Friday, June 27, 2014

Good Idea Friday Marble Nail Polish

I had three different people ask me bout this pin this week, so I figured I would go ahead and test it out. We've all see the photos, the good and the bad. And since I've never, ever done this before, I thought it would be a perfect example of what it's like for first timers to give it a go (and why it often ends up a hot mess and failed pin for so many).

I'm here to tell you that, yes, it IS doable. But I'm also going to break it down and explain why, if you're anything like me, this is such a huge pain in the side, that there is no way in hell I would ever, ever do this again. If you're the kind of person who doesn't mind spending an hour on their nails, this is perfect for you. I on the other hand, usually do my nails in the evenings sitting on the couch while browsing pinterest, so needless to say I don't usually do anything overly difficult. 

So here's how the experiment broken down. I originally followed the pin to a T. 

The only thing missing here is the vaseline, which I don't own any, so I reached for my trusted and loved cuticle cream (shameless plug, but I love Orange Thyme products. I own probably a dozen of her lip balms and soaps and seriously, best stuff ever. She's not paying me to say this, I'm just a die hard fan. The Earl Grey lip balm is probably my most prized lip balm ever and I have to hide it so my husband doesn't steal it.)

I added the polish to the water, and noticed right away that the coral polish was creating a strange film on the water. Weird. Well it turns out that the water was slightly too warm, and the polish was a quick-set one, and it was literally hardening in the water. So I had to redo this batch.

And here's the results.

I assumed due to the pin that once it had mostly set up, that I could use something as simple as a toothpick to help separate the polish from my cuticle line, easily cleaning up what is on my fingers. Nope. Didn't work for me. What ended up happening was any sort of pulling, would cause the entire thing to stretch, and tear, making me have to redo everything. So that was a huge fail for me at least.

I then decided to see if using different polishes, different temperature of water, and different shape bowls would have any sort of effect. I tried polishes ranging from $2 Sinful colors, to $12 Julep polishes, and everything in between like OPI, Sally Hansen, Maybelline, Revlon, Zoya. I was curious if the brand mattered. As it turned out, nope! What DID matter was the pigmentation of the polish. Pigmentation can vary from polish to polish, even within the same brand.

I also found that you will get 2, MAYBE 3 good swipes of polish before you need to clear the bowl (I would just use a toothpick and scoot it over to the side) and start over. By the third pass, the polish was less swirly and more clumpy.

After a couple of fails, I found  the combination of polish that worked best for me: OPI in Incognito In Sausalito and Maybelline Color Show in Mint Mist.

After I had all my polish on, I waited. And waited. Once it had set up a bit, I got to cleaning up. Dozens of Q-tips, paper towels, acetone and 30+ minutes later, here are the results. (I also used a very tiny paint brush to better clean up my nail lines and cuticle, something I actually recommend doing after painting your nails anytime for that clean, professional look.)

So there you have it. Yes, it's doable. No, it's not easy. What this experiment showed me, however, was that there were a few things that did help: highly pigmented polish, a shallow plate worked better than a bowl, tepid water worked better than warm, and you should only do 2, maybe 3 swipes before you reset the polish. Also, the clean up is KEY to getting this to look pinterest ready.

Have any of you tried this? Share your photos (the good and the bad!) and what methods worked best for you with us over on Facebook or Twitter. And if you have any pins you're curious, let us know!


  1. Great post!! I saw this girl made a video in real time doing the same thing. The only thing is she used masking tape around her nails to keep it a little cleaner, which is much faster and easier! Other than that you did it right! :D

  2. Anonymous6/8/14 a small jar of petroleum jelly at the dollar store. It is NOT the same thing as a hand cream or lotion.

  3. Anonymous29/8/14

    Hey I really like your blog and I think it's a great idea! I don't have a facebook account so I thought I would comment here. Iv'e been seeing many pins about teeth whitening using baking soda, lemon, strawberry, etc. I'm no expert, but I know that baking soda dissolves the natural protective layer of your teeth, and they could be harmed much more easily. Same goes for lemon and strawberry: not only are they acidic (low ph) but they also have a lot of sugar in them- both dissolve the protectove layer of your teeth. Getting rid of that protective layer whitens your teeth, obviously, but it also harms them very much. I hoped you could raise awareness for this, mabe research a bit more because I'm really no expert and I might have made mistakes. Thanks a lot and sorry for any mistakes I made, English is not my native language...

  4. Anonymous6/9/14

    I did a white base coat and you do need to use petroleum jelly. I also only used 1 drop of 2 different nail polishes. I put it in a small cup, like the bathroom cups. I would only use it to do a few accent nails, I would not do all your nails with it BC it would take way to long. I did 2 nails on each hand in the marble and left the rest white but you could paint the other nails another color if you wanted to. I would also make sure to put a clear coat on top BC with how long it takes to do them you do not want them to come off. I also only used it once that is why I only put 1 drop of each nail polish in the cup. Also putting 2 colors in works best bc by the time I put the 3rd one in the others were drying. It comes out really cute when you are done you just need to have enough patience to do it.

  5. This works wonderfully if you use the right polishes. It's a nightmare if you don't. I've found the Sally Hansen Xtreme polishes from Walgreens come in most of the colors I'd like, and they're inexpensive. ChinaGlaze polishes also tend to work. Use scotch tape on your fingers to easily peel off the excess polish. Now it's time consuming, but not difficult at all!

    1. I don't know how to put a picture in here as you requested in the blog if we wanted to share, so I'm linking to my old blog. I don't update it anymore but it stores some of my favorite manicures :)

    2. I don't know how to put a picture in here as you requested in the blog if we wanted to share, so I'm linking to my old blog. I don't update it anymore but it stores some of my favorite manicures :)

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