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How to Make a Dull Nail Polish Sparkle

Grey nail polish brightened up with twinkles

Most of us have at least one bottle of nail polish that we never wear, because it’s too “dull” or “boring”. Or perhaps it’s a shade that you’re just not too keen on. But, it always seems like such a waste to never use it and eventually throw it away. This neat little tutorial is going to stop your lesser used polishes from sitting around collecting dust, whilst revitalising them and giving them a little twinkle. This is also a great way to really funk up your nails for parties or special occasions.

This look was inspired by Nailasaurus’ post, which I came across whilst trying to find a nail art look for my much disliked grey nail polish that I hadn’t worn since I first bought it, and was keen to use.

What You’ll Need:


1. A Nail Polish that you’re not too keen on. For this, I used Rimmel’s 60 Seconds Nail Polish in 805 Grey Matter

2. A very glittery Top Coat. I am using Technic in Carnival, which I picked up really cheap from Ebay. Many brands like OPI and China Glaze sell similar variants, however drug stores and Ebay are havens for cheaper alternatives like this one.

3. A Cosmetic Sponge. This doesn’t have to be an expensive one, it’s just your standard drug store bought sponge. If you shop around, you may be able to bulk buy these for a really good price.

4. A Clear Top Coat just to help the look to last longer. You can use any Top Coat, as long as it is a clear one.

What to do:

Start out by applying the grey base, building up in thin layers especially if you are using a light colour. This helps to create an even appearance.

HOT TIP: If you do find that your polish is “stripy” or looks uneven, after two or three coats, try to withhold from applying another coat, because you run the risk of making it worse. Instead, place your fingers (and nails, of course) into cold water. I don’t know how it works, but I do know that this works a treat at smoothing out the surface and texture of nail polish.

Generally, most polishes require a couple of coats, but some may need more (or even less).

Give your nails plenty of time to dry. Even if the bottle says that it is a “fast drying” polish, I recommend giving your nails time to dry more thoroughly, because applying the sponge to the nail too soon could create an imprint that you really don’t want. However, if you do find that the sponge has left little marks on your nails (as it did for mine!), the imprints often disappear a little once the top coat has been applied.


Apply a small amount of glitter polish along one of the smaller edges of the sponge. One thin coat should be enough to start with.

Gently dab the glitter onto the tip of your nail, either carefully in a specific area, or more randomly for a more quirky and messy look.

Add more thin layers of glitter, until you are happy with how they look. It is important to apply the coats thinly, as applying too much in one go means that you are also applying a large amount of the clear liquid that makes up the glitter polish which can look messy. Thin coats also offer more control over how and where the glitter is applied to the nail allowing you to create specific looks, or more spontaneous ones, as you choose.

Once you have finished applying the glitter, take a clean edge of the sponge and gently dab the glitter. This helps to push down any stray pieces that may be sticking up or hanging over the edge of your nail.

HOT TIP: If like me you have an absolute nightmare removing glitter polishes: soak some cotton wool in Nail Polish remover and wrap it around the nail, and follow this up by wrapping some tin foil around each finger too. Leave for around 15 mins. Pull off the tin foil, and using the cotton wool see how easily the glitter now glides off.

Finally finish off with a clear top coat to prolong the length of your manicure and yay, your nails look fabulous.

To get an idea of how other shades might look, here’s a few suggestions:

The polishes used are (from left to right):

1. Rimmel Lycra Wear in 364 Twilight

2. China Glaze in 182 in Ruby Pumps

3. Rimmel 60 Seconds in 810 Blue My Mind

4. No.7 Stay Perfect in 370 Disco Nights

5. Rimmel 60 Seconds in 825 Sky High


Are your nails ready for some glitter?

Kat Musselwhite

Kat Musselwhite

Kat is a freelance writer, who believes that everyone is beautiful, and make up just helps to enhance that natural beauty. She loves playing with make up, watching films, travelling and writing.

Kat Musselwhite

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