≡ Menu

Crackle Nail Polish Review

Crackle nail polish isn’t exactly new, but it’s making a big comeback.  Many bloggers I’ve been reading remember crackle polish in the 90′s, but admit they wore it as reluctantly as grunge fashion.  Opposite from crackle furniture paint that produces a charming antique finish, crackle nail polish creates an edgy, rock-and-roll look.  Depending on the brand and how you apply it, you can achieve alligator skin and tree bark textures, or an intentionally careless, chipped look.  Katy Perry certainly resurged this trend with her O.P.I. Collection, and ever since nail fanatics are loving all the different brands and crackle colors!

Crackle Review

I tested six brands to see if they were all they were cracked up to be.  (PUN ALERT!)

I started by applying each on white, metallic silver, and hot pink bases.  I used color wheels to better view contrasts between each brand.  Here’s an overview of my findings:

Polish Brand Name Purchase Here   Brush Length  Consistency  Effect Time  Crackle Effect Picture 
O.P.I. Black Shatter BUY Regular Regular 3-5 seconds long, thin sections
China Glaze Crackle (Black Mesh)
Regular Slightly thick 5-7 seconds long, thin sections
Sally Hansen Crackle Overcoat (Ink Splatter)  BUY  Short  Regular  5-7 seconds long, thicker sections with more split variety

Mia Secret Crackle (Black)
BUY Short
 Thin  15 seconds  least separation, thinnest sections

Cherimoya 2012 Cracked (Eternity)
 BUY  Short  Thick 5-7 seconds  block effect, chunkiest sections 
 LaRosa Crackle Shatter (Deep Black) BUY
 Regular  Regular  3-5 seconds  short sections, speckled


My Conclusions: 

Overall, there is very little difference between brands.  All separate within seconds and with a top coat, the finishes become identically glossy.  Still, the subtleties led me to favor the Cherimoya 2012.  This brand also supplies the most color variety: 24 shades, including neons and metallics.   Sally Hansen (which sells 8 colors) was a close second-favorite, but it didn’t produce as consistent results as did the 2012.  The most similar polishes were the O.P.I. and China Glaze, so I lean toward the less expensive option–China Glaze–which recently released a line of 6 Metals in addition to the original 6 colors.   O.P.I. offers the least colors (only 7), but because of their myriad of regular polishes, you can still achieve innumerable combinations.  Although the O.P.I and LaRosa had the fastest separating time, the extra seconds don’t make much of a difference in the results.  The LaRosa (available in 12 shades) and Mia Secret (available in 14 shades) effects are also unique, but the Mia Secret was my least favorite, due to its cheap consistency and minimal shattering.

Crackle Application Tips

Crackle polish is great for those of us who are unartistic but still want decorated nails because there is little skill involved in creating the desired effect.  Regardless of the brand you choose, here are some application tips:

1.) Always apply over a completely dry nail polish base color.

2.) Choose a highly contrasting base color.  If you prefer subtler nails, you can use more closely related shades.

3.) Only apply one coat of crackle polish – going over it will inhibit its separation.

4.) The thinner the application, the smaller ‘cracks’ you will have.

5.) Always apply a top coat.  In a sense, crackle is already chipped, so it will lift and scrape off easily without a sealant.

Crackle Nail Art

Crackle polish has gained criticism for being a one-trick pony. However, many people have been creative with how they utilize it.  If you feel that using neons or jewel-tones is too 80′s, try white crackle over a favorite base color.  You can soften the effect with pastels or neutrals: I put gray crackle over a white polish base, and a friend said it resembled bare tree branches.  Here are some ideas for unique crackle manicures:

Neutral Gold

French Tips


Tire Tracks

Diagonal Bling


Metallic Variety

Color-Blocked Base

Gradient Base

In addition, Bundle Monster stamping image plate #208 also produces faux crackle effects:


Hope you try out this trend before it splits (ANOTHER PUN ALERT!) – Class dismissed!

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Fatima December 15, 2011, 8:22 pm

    WHere did you buys the 2012 nailpolish?

Leave a Comment