchessCadbury

    What are some jelly polishes?

    • kfuhrmeis

       @DuchessCadbury The new Zoya Gloss collection are all jellies and the OPI Sorbets are also basically jellies. 

  18. Raquel Garza

    will you be doing a review on Urban Decay’s new foundation?

  19. I’m such a dork, I didn’t even know what a Jelly polish was until this past week when another reader filled me in..  I do not own any and I can say that I’m not really big on super sheer polishes,  I’ll have to find one that is a little more opaque and give it a go!

  20. misscheriamor

    I love jelly polishes. I don’t mind waiting for them to dry so I can layer up the polish. When you get it opaque the finish is so pretty.

  21. Kara

    They look really smooth and shiny but I’m not a fan of sheer polishes and constant coating to get the desired coverage.

  22. Miss J

    You know, I don’t have a real major opinion on these. I haven’t got myself into them much. I liked the one from OPI’s Nicki Minaj collection. If I want it more opaque, I just do a layer of black underneath. Last year at Christmas, I had gel nails with a reddish-pink with silver sparkles on the tips, and that one was a jelly polish…looked pretty cool. IDK, not a huge fan, but I don’t particularly dislike them…for the most part they are too sheer, though.

  23. beachgal

    Like you, I like the squishy look. I also like that really wet look they tend to retain well into wear days. I really don’t like some that are too watery & that seems very hit/miss with jelly formulations. I have found only a very few jellies that worked well – most are so thin/sheer/watery it drives me nuts and I cannot wait for the dry time to build up 5-6 coats only to end up with sheet marks and a thick messy mani/pedi. Like using them to make jelly sands.

  24. Diana123

    I too love opaque jelly finishes. The finish looks like wet paint. I love it!

  25. tess

    I am a total sucker for a good squishy, high-gloss jelly look. I like some VNL to help with that “wet jellybean” look, but not too much – maybe 50-70% opacity.
    I also like to make “jelly sandwiches”, so I’m always on the lookout for jellies in colors to compliment some of my glitters that are too juvenile or “strip clubbish” for everyday wear on their own. Jellies tone them down and create a nice gel suspension effect.
    One way I’ve salvaged too-watery jellies is to use a quick drying top coat between jelly coats. I’ll typically do two color coats, then a top coat (or two), wait an hour or two if possible (or next day), then two more color coats and another top coat. I find that helps with any issues with being too thick and not drying fully. (I use Sally Hansen Insta-Dri as it truly lives up to its name.)
    Another tip I have is, if you have one that’s just too sheer, start with a thin coat of a matching creme color. It’s a cheat, but it helps establish the color and then I can build a nice jelly effect on top of it. Or, if I have a light or bright color that’s muted too much by my nail bed, I use a thin coat of white, or a sheer white ridge-filling base coat, like Zoya’s Get Even.
    The jelly currently at the top of my shopping list is China Glaze’s Ride The Waves, a bright royal blue jelly. It looks like a dream. I’m suddenly into subtle nautical looks this Summer and I’m eager to try it on its own and sandwiched with a white glitter.

  26. tess

    I forgot to mention one of my favorite things to do with jellies – layer them over silver or gold foil (like Orly Shine or Luxe). It was an accidental discovery when I was goofing around with RBL’s Sheer Red and ManGlaze’s Hot Mess (dense bright silver glitter in matte base; it looks like the ‘wrong side’ of aluminum foil).

  27. Thinkit

    I love jellies. They’re my favorite kind of polish so I don’t mind the multiple coats and dry time.

  28. tmmkitten

    jelly sandwiches,  glitter layered in-between coats of polish, are a new favorite of mine. although i used to despise it, i actually love a visible nail line now. 

  29. Steph

    I don’t usually bother with the 3+ layers of jelly polishes needed to wear them alone, but I love them for layering over glitter, metallic, foil, etc polishes. It adds a really alluring depth and can really transform something that might be a little too full-on without the jelly layer.

  30. AnnaBusch

    Despite postes I found here, I’ve made the experience that just two coates of jelly polish are perfectly enough to make them look jelly-glittery-nice. Especially last year’s Dior Electric Tropics .. jummy! Like summer ice-cream … jello-esque… :o)