You don't have to be six years old to rock an outrageously sparkly nail job. But there are ways to do it well when you're an adult; we've got three tips on how.
Publish date:
a grown-up glitter manicure or new pavé mani

A grown-up glitter manicure – the NEW pavé mani! (Mani: Leeanne Colley/Tips Nail Bar)

When I thought about what I'd be when I grew up," someone who writes about glitter manicures" did not make the list. Now I'm a bunch of sleeps away from turning 47 and not only am I writing about a glitter manicure, I'm writing about my glitter manicure (not for the first time). More specifically, I'm focussing on how to make a glitter mani look grown up. Why should little girls have all the shine-tastic fun?

We all know lots of kidlets who adore an over-the-top glitzy mani. "Glitter lasts longer than regular polish," my young niece L informed me a few years back, when she was just six. Some all-growed-up women I know love sparkly lacquer, too. Maybelline Canada makeup pro Grace Lee digs glitter polish and can justify it too, as a fast way to camouflage a chipped manicure. Lesa Hannah, beauty director at Fashion Magazine, recently sported her first glim-glam mani, inspired by the "Bowie nails" in Essie Canada expert Rita Remark's Insta-feed. And our ManiGeek, although not a fan of glitter polish removal, can't help but enjoy a good glitterbomb as she shares tips on how to apply it for best results. (Then there's how she used shiny flakies in this string of mini nail-polish-bottle lights.)

how to make a glitter manicure look grown up

My happy, pavé-esque chevron manicure was a #gimmethat reaction to Lesa's sparkle-fest. The more I see it, the more I love it. And now I'm convinced it's a winning example of how to wear this kind of gleeful nail finish as an adult. It's down to three elements:

1) Shape. If you're going to rock glitter like a responsible adult, your nails have to be well shaped. And the best is whatever most flatters your hands. I'm in the throes of a passionate love affair with tapered ovals – they elongate my fingertips, make my hands look more delicate. But if a shorter, more rounded shape, or a slightly squared-off tip works better for you, do that.

2) Design. A simple all-over glitter nail isn't necessarily juvenile, it's just that it's a look you see on kids too. But simple, precise, negative-space chevrons  – those aren't so common on six-year-olds. Nail-bed length helps; kiddie nails are wee. Deep chevrons are easier on adult-sized fingertips.

3) Colour. Cartoon-bright shades are commonplace among youngsters. Doesn't mean we can't wear them when we're on the far side of 40 – iridescent bright purple glitter would look great in a chevron manicure. But multi-tonal silver... less popular with the kiddies. Same with a glittery nude, even gold. Or glittery black. Think pavé diamonds and crystal-encrusted red-carpet gowns. Or glam rock, if your memory goes back that far. Very adult, don't you agree?

a grown-up glitter manicure in gel polish

Grown-up glitter manicure: base coat, colour, glitter and top coat

My grown-up glitter manicure is a Shellac mani for the most part. The base is CND Shellac Power Polish. A single coat of CND Shellac UV Color Coat in Silver Chrome is the base colour. Artistic Colour Gloss gel polish in Suspicous is the glitter; Leeanne applied three coats using a dabbing motion to lay down a pleasing distribution of flakies in the glitter. And after everything cured, Leeanne finished with a coat of CND Shellac Express5 Top Coat.

a grown-up glitter manicure or new pavé mani

A grown-up glitter mani: a pavé effect without having to mess with a gazillion tiny crystals

Here's the shot of my nails again so you don't hafta scroll up. Whaddya think? Could you go forth and glitter with a manicure like this one? And we can call this the new pavé mani, right?

Manicure by Leeanne Colley/ Nail Bar. Leeanne has worked with famous types such as Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Vanessa Hudgens, Carly Rae Jepsen and Katy Perry.