Nail Polish Dictionary

Please Note: To find a term quickly, bring up the search-within-webpage function and type a term to locate it (i.e. "Ctrl+F" for Windows). These may not be all the terms you have ever heard of or seen. Most of these definitions are carried over from Peachy Polish and The Nail Buff. If something is missing and/or should be added, please contact me at so this list can be updated. I will update with visual examples when possible/available. Thank you!


3-Free: a polish that does not contain Toulene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) & Formaldehyde in its ingredients.

3-Stroke Method: a method of applying polish where only 3 brushstrokes are used.

4-Free: a polish that does not contain Toulene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde and Camphor.

5-Free: a polish that does not contain Toulene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde, Camphor and Formaldehyde Resin.



Blobbicure: a nail art technique of "blobbing" nail polish on the nail to create a design, which may include a number of layers that may or may not be sponged to remove excess. The signature blobbicure shows distinct negative spaces between the blobbed areas.

An example of a Blobbicure (Sourced here)

Blog Sale: a sale set up by someone who runs a blog, where they sell previously owned new or lightly used items from their blog.

Bubble Nails: an effect created using acrylic nail techniques to create a "bubble" shaped nail, known to be a fad nail trend in 2016.

Example of Bubble Nails (Sourced here)


Cat Eye: An effect created using magnetic polish and a strong neodymium magnet, creating a "cat eye" design. See "magnetic polish" about compatible designs.

Example of Cat Eye Effect

Chrome (polish): finish that is highly metallic, imitating a mirror-like effect. Chrome polishes are criticized for not being as effective or long lasting as chrome powders, some testimonies that the finish dulls or changes after 8 hours or less. Usually entails a form of specialized base coat and water-based topcoat.

Chrome (powder): finish that is highly metallic, imitating a mirror-like effect. There are two traditional methods: (1) Using a "rubberized" basecoat and rubbing the powder until desired effect. Topping with one coat of a water-based topcoat to prevent warping of finish, followed by a glossy regular or fast-drying topcoat once the water-based topcoat is dry. (2) Using soft gel polishes: applying a base coat followed by desired base color. Traditional chrome looks involve using a black base, but this isn't necessary. With color and "unicorn" chrome options, other base colors can be used. Topcoat is then applied; if using regular gel topcoat, first remove the "inhibition layer" by rubbing with rubbing alcohol. Preferably a no-wipe topcoat is used. Chrome powder is then applied to the nail and rubbed until desired finish. This is followed by a last coat of topcoat. My review of Mitty Chrome Powder and tutorial can be found here.

Application of Chrome Powder on soft gel polish.

Chunky Glitter: a polish with large glitter particles creating a "chunky" look, often requiring two or more coats of topcoat to create a smooth finish. Topcoats formulated to be thicker with these glitters in mind are often referred to as "glitter food" or "topcoat for glitter."

Example of a Chunky Glitter (Sourced here)

Circle Gradient (aka Radial Gradient): see "Gradient." A nail art technique of applying a gradient design that is circular. This is created by using two or more polishes, the first creating a dot on a makeup sponge and the next polishes making "Os" surrounding the dot in concentric circles until a final filled circle in the middle. A video tutorial can be found here.

Example of a Circle Gradient with stamping (Sourced here)

Clean-Up: the act of using a makeup brush, art brush, or nail art brush to clean the edges around your polished nail to create a crisp, clean line using nail polish remover. Favorite shapes include rounded and 45-degree angled brushes (think eyeliner brush). What's key is something small enough to get access but not so large as to remove too much. 1/4 inch (approximately 6.35 mm) brushes are recommended.

Example of  Clean-Up (Sourced here)

Core: a polish or collection that is part of a brand’s permanent line and therefore not as at risk of being discontinued. It may be discontinued, but usually this is when it has been a part of the line for several years or is being replaced by another product/formula.

Crackle (aka Shatter): a type of polish that you apply on top of another that dries quickly and retracts across the surface of the nail as it dries, creating a cracked finish. Some crackle polishes work more effectively over a dried coat of glossy topcoat.

Example of Crackle/Shatter Polish (Sourced here)

Crelly: a formula similar to a creme (in opacity) but is "squishy" looking and sometimes a bit sheer on the first coat.  It is buildable is popular as a base for polishes with particles intended to be visible. Considered a hybrid between a true creme and a jelly.

Example of traditional Crelly (Sourced here)

Example of a Glitter-Crelly (Sourced here)

Example of a Flakie-Crelly (Sourced here)

Crelly-Shimmer: a polish with a crelly formula with shimmer running throughout.

Example of a Crelly-Shimmer (Sourced here)

Creme: a creamy, opaque polish.  Usually opaque in 1-2 coats.

Example of a Creme (Sourced here)

Cruelty Free: products that are not tested on animals. (Click HERE for a list of beauty companies that do and do not test on animals.)


Decant: a small (mini) sized bottle filled with polish from a full sized bottle.  Usually done to share a polish with someone who might not otherwise be able to own it.

Destash: a sale set up by someone who selling new, like new, or used items. Popular places to destash are blogs, Instagram, Facebook groups, Storenvy, and Pinterest boards. Some brands who have their own fan groups also have BTS (buy, trade, and sell) groups.

DISO: an acronym for Desperately In Search Of.  Used in polish sale groups, forums, etc. when a person is looking for a certain item and is usually willing to go to great lengths to obtain it. Example: “DISO Chanel Holographic!  I’ve been looking for it for so long!”

Dotticure: a nail art technique where dots are applied to create designs and/or an all-over effect.

Example of a design-based Dotticure (Sourced here)

Example of a scattered Dotticure (Sourced here)

Dottie Gradient (aka "Gradient Dotticure"): see "Gradient" and "Dotticure." A nail art technique where varying shades of polish are dotted from light to dark (or vice versa) down or across the nail over a base to create the effect of a gradient using layered dots.

Example of a blended Dottie Gradient (Sourced here)

Example of a spaced "Gradient Dotticure" (Sourced here)

Double Stamping: a nail art technique using the regular nail art stamping method but layering two designs on top of one another.

Example of Double Stamping (Sourced here)

Dry Brush: A nail art technique where you wipe off most of the polish on the brush and then lightly drag it over the top of the nail to create a dry, cracked, distressed and/or weathered look.

Example of the Dry Brush technique's results (Sourced here)

Dry Marble: technique where polish is marbleized without using water (see water marble). One method is haphazardly blobbing nail polish onto the nail and then smudging with a piece of plastic or stamper to emulate the look of marbled stone.

A second method is to apply blobs of nail polish onto the nail and then smudge/swirl using a nail art brush or other tool.

Example of smudging polish on nail with art brush for dry marble (Sourced here)

A third method is to apply blobs of nail polish onto a silicone nail art mat and smudge using a nail art brush or tool, then applying the dried result to the nail as a decal.

Example of technique using silicone mat (Sourced here)

Duochrome:  a polish that shifts between two colors depending on the angle and lighting.

Example of a Duochrome polish (Sourced here)

Dupe:   There are two forms of dupes: (1) An exact copy of an original polish recreated by a different brand. (2) Where two or more brands' individual colors created independently are indistinguishable from one another. Note: it is unusual for a brand to dupe itself, but not unheard of.

Example of Dupes (See original post here)



Finish: having a particular texture or appearance when the polish is dry. Example: “This polish has a glossy finish.” An excellent post covering finishes can be found HERE.

Fishing: the act of putting in effort to get specific or ample particles from the nail polish bottle onto the brush. Sometimes requiring tools (like a straightened paperclip) to mix the polish to make getting particles easier. Example: “It required a lot of fishing to get those big glitters on my nails.”

Flakes/Flakies: small sized flat particles that come in a variety of colors and are not uniform in shape. Can be opaque colors, iridescent, duo/multi-chrome, and/or metallic. Known for being easier removal than glitter, but notorious for flakes sticking to skin post-cleanup for a short period of time.

Example of partial coverage (topper) Flakes/Flakies (Sourced here)

Example of full coverage Flakes/Flakies (Sourced here)

Foil (aka "Nail Foil"): nail art material that traditionally comes in a roll. Foil application glue or alternatives are applied to the bare/polished nail and the foil is pressed to the nail shiny side up. The foil adheres to the adhesive base used, and when the foil piece is pulled away from the nail, the foil adhering to the adhesive base remains. Some applications require multiple pressings of foil piece to nail to get full desired coverage.

Nail Foil Application Tutorial (Sourced here)

Foil (Polish): a type of finish that has high shine and a metallic base with very fine particles which creates a sparkly but smooth finish.

Example of Foil Polish (Sourced here)

Foil Method: technique used to remove regular or gel nail polish. Popular for removing difficult-to-remove polishes (such as glitter). Lightly saturate a cotton ball/pad with polish remover, place on the nail, then wrap foil around finger tightly and leave it sitting for 6-10 minutes. After time has passed, push down gently on foil over nail and "rub" a little as you pull foil and saturated cotton ball/pad off of finger. Occasionally this method must be repeated to get stubborn parts off. Soft gel polish likely will not slide off and requires gentle scraping using tool or orange stick to remove polish. A tutorial of the foil removal method can be found HERE. For soft gel polish removal, I recommend this tutorial.

Foil Method (Sourced tutorial here)

Formula: the result of the polish's ingredients which affect the application experience. Example: “The formula was thick.  It dried too quickly and was hard to use. Had to add thinner to make it usable.” or "The formula was perfect, applying smoothly and evenly."

Franken: When pre-made polishes are blended to create one personalized color. Also when polish is manipulated by adding particles, pigments, base, etc.

Frankener: a person who creates “Frankens”.

Frankening: the act of creating a “Franken.”

Free Edge: the very tip of your nail when it goes beyond the tip of your finger. The underside of the nail is usually visible.

Sourced here

Frost: a type of finish that has a frosted appearance.  This style of polish was especially popular in the 1980s/1990s. For an application avoiding brush strokes, use a makeup sponge to sponge on last color coat prior to topcoat.

Sourced here

Fuzzy Nails: a nail trend where a base polish is applied and a fuzzy material is then applied on top creating a literal "fuzzy" texture. Known as being novel, but impractical. Fuzz can be long or short and made from a number of materials including faux fur, cotton ball shreds, and other clinging materials that are "fuzzy."

Example of Fuzzy Nail Trend (Sourced here)


Glitter: a type of polish that has glitter in it. Traditionally refers to a polish that is opaque with glitter, but can also refer to sparse glitter polishes known as "Glitter Toppers."

Example of Glitter Polish: KBShimmer "Set In Ocean" (Sourced here)

Gradient: technique using 2 or more polishes where the colors blend where they meet. Similar to the way a sunset might look when pink fades to orange.  Often confused with or considered interchangeable with "Ombre Nails" (100% of Ombre Nails can be a gradient but not all Gradient Nails can be an ombre; see "Ombre Nails").

Example of a 2 polish linear gradient (Sourced here)

Example of a 3 polish linear gradient (Sourced here)

Example of a multiple polish gradient (Sourced here)


Half-Moon Manicure: a form of nail art where nails are painted a base color then taped off using a circular piece of tape at the moon or lunula of your nail.  Then painted with a different color to create the look of a half moon.

Example of Half Moon nail art (Sourced here)

Haul: getting a large amount of items all at once.

Helmer: popular among the nail polish community for being a convenient and organized way to store nail polish, especially since the height of the drawers are perfect for holding the majority of polishes standing up without issue. A Helmer is a small set of drawers from IKEA, similar to a file cabinet, and can store upwards of 500 polishes. The Helmer comes in several colors and is popular with American bloggers. Product link here.

Hidden Shimmer:  a type of shimmer that is apparent in the bottle but mostly or completely disappears when it dries on the nail.

Example of Hidden Shimmer (Sourced here)

Holo: short for "holographic." Holo(graphic) polishes have very fine microshimmer-like material (Spectraflair) that gives off a rainbow-like effect when viewed at different angles and in different lighting. Holo can be either linear or scattered.

Example of holo(graphic) polish (Sourced here)

HTF: stands for Hard To Find.  These are polishes that are usually discontinued or limited edition and in high demand.  Therefore sometimes costing a lot of money (in eBay or swap groups.) Example: “OPI DS Glamour for sale. HTF.”

Hungry Glitter: comes in two forms: (1) Glitter polish whose glitter particles are large enough and/or dense enough to creates spaces between particles. When a topcoat layer is applied, the topcoat fills in those spaces, leaving the textured surface intact. Imagine a jar full of large rocks and then adding sand; the sand falls through and fills the gaps rather than just sit at the top. It may take two or more coats of topcoat to achieve a smooth surface. (2) Glitter polish with large glitter pieces (see "Chunky Glitter") that creates an uneven surface, requiring many coats to achieve a smooth surface.

Example of "Chunky Glitter" that is a Hungry Glitter (Sourced here)


Indie or Indie Polish: polish created by independent makers, usually manufactured by creator and/or small teams. Commonly these are hand-mixed and made in limited quantities based on demand and community interest.

Example of Indie Polish by KBShimmer (Sourced here)

ISO: stands for In Search Of.  Used in polish sale groups, forums, etc. when a person is looking for a certain item.  Example: “ISO Lynnderella Liquid Valentine.”


Jelly: a type of finish that has a squishy appearance and sheer application. Popular for layering, including over other polishes and/or nail art.

Example of a Jelly Polish (Sourced here)

Jelly Sandwich: a technique where you layer jelly polish, a glitter polish and then another coat of the jelly polish on top.

Example of a Jelly Sandwich manicure (Video tutorial here)



Latex (Latex Barrier, Liquid Latex, Liquid Palisade, Latex Tape, Poli Peel, etc.): a product (sold by many different brands or you can make your own) that is painted around the nail bed to protect the skin while creating nail art that is easily peeled off when finished. If you have an allergy to latex, other methods are advised (will provide further information in near future).

Example of liquid latex (Sourced here)

Lemming: Per Urban Dictionary: “A lemming refers to a purchase/wished-for-item which results from reading an enthusiastic post about a new fabulous product. Overcome by compulsion, readers follow like lemmings diving off a cliff.” Can be a noun or verb. Examples: “That polish is one of my biggest lemmings!” or “I am totally lemming the new OPI Collection after reading her blog post!”

Linear Holographic: When a polish has densely packed smaller particles creating a strong holographic effect.

Example of Linear Holographic polish (Sourced here)


Manicure/Mani: a cosmetic treatment of the hands involving cutting, shaping, and often painting of the nails, trimming/pushing of the cuticles, and softening of the skin.

Mani Shot/Mani Bomb: similar to a bath bomb but in a smaller size, it’s a concoction that, when placed in water, fizzes and bubbles.  It’s used to moisturize and soothe hands and/or feet.

Matte: a type of finish this results in flat or near-satin, non-shiny look.

Example of Matte Finish (Sourced here)

Matte Top Coat:  a topcoat (various brands make matte topcoats) that can go over any polish to give it a matte finish. Best to apply on top of a layer of fast-dry topcoat, as most mattifying topcoats are not fast-dry. Applying matte topcoat directly over polish may result in insufficient drying and curing.

Mainstream: a polish made by a large company such as Revlon, OPI, China Glaze, Zoya, etc. Usually sold in drug and/or department stores, online retailers, manufacturer's website, and boutiques. Polishes are considered more accessible and larger quantities of stock are available.

Melmer: a smaller, particle board alternative to a Helmer.  Found at Michael’s Craft Store.

Example of a Melmer (Sourced here)

Metallic: a type of finish that is high in shine and mirror-like. Due to its formula, it can sometimes show brush-strokes or nail imperfections.

Example of a Metallic nail polish (Sourced here)

Multichrome: a polish that shifts between multiple colors depending on the angle and lighting.

Example of a Multichrome polish (Sourced here)


Nail Buddy (aka Polish Buddy, Polish Pal or Swap Buddy): a friend or acquaintance in the nail polish community who sends you polishes and/or other items (often times these are items that you can not get in your area) in exchange for payment.  Or a friend or acquaintance in the nail polish community with whom you swap items with. (Also see: “Swap”).

Nail Mail: can be one of three things: (1) when you receive nail polish in the mail that you may have ordered online or through a blog sale; (2) when you and a friend (or nail buddy) swap polishes, nail supplies and/or treats and exchange them in the mail; (3) when you pay a friend or nail buddy to buy polishes for you that they send to you in the mail. Example: “I can’t wait to get home, I’m expecting nail mail [from Jane]!”

No-Buy: an allotted amount of time picked out by an individual, during which they will not buy any nail polish. Example: “I can’t get the new collection because I’m on a no-buy.”

NOTD: stands for Nails Of The Day.  Example: “My NOTD are KBShimmer Hex Appeal!”

NP: stands for "Nail Polish".


Ombre: a look created by using two methods:

(1) 5 polishes in the same color family but just “one-off” from each other painted individual on each nail from lightest to darkest to create a gradual color change (Often confused with Gradient Nails).

Example of traditional Ombre manicure (Sourced here)

(2) Three or more polishes of the same color but "one-off" from each other in shade are painted on a sponge from lightest to darkest to create a gradual color change. This is technically also a gradient, but an Ombre only uses one color in many shades, unlike gradients. Thus any ombre can be a gradient, but not all gradients can be ombre.

Example of a sponged Ombre (Video Tutorial here)


Pedicure/Pedi: a cosmetic treatment of the feet and toenails involving cutting, often painting of the nails, and softening of the skin.

Peel-Off Basecoat: a type of basecoat, usually used under hard to remove glitter polishes that peels off the nail without damaging the nail bed.  These are either store bought (OPI and essence make one) or made at home.

Example of Peel-Off Basecoat Method (Sourced here)

Pond Manicure: a nail art technique where a jelly nail polish and nail art is layered multiple times creating depth and dimension to the overall look.

Example of a Pond Manicure tutorial (Sourced here)



Reverse Gradient: see "Gradient." A nail art technique where a gradient is applied to the nail, then a design barrier (such as nail vinyls) is applied to the nail. The same gradient is then applied in reverse over the design barrier, after which the barrier is removed followed by a topcoat. Another method is to apply the reverse gradient by Stamping Gradient.

Example of a Reverse Gradient using the barrier method (Sourced here)

Example of a Reverse Gradient Using Nail Vinyls (Sourced Here)

Reverse Stamping: A nail art technique using the basics of stamping but “coloring-in” the underside of the stamped design before placing on the nail.

Example of Reverse Stamping (Sourced here)

Ruffian: a manicure style where nails are painted one color and then painted a different color on top but with a gap between the cuticle and nail walls and the second polish to show the polish underneath in a crescent shape.

Example of Ruffian Nails (Sourced here)


Saran Wrap Technique (aka “Glad Wrap Technique” or “Shrink Wrap Technique”): a form of nail art  that creates a two-tone marble-like design using saran wrap (not to be confused with water marbling.) There are 2 techniques used to create this look:

(1) Paint your nails as you normally would and allow it to dry, then paint a different color on top and using a scrunched up ball of saran wrap, lightly dab the top layer of polish while it’s still wet.

(2) Paint your nails as you normally would and allow it to dry, then take a scrunched up ball of saran wrap and brush some polish on it.  Then, touch the saran wrap to the nail.

Both methods allow for the color underneath to show through.  Top it off with a top coat to even out the look.  

Example of the result of the Saran Wrap technique (Video tutorial here)

Satin: a type of finish that gives the polish a luster that is a blend between shine and matte.

Example of a Satin finish (Sourced here)

Scattered Holographic: a polish that has larger and less dense holographic particles.  Often appearing to look more like a shimmer polish.

Scraper: a product made of thin, flat plastic that is used to scrape the excess polish off of a stamping plate while doing stamping nail art.  It could be something as simple as an old gift card or credit card, or a piece of plastic specifically designed for this.

Shattered Glass: a nail art technique using iridescent cellophane wrapping cut in small pieces and laid on the nail to create a “shattered glass” effect.

Example of Shattered Glass effect (Sourced here)

Sheer: a type of finish that is intended to be translucent when applied. Some Sheers can be built up to opacity after three or more coats, but they are meant to be worn transparent.

(Source link broken)

Shimmer: a type of finish with shimmer, usually in a colored base.

Example of a Shimmer polish (Sourced here)

Shrinkage: something that may happen to a new manicure after a fast-dry topcoat is applied.  The polish underneath shrinks away from the tips (and/or cuticles) of the nails making it look like there is obvious wear/tip wear. A common problem for many people when using Seche Vite topcoat.

Example of Shrinkage (Sourced here)

Shreds: medium to large-size shredded glitters that come in a variety of colors and are not uniform in shape.

Skittle: a manicure where there is a different color on each nail.

Example of a Skittle Manicure (Sourced here)

Skittlette: a manicure where there is a variety of different colors and designs on each nail or on accent nails.

Example of a Skittlette Manicure (Sourced here)

Spectraflair: from Wikipedia:
“A specialized diffractive colorant for automotive and industrial coatings that show multiple rainbow colors as the viewing angle changes. This pigment is based on microscopic aluminum flakes layered with glass and inorganic pigments. The combination of SpectraFlair’s rainbow-like color, aluminum core, and fine particle size creates an iridescent, liquid silver metallic appearance.”  Spectaflair is often used by indie makers or frankeners to create linear or scattered holographic polishes.

Spun Sugar: a nail art technique where semi-dried nail polish is strung over the tops of your nails. Similar to the spun sugar technique used in baking.

Example of Spun Sugar Technique (Sourced here)

Stamper: a nail art tool used to transfer stamping designs, usually with a silicone top/head that is fitted in a metal or plastic handle. May be opaque or clear stamping head.

(Sourced here)

Stamping: a nail art technique using stamping polish and stamping plates (see definitions below), a scraper and a stamper (see definitions above) where a design is transferred from the plate to the stamper and then from the stamper to the nail.

Example of Nail Stamping

Stamping Marble: a nail art technique using regular polishes blobbed onto a stamper and then dabbed onto the nail to create a marbled effect.

Example of Stamped Marble (Sourced here)

Stamping Plates: metal plates with designs etched into them that are used for stamping nail art. There are many different brands that make them and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs.

Example of a MoYou London Stamping Plate (Sourced here)

Stamping Polish: nail polish that is very opaque and thicker than regular polish and is used specifically for stamping nail art. They are generally only ideal for stamping and not for painting your nails, many being prone to staining. There are many different brands that make stamping polish and it comes in many colors and finishes.

Stash: a person’s personal collection of nail polish.

Striping Tape (aka Nail Art Tape): very thin, colored tape.  Used for nail art or to create precise lines when creating nail art.

Example of Striping Tape applied to nail for design (Sourced here)

Example of Striping Tape applied & removed for nail art (Sourced here)

Swap: when you and a friend (or nail buddy) swap polishes, nail supplies and/or treats.  (Also see “Nail Mail.”)

Swaplifter:  A person who makes a deal with another person to swap nail polish or goods but they never hold up their end of the deal.  Example: “I sent the polishes to her but it turns out she is a swaplifter because I never got polishes from her!”

Swatch: when a polish is applied to one or more nails (or on a swatch wheel) for a brief period of time.  Usually done in order to photograph it for a blog post.

Swatch Book: a "book" that when opened displays rows and columns of fake nails that have applied nail polish. Used to display swatched polish or nail art.

Example of Swatch Book (My Own)

Swatch Stick: a plastic stick with a fake nail attached to it.  Used to swatch polish or practice nail art.

Example of Swatch Sticks (Sourced here)

Swatch Wheel (aka Nail Wheel): a plastic circle with multiple fake nails attached to it.  Used to swatch polish or practice nail art.

Example of a Swatch Wheel (Sourced here)


Texture: a type of finish that purposely has a gritty, bumpy, lumpy and/or other textured appearance. The texture can feel like anything from leather to rough sandpaper.

Example of Texture nail polish (Sourced here)

Thermal: a type of nail polish that changes color when exposed to warm or cold.

Example of a Thermal polish (Sourced here)

Tip Wear: when the nail polish rubs off of the tips of your nails from everyday wear.


Undie(s): polish you would wear underneath another polish. Usually used under a glitter polish that has a clear base or a polish that is too sheer to be worn alone.

Untried(s): polish(es) that you have purchased but remain unused. Example: “I got that collection over a month ago and it’s still in my untrieds.”


VHTF: stands for Very Hard To Find.  Example: “Enchanted Polish Marge’s Blue Beehive is VHTF.”

VNL: stands for Visible Nail Line. When you wear a polish (often sheers or jellies) and the free edge of your nail can be seen through the polish.

Example of Visible Nail Line (Sourced here)


Watercolor: a type of nail art involving five main methods:

(1) A small blot of polish is put on the nail, then while still wet, a drop of acetone is put on top to spread the polish out in a watercolor effect.

Example of acetone watercolor technique (Sourced here)

(2) A matte topcoat is layered over polish and once fully dry, Sharpie markers (Sharpie fabric markers work best) are used to apply marks to the mattified nail, after which rubbing alcohol (90% best) is applied to the marks to dilute and spread the ink.

Example of Sharpie Watercolor technique (Sourced here)

(3) A matte topcoat is layered over polish and once fully dry, use water in actual watercolor paints or diluted acrylic paints to apply as if painting watercolor.

(Sourced here)

(4) The sheer technique involves diluted polish, jelly polish, or sheer polish to create layers to create a design.

(Sourced here)

(5) The plastic bag technique involves blobbing colors onto the nail and gently placing and pulling away a piece of plastic bag (video below).

Example of the plastic bag technique for Watercolor manicure (Sourced here)

Additional methods:

Example of a Salt Watercolor manicure (Video tutorial here)

Example using Sponge Watercolor technique (Tutorial video here)

Water Decals/Waterslide Decals: a nail art product. A design is printed on a special kind of material and placed against a paper backing.  You soak it in warm water and place the decal on your nail. The decal can be a full nail or small design.

Example of Water Slide decals over pink polish (Sourced here)

Waterfall: a type of nail are where thin stripes are painted starting at the base of the nail and fad out toward (but not at) the tips of the nails to create the resemblance of a waterfall.

Example of a Waterfall manicure (Sourced here)

Watermarble: a type of nail art where drops of polish are added to water and swirled and/or stroked with a fine detail tool.  You then place your nail in (one at a time) for a marbled effect.

Example of Water Marble Tutorial (Original tutorial here)

Wrap Your Tips: the act of brushing polish over the tips of your nails to create a seal and "finished" look. This significantly extends wear time and helps reduce early chipping.

Example of Wrapping Your Tips (Sourced here)