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DIY Nail Art Designs: Learn What Makes Crackle Nail Polish Shatter

Updated on May 22, 2012

Ever Wonder Why Crackle Nail Polish Shatters?

I got my first bottle of crackle nail polish a week or two ago, and I in love with the stuff. It's such an easy-to-use product, and gives great results regardless of the application. I couldn't help but wonder why crackle nail polish shatters, and what it is that causes those gorgeous crackles and shatter designs. I've done a little digging online and discovered the secret ingredient that makes nail polish shatter.

The Secret Behind Crackle Nail Polish

It's just one simple ingredient that causes crackle nail polish to shatter: ethanol. It is added to the nail polish formula and speeds up the drying process. Usually nail polishes have to be slow-drying, but the added ethanol evaporates very quickly and causes the nail polish to become very viscous. The lightning-quick drying time makes the polish crack and shrink, creating the shatter or crackle effect that we've all come to know and love.

Crackle Nail Polish is Not a New Thing

I only recently discovered shatter and crackle nail polish, but apparently it's been around forever. A blog I read this morning referred to Covergirl crackle lacquers being available a few years ago already, so this is definitely not a new thing but rather a resurfacing trend. Either way, I think it's amazing, and I'm so glad I discovered it!

See Nail Polish Shatter in Real Time

I know I was searching for this kind of thing online before I got my shatter nail polish, so I'm going to put a YouTube video in here for anyone who has not seen this type of polish in action. It's incredible how quickly it shatters, and it will work this quickly with almost any type of crackle or shatter polish. The video I'm going to imbed here shows a specific brand, but again, any other type will dry quickly as well, and you should be able to see the crackle patterns happen right before your eyes.

Love It or Hate It

Crackle or shatter nail polish is probably here to stay. It does go against everything we've ever been told a good manicure should be: smooth, shiny, and even, but the effect it creates is just amazing. Initially I thought that crackle nail polish really ruins a manicure when the nail polish shatters, but once I tried it for myself, I realized just how beautiful the effect is. I'm addicted to the stuff, and it's such a quick and easy option, especially when I don't have a lot of time to do my nails! If you don't own a bottle of shatter or crackle nail polish yet, do yourself a favor and get some. You'll never look at a manicure the same way again, ever. My friend came over last night wearing a bright orangey-red nail polish, so I showed her my mani and asked her if I can do a crackle coat over the red. The effect was amazing. The picture I inserted above of the red and black crackle manicure shows the end result.


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