Loose glitter guide – a tutorial for loose glitter manicures

I didn’t know I would love loose glitter as much as I did until I’ve actually tried loose glitter for a short while ago. I was actually hooked the minute I’ve figured out how to use these glitters. I’ve found out some general rules for the loose glitter that I want to share with you:
–    Always work on a piece of paper to avoid spreading the glitter all over the place or to be able to gather the spread loose glitter.
–    Use a brush to brush off the excess glitter that will be stuck on your skin after you’ve applied the glitter. Don’t worry; the glitter will be easy to brush off as long as you haven’t just applied a hand creme or something similar. The excess glitter should be brushed off over the glitter jar if possible.
–    Press the glitter into place after you’ve applied the glitter. This is even more important if you want to create patterns with the glitter on the nails
–    You might need a couple or three coats of topcoat for the glitter surface to be even.

So far I’ve identified three ways of using the loose glitter.

The best results for the gradients are when you start with a colored base or a crème, a shimmer or a holographic gradient. Applying the loose glitter on the tips will emphasize the base gradient if you’ve started with one or it will give you an extra sparkle on the nail tips if you have a single color on the nails. Let’s take a look at the steps:

Loose glitter gradient

Loose glitter gradient

  1. Start with a colored base or a gradient. The surface should be sticky when you proceed with the next step
  2. Dip a brush into the glitter and sprinkle the loose glitter over the nails. You should have a piece of paper under your nails as a working space to be able to gather the loose glitter afterwards.
  3. Press the glitter into place with your fingers or your nail art brush depending on where on the gradient you are. The brush should be used where the glitter is more compact. That way you will also get more glitter to be stuck where there should be most glitter, like at the top of your nails in the picture above.
  4. Topcoat the result with the desired number of topcoats

Some examples for gradients are the pink and purple gradient where I used a plain color as a base and the blue/green gradient where I used a dark green glitter on my tips.

Glitter for gradients

Glitter for gradients


Backgrounds for nail art
If you are a glitter lover you should definitely try using loose glitter as backgrounds for nail art or as plain manicures. The application is straight forward:

Glitter backgrounds

Glitter backgrounds

  1. Apply a base coat of either clear polish or a colored one
  2. Dip your nails into the glitter jar
  3. Brush off the excess glitter then press the glitter into place
  4. Topcoat the manicure one, two or three times depending on the glitter and the wanted result then start painting your pattern on top of that. Topcoat the end result as well.

Some ideas for using loose glitters as backgrounds are the black roses on pink loose glitter and the waterfall on orange loose glitter

Background for nail art

Background for nail art


Creating patterns on nails with loose glitter isn’t hard if you do it the smart way, which is using a colored background for the pattern which will help you see what you’re doing. You could use loose glitter for framing the nails, for creating funky French manicures or for other patterns that you might want to create.

Here is how it’s done:

Glitter pattern

Glitter pattern

  1. Apply your base and let it dry completely. Use a fast drying topcoat for that
  2. Paint the pattern
  3. While the pattern is still sticky, dip your nail into the loose glitter jar
  4. Brush off the excess glitter from the cuticles
  5. Brush off the excess glitter from the rest of the nails then press the glitter into place
  6. Topcoat the manicure

A couple of examples for creating patterns on your nails are the sideway half-moons with turquoise loose glitter and the funky French with green glitter.

Loose glitter patterns

Loose glitter patterns




  1. May 22, 2015 / 3:05 am

    Now I know what to do with my mani this coming weekend. Thanks for sharing this useful guide. They are really so beautiful.

    • May 24, 2015 / 6:55 pm

      Thanks Jess! I’m so glad you find it useful!

  2. cecilia
    May 22, 2015 / 4:41 am

    This didn’t look very hard at all, might need to get myself some glitter to try now.

    • May 24, 2015 / 6:56 pm

      IKR? You should really try loose glitter :)

  3. May 22, 2015 / 5:51 am

    Så mkt fint. Inspirerande!

  4. May 22, 2015 / 6:22 pm

    Thank you for such a helpful post! I’ve used pigments before but not really glitters, I think I need to buy some now as this looks amazing to pair with freehand designs :) xx

    • May 24, 2015 / 6:58 pm

      Thank you Ithfifi!! I hope you’ll get some loose glitter as they do work great with freehand designs!

  5. May 25, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    I actually bought a bunch of lose glitters recently, so I should just get started, shouldn’t I! :)