Do You Ever Layer Different Nail Polishes?

Published in: Just For Fun, Nails

nars arabesque with chinatown
NARS Arabesque above a layer of NARS Chinatown

I do it all the time, trying to invent my own new colors or to liven something up with a little glitter on top.


Both of the polishes in my current favorite combo — NARS Arabesque and Chinatown — are from the NARS Drop Dead Gorgeous holiday set. 🙂

nars chinatown with arabesque

Do you ever layer your nail polishes?

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Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Are you wearing anything on your nails today?


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So far, 38 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. keerthamina says:

    I only layer on occasion – I generally try to avoid purchasing glitters in a clear/very sheer base, but whenever I do get one I use it for layering rather than trying to build it up on its own. When layering, my preference is for flaky glitter… I recently did a mani with Maybelline Colorama Ruby Rays over Rescue Beauty Lounge Mismas and absolutely loved it!

    As for right now, my nails are skittles of China Glaze Wagon Trail, Avon Golden Twilight, and OPI DS Mystery (I’m in the process of taking comp pics). Once that’s done, I’m going to do a full mani with BB Couture Midnight Malibu, I think.
    .-= keerthamina’s last blog post… thanksgiving notd: lippmann superstar =-.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I love to layer nail polishes with glitter top coats or shimmer top coats. My favorites I use to layer are Pure Ice Busted and Pure Ice Heartbreaker, both can be find at Walmart and really add some oomph and sparkle to your nail polish. Today I’m wearing Claire’s Goldmine sparkly gold with holographic glitter mixed in very Xmas-y!

  3. Steph B says:

    I do layer sometimes – especially with pale colors. I really like a pale shimmery pink as a nude daytime office look. A coat or two of Essie Mademoiselle over Atlantis Pearl hits the spot. Instead of overt frost, it gives it a nice glow. I also layer my summer brights over a gunmetal to give them more of a fall jeweltone look. Just have to be very careful to match up the edges so neither individual color shines through.

    I just watched this week’s Glee — good thing I hadn’t put on eye makeup yet because that rendition of Imagine started the waterworks!

    • Karen says:

      I cried during that part, too. I grew up listening to that song (my parents are HUGE Beatles fans), and I never get tired of hearing it. The way they interpreted it was very touching. 🙂

      What did you think of Eve being in the episode? That was kinda random!

      • Steph B says:

        I took Eve’s cameo to be a nod to the success of a musical show. Althought I thought her message was a complete contradiction to her team’s performance. I love Imagine too. I don’t know if it was intentional, but I thought it was a nice reference to Mr. Holland’s Opus and the signing of Beautiful Boy.

        Oh, I meant to say I’m sporting Sally Hansen Maximum Growth in Adoring Amethyst.

        • Karen says:

          All that hairography took a lot out of me, LOL! It left me feeling exhausted!

          Hope you’re having a nice Sunday so far. 🙂 Doing anything fun today?

          • Steph B says:

            Had a great day — the weather was gorgeous. Headed down to the farmers market for some greens, cider, and pears. Then walked into Georgetown to meet friends for brunch. Was such a gorgeous day we just kept walking — went straight across the city to the mall and all of the monuments. Wound up at the Museum of the American Indian and brunch in their cafe.

  4. Jeanne says:

    I know I did it more when I was younger — my favorite combination was Hard Candy “Sky” (aw yeah, old school!) and a Hard Candy blue glitter on top. I wore that throughout at least one summer vacation, for sure.

    I haven’t been layering my polishes lately, but that’s more because of laziness than anything else…!

    Today I’m wearing Chanel Jade on my fingers (oo la la) and Essie Angora Cardi on my toes.
    .-= Jeanne’s last blog post… My Thanksgiving Outfit… for Eatin’! =-.

  5. Sylvie says:

    Hi Karen, I’m not wearing anything on my nails cuz it’s the “breathing” week. I’d like to know how you apply your polish so neatly though. Or do you clean up afterwards with a Q-tip dipped in polish remover?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sylvie,

      I try to apply the polish as neatly as I can; if any spills into the area outside of the cuticle or nail I use a polish corrector pen to clean up mistakes. Sephora makes a good one:

      Sephora Nail Polish Corrector Pen ($6)

      I find Q-tips dipped in polish remover tend to be messy. The cotton can sometimes “catch” onto wet nails and ruin them.

      • Sylvie says:


        I do have the Sephora pen. I’ve used it once or twice but thought it wasn’t very good because it was very hard to clean up with it. Maybe I just haven’t gotten the hang of using it.

  6. amy says:

    Last week I layered my polish using Chanel Kaleidoscope with Sephora OPI Untarnished on top. Nowadays, I usually use a glitter nail polish over a solid nail polish because it is easy. Occasionally when I have time I would layer solid colours over each other. Way back when Chanel Vamp first came out and I was only in highschool, I couldn’t afford it so I layered a burgundy red and black together to make my own “Vamp” colour.
    .-= amy’s last blog post… FOTD Dior Night Butterfly Palette 173 with Medusa’s Makeup Lipgloss in Gossip Redux =-.

  7. Kate says:

    The only time I layer is if it’s clear with glitter. I like wearing that over say, an opaque lavender.

  8. JJ says:

    Whenever I’m not feeling too lazy, definitely. I’m wearing China Glaze Tinsel over Zoya Envy right now. I do it without glitter too sometimes. I have some really sheer slightly glittery pinks that I never use, so sometimes I’ll layer them over metallic silvers. It looks pretty cool 🙂

  9. ritadebora says:

    At the moment I only layer these 2 together: OPI Tickets to Paradise and on top OPI Pricesses Rule! You can see it here:
    Looks amazing!!!
    Today I’m wearing OPI Suzy Sells Sushi By the Seashore. Love the color, love the name :d
    .-= ritadebora’s last blog post… IQQU – Acne Serum =-.

  10. Christy says:

    I like layering, but I don’t usually have time to.

    I am wearing Lippmann Collection Don’t Tell Mama on my hands and China Glaze Flying Dragon on my toes.
    .-= Christy’s last blog post… FOTD: Volturi Twilight Lover, Beloved & Obsess Lip Gloss =-.

  11. Just clear coat on another color. Because I am boring. hahaha

    .-= All Women Stalker’s last blog post… 2 Die 4: OndadeMar Funky Coverup … =-.

  12. Sarah says:

    I’m not nearly creative enough to layer all by myself, but I am wearing Chanel Dragon on my nails. Although, my manicurist asked me if I was going to keep this color long so… Probably, next I’m back to Chanel Rouge Noir! Although now I may try Nars Arabesque and Chinatown…

    • Karen says:

      I am deeply in love with Arabesque. It’s also pretty on top of pale pinks, too. It’s not as dramatic as the Arabesque/Chinatown combo but it’s still pretty.

      How’s your weekend going so far? I just got back from running errands (Target, Petco… and Sephora, oops!).

      • Sarah says:

        Now I definitely have to check out Arabesque – I have about 10 variations of pale pink already! I’ve been getting into the more dramatic nail looks recently, I think it has to do with having to dress up for work.

        My weekend went ok, I help with a charity that gets Christmas (and Easter) gifts for about 150 immigrant children on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and so Black Friday is pretty intense for us. We spent over $400 at Kohls in twenty minutes. And that was only our first visit!

        I love running errands when I’m in a good mood – I feel so accomplished!

  13. meimei says:

    I *love* layering nailpolish; it’s the best way for me to come up with unexpected color on my nails. I also love mixing my own polish too – I’d buy two colors from the store, then mix them together.

    Right now I’m wearing some nailpolish from the local drugstores back here in the PI: my fingernails are a nude beige with holographic glitter, and my toes are wearing a combination I came up with on my own – black creme mixed with some pink shimmer.
    .-= meimei’s last blog post… A Word from Our Sponsors =-.

    • Karen says:

      Hey Meimei,

      Question for you — how do you mix the colors? Do you put them in another bottle?

      • meimei says:

        RE: mixing: The way I’ve always done it is to mix the colors in their original bottles, especially when they’re already close to half-empty. I often start with a cream as a base, and something frosted or glittery that I can pour out into the base so I can gauge how much color to add in the process. (Easier to add shimmer to a flat base than the other way around.) I open both bottles, putting the brushes aside, and then I take the bottle of the second color and add it – one drop at a time – to the base color. After that, I put the original caps and brushes of each polish back, then I shake the bottle of base + mix until I get the right combination. Sometimes I even keep a little nail polish solvent at hand, but I’ve found that this works best for colors within the same product family or formula!
        .-= meimei’s last blog post… Last Song Syndrome: Darling Sparro =-.

  14. Sarah says:

    I love layering a deep red color with a thin shiny black color. The results are a blood red color. I have a flare for the dramatics.

  15. K says:

    Wow, I did exactly what Sarah did, right above me! lol Great minds think alike. :o)
    .-= K’s last blog post… Day (mostly) off =-.

  16. Genesis C says:

    Hey Karen!
    I usually will try different color nudes when I am painting my nails more-so than darker colors.. I personally like to layer Essie’s “Powderpuff” with “Adore-a-ball,” for the ultimate pinkish-beige. Right now, I have on Gap’s “Tan Chrome” nail color… it’s a metallic tan with a green undertone. Very cute for the holidays but it chips so quick!
    .-= Genesis C’s last blog post… GenCuesta: @whitneyjblue Whaaaaat. Look at you getting all deep! I wonder who this is for lol =-.

  17. Marisol says:

    I have with Chanel’s Azur and Chanel Blue Satin. Lovely combo.

    Right now I have on Chanel’s Vendetta. Hey, I may just yet become a Chanel girl. Need to try one of the glossimers soon though.
    .-= Marisol’s last blog post… Gals Guide meet up =-.

  18. Jeannine says:

    I have always layered my colors – if I didn’t, I would never get through them all, lol! One of my favorites is to layer OPI Fireflies, which is a shimmery white that looks green from some angles and peach from others, over just about anything. I have mixed colors, too. My “finest hour” was when I mixed white base from a French Manicure kit with blues and greens (I can’t remember which ones) to come up with a beautiful opaque turquoise. I wore it until China Glaze came out with “For Audrey”. The main problem I have experienced is that if you mix brands, whether layering or mixing in a bottle, it often increases the drying time dramatically. I don’t feel confident to do much more than type for at least 1/2 hour. Layering produces some beautiful, unexpected results. The best part is, if you don’t like it all you have to do is wipe it away! Try it – it’s really fun.

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