This page is for the nail polish lover, but not yet obsessed nail polish lover - if you like nail polish, but do not know every phrase, term and abbreviation yet!

American manicure - Like a French manicure but with an off-white color and a softer look.

Accent nail(s) - One or two nails with a different color, glitter or nail art design than the remaining nails.

Balding - When you, while applying nail polish, pull up the coat underneath the one you are doing, thus revealing some of your naked nail.

Braided nails - Also known as fish tail nails. A manicure that, with the use of two or three different colors, make it look like they a braided together.

Color block - A manicure, where different colours are separated with a sharp edge.

Crelly - A nail polish, which color is plain and finish is a place between creme and jelly.

Creme - A nail polish, which color is plain and opaque and which finish is glossy and smooth.

Dotticure - A manicure with dots included in the design.

Dotting tool - A manicure tool used for making dots in various sizes with nail polish.

Duochrome - A nail polish, which change color on the reflection of light.

Dupe - Short for 'duplicate'. A nail polish color that looks exactly like another nail polish color.

Frankenpolish/Franken - Mixing a new nail polish from various different nail polishes.

French manicure - A manicure in which the fingernails are painted a pale pink with a white band at the tip.

Gradient manicure - A manicure where two or more colours blend in a gradient into each other on the nails. This can be achieved with the sponging technique.

Half Moon manicure - A manicure consisting of two colours, one is painted at the very root of the nail like part of a circle and the other is painted on the rest of the nail.

Haul - An amount of nail polish or other beauty accesories acquired or collected at one time.

Holographic - A nail polish that contains rainbow coloured glitter, which changes color on the reflection of light. This finish is very obvious in sun light.
There are two kind of holographic nail polishes. Linear holo, where the rainbow effect it apparent in the polish and Scattered holo, where the holographic effect is scattered. It is there, but it can not be seen as a clear prism.

HTF/VHTF - Hard To Find or Very Hard To Find.

Indie polish - Indie is short for 'independent' and is an indication of those who made their own nail polish brand.

Jelly - A nail polish, which color is plain, finish is a little sheer, but smooth and really glossy and which substance is jelly-like.

Jelly sandwich - A manicure, where you start off with a base of a jelly nail polish, then add a layer or two of a glitter nail polish and you finish it off with another layer of the same jelly nail polish as you started with.

Lemming - Having an uncontrollable desire for a particular nail polish after seeing a picture of someone else wearing it.

Mannequin hands manicure - A manicure where you paint your nails a color that closely matches your skin tone, making your hands look like a mannequins hand.

Matte nail polish/top coat - A type of nail polish with a matte finish.

Metallic - A nail polish, which finish make your nails look like metal.

NOTD - Nail of the day. Basically whatever nail polish or nail art one is currently wearing.

Ombré manicure - A manicure where five nails polished in the same colour scheme are shading from nail to nail. Each nail polish are applied on one full nail.

OCW - abbreviation of One Coat Wonder. A polish that only requires one coat to be completely opaque.

Orange stick - A manicure tool used for cleaning finger nails and pushing back cuticles.

Ruffian manicure - Also known as the reverse Half Moon manicure. A manicure consisting of two colors, one is painted at the very root of the nail as a C-shape and the other is painted on the rest of the nail.

Shrinkage - A coat of nail polish that shrinks on one's nail and creates a visible white space with no nail polish on the tip of the nail. Often a side effect when using a fast drying top coat over very thickly applied nail polish, but can easily be fixed by covering the entire nail including the tips with every layer of nail polish in the manicure.

Skittle manicure - A manicure with a different nail polish color or nail art on each nail. The colors do not have to be in the same color family.

Striper - A manicure tool used for making stripes with nail polish.

Swatch - To test or demonstrate a nail polish on one's nails.

Inspiration from The Polish Addicts Lacquer Lexicon, The Swatchaholics definition on gradient, ombré and skittle manicures and Lacquerized's overview of 25 different finishes.


  1. Great information! You should post this on Instagram! So helpful!

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! And great idea!

  2. Thanks for the tips! I had no idea that weather could have such an effect on nails! Filing in one direction only is very important but using a quality file as well. I've been filing my nails with a glass nail file for some time now and I must say that the difference is huge. So I would recommend trying that too.