How to Apply Holographic Polish…

I wanted to do a video tutorial on how to apply holographic polish because many people tend to give up on holos because they apply patchy. But they are SOOO pretty, don’t give up!! lol

The key to working with holographic polish is how you hold the brush (this tip is also good for any polish). You want to keep the brush flat on the nail and slowly drag it downwards, using the tip of the brush to apply the polish can cause streaks and bald patches ( especially if you go over an area multiple times).

Base coats*:
1. Using a shine buffer to create a super shiny surface (recommend by Layla as the correct base).
  •  not only does this allow the polish to go on very smoothly it also give the polish a natural high shine once dry without the use of a top coat.
  • this doesn’t dull the holo at all, in fact it creates more of a holo effect because the surface of your nail is so smooth.
2. Using an “adhesive” base coat.
  • I DO NOT recommend using an adhesive type base coat to apply holos. Why? Because the polish “sticks” to the base coat, but only in certain spots. The result is a very patchy application that will need multiple coats in order to even out the color.
  • I’m not sure why but this did seem to dull the look of the holo, you can still see the rainbow but it’s not as vibrant as it could be.

3. 2 in 1 one top/base coat.

  • again I had troubles with the holo applying very patchy over the base coat, so basically I would avoid using ANY type of base coat under your holographic polishes.
  • and again I did notice a slight dulling of the holo with this one as well.

4. Top coat as base coat (any shiny top coat will work, even a quick dry).

  • the application was similar to using the shine buffer, it went on smooth and even.
  • much like using the shine buffer this didn’t dull the holo, but unlike the shine buffer this didn’t leave a high shine to the polish once it was dry.

5. Base coat + color.

  • if you want to intensify or slightly change the color of your holo this is the perfect way to apply.
  • if your color polish dries matte, apply a shiny topcoat before applying the holo.
  • this is my favorite way to use holographic polish because you can take the holo color you love and make it better!
on the left is Mercury Twilight on it’s own and on the right is Mercury Twilight over Essie No Place Like Chrome. The difference is slight but noticeable, gives the rainbows a more vibrant appearance. Using a color under your holo also allow you to use less of your holographic polish because you don’t need to build up the color on it’s own.
*note: base coat must be completely dry before applying your holo. If you notice that there is no rainbow effect that means your base coat was not dry before you applied the holo. Only DRY holographic polish will have rainbows.
And before anyone asks, I don’t own Aquabase so I can’t comment on it. I will say from what I’ve heard it takes forever to dry (like 30 minutes) but does create a great base for holos.
Top coats:
I prefer no top coat but I know many people want to use a top coat over their holo, so here’s what I recommend…
1. Sally Hansen Insta Dri (clear triangular bottle).
  • not sure what it is about this top coat but it’s recommended by a lot of people to use over holos because, once dry, it doesn’t have any dulling effect.
  • I didn’t notice any dulling effect and can say this is a good choice to use over holos.
2. Sally Hansen Insta Dri (red bottle) (basically any quick dry top coat).
  • this does have a slight dulling effect. I don’t recommend using a quick dry top coat over holos.

3,4,5. 2 in 1 top/base coat, $$ top coat (Orly Polished) and $ top coat ( WnW Wild Shine)

  • these 3 gave about the same results: minor dulling compared to the Sally Hansen Insta Dri (clear triangular bottle), much less than a quick dry.

Now if you’re wondering why dulling is so important and why I want to avoid it, the reason is simple: these are the most expensive polishes I own. At almost $16 I want to get what I paid for and not do anything that’s going to lessen the effect I’m looking to achieve.

If you want to add a top coat to extend the wear your your holo mani you can also do a top coat “sandwich”. After applying your top coat let it dry then add another thin coat of your holo polish. This will give you all the holo effect along with extended wear.

That being said my go-to application is: base coat (of choice), 1-2 coats of color polish(I like to use a color the same as the base color of my holo), followed by 2 coats of my holo polish, no top coat.
Now I must say that this post doesn’t necessarily apply to all holographic polishes. There are some (like the new Color Club Halo Hues) in which you can use any base coat you like and a top coat doesn’t effect them. Not all holos are created equal so if you find your holographic polishes are tricky to apply, this may help you out. =)

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14 Responses

  1. Nicole says:

    I don’t know if you still love holos but vapid lacquer’s cryogenic refrigeratant is awesome. I’m going to try putting essie chrome under it but normally it takes 2 coats full coverage and shines like the dickens!

  2. edabit1 says:

    I dont use a base coat but I use a UV top coat ESN or Cina Glaze. That doesnt seem to dull the holo.

  3. Allan Larue says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for your very good although. Keep up the wonderful job you are doing here.

  4. Rob Mcoy says:

    Many many thanks for this article! Some actually inspriational designs here. LC

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  9. I have all the Layla holos but avoid using them as i love shiny top coats. Im rushing out tomorrow to buy the Sally Hansen red insta dry so thanks for the tips. Come to think when i bought my first one the girl in the salon tested it over my coloured seche vitoed nail and it was shiny and hard so i will try that again. NOW.. do you know the holy grail answer to top coating foils????

  10. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the tips! I love holos, and will now try your suggestions. Would never have thought of going without a base, but buffing to a nicely sealed high shine makes perfect sense, as does skipping the top coat.

    Will let you know how I fare.



  11. beachgal says:

    Thanks – I have tons and tons of holos – some are finicky and others not so much – for my Nfu-Oh I only wear them with the Nfu-Oh Aqua base but I hate to use it up and put it under my other holos – I hear the newer batches of the Nfu-Oh base (when it’s even in stock) are not as good as the older ones like my 2 bottles are. As far as top coats – you write #1 and #2 both being the same Sally Hansen Insta-Dry name but sounds like there are 2 different ones out there??? a clear bottle and a red label bottle??? Where I live in the stixs we don’t have much here and I tend to order things on line..but we do have some of the Sally Hansens around – just not many and I never have seen a red label Insta Dry – I know they cleared out all that line a while back or maybe it was just a sale and they all got sold out – maybe that is what you are talking about – there was an older Insta Dry top coat and then a newer one? I have used SV shinny top coat for a base on holos and it worked fine for me. The Jade holos are the least picky ones I ever used – they seem to do fine with my fav base coat (Orly Nail Armor)…I always do a test on holos on a sheet of paper with glossy top coats to see what (if any) top coat I can use without them loosing the holo. I think the most fickle holos I ever used have been the ones from Brazil- HITS and a few other brands.

    • you can see each of the Insta Dri bottle in the video. The clear bottle is part of the Insta-Dri line(with the Insta-Dri colors), the red bottle Insta-Dri is part of the top coat line and came out before the Insta Dri color line. I’m really not sure why they would have 2 products with the same name bc it gets confusing.

  1. March 3, 2014

    […] with the formula (all multichromes take practice to apply, it helps to apply them they same way as tricky holos) and dry time was average. This retails for $12.50 and is currently available direct from […]

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