Now that the 2015 Crackle Polish Challenge is over, I want to use today's post to summarize my thoughts, feelings, and findings over the past few months.
As some of my readers may already know, I recently finished a
self-imposed challenge to design manicures for each of the 20 bottles of
crackle polish in my nail polish collection. The goal was to use each bottle in
a different, creative way that updates the traditional crackle polish manicure.
Prior to the challenge, the bottles had not been used for over three years. I
was tired of ignoring them, so the challenge came about as my attempt to start
using them again – without looking like I had just stepped out of 2011!
|My Crackle Polish Collection|
My first post
about the challenge was published Jan 9th, and the last post
about it was published April 3rd. This project lasted exactly 12 weeks - that's close to 3 months! In total, I posted 22 crackle manicures, although there were also other vetoed ideas, and unsuccessful experiments. All told, that's a lot of time spent wearing, applying, and thinking about crackle polish! I definitely have learned a few things from the experience.
First and foremost, this experiment has made me appreciate the artistic
value of crackle topcoat! It's a great tool to have in your bag of tricks, and
can be used to create gorgeous nail art - the key is to think outside of the
box with application and techniques to avoid looking dated. It helps to think of crackle polish as part of your manicure, as opposed to
something you use for a ‘crackle manicure’. In other words, use it as part of a concept or theme,
as opposed to it being the entire focus.
Some of my favourite techniques from the challenge did precisely this. I feel the uses went beyond a crackle manicure, and instead created nail art that just happened to use crackle polish. As a result, I'm looking forward to being able to incorporate these techniques into my nail art going forward. Here are my top five crackle applications from the challenge:
1) Using a negative space
nail stamping image over a crackle background
2) Using crackle polish to create a graffiti
3) Using crackle polish and jelly polish to make a 'Crackle Sandwich'
4) Using crackle polish for a dotted manicure
5) Using crackle polish to make nail decals
|Left to Right: My Top 5 Crackle Polish Applications from the Challenge|
I also have two honourable mentions from the challenge. These didn't necessarily transform the crackle polish into anything new, but they did tone down the look in such a way that the crackle polish does not overwhelm all of the other design elements of the manicure. I can also see myself using these techniques again in future manicures:
6) The 'Crackle Curve'
7) Using crackle polish to help embellish an accent
|Left to Right: My Top 2 Honourable |
Mentions From the Challenge
Another thing I learned from this challenge, is to not get caught in the trap of feeling that you can't use something just because it isn't on trend. You can always add your own creativity and style into how you use any cosmetic product, and by doing that, you can make almost anything work. At the start of the challenge, when faced with the prospect of wearing crackle polishes for my next 20 manicures, I was originally worried about looking unfashionable and/or not loving my manicures. However, throughout the challenge, I actually got compliments on some of my nail looks, and even more importantly - I really loved how a lot of the manicures turned out!
This challenge also taught me to not let anything cramp your style. When I first thought of the challenge, I was also a little worried about not being able to add my own personal style into the manicures. I love nail stamping, and I originally thought that having to use crackle polish would mean that I wouldn't be able to do a lot of nail stamping for an extended period of time. However, as the challenge progressed it became more and more apparent to me that rather than being limited in the types of nail art I could do, having to use crackle polish actually gave me more options in some cases, by providing me with one more tool that I could use for my stamping manicures.
Not only did I still manage to do some nail stamping for the majority of the crackle manicures, I even got to execute some ideas that I had in mind for ages. 'Crazy Decal Mani
', 'Dragonfly Mani'
, and 'Graffiti Mani'
were all ideas I had quite some time ago - this challenge gave me the opportunity to do them, and a tool with which to make them better than I had originally envisioned. In addition, I even had a nail stamping epiphany that will make me a better stamper going forward: I learned that the value of negative space nail stamping images lies in the fact that they enable you to turn an intricately patterned backgrounds into intricately patterned objects by stamping a the negative space background image over the pattern. This realization has breathed new life into my nail stamping!
Finally, this challenge has also reinforced a piece of wisdom that we sometimes take for granted: Just because something isn't popular, it doesn't mean that it is not good. There are all kinds of underrated concepts, people, places, and things in life - but for now, let's just stick to nail polish! Right now, I can only think of one major brand still making new bottles of crackle polish. This is a major contrast to how things were at the height of the crackle fad, when pretty much every single polish company had at least one crackle line, if not several variations of crackle polish to offer (metallic, neons, glitter, pastels etc.). I feel that the reason why crackle polish is virtually nowhere to be seen right now, is because it has suffered from the uber-popularity it enjoyed a few years ago. When something becomes too big of a fad, there is usually a reaction against it when the fad is over.
I'm realizing now just how unfortunate that is, because crackle polish is a wonderful top coat option - just like glitter top coat, matte top coat, glow-in-the-dark top coat, shimmer top coat, tinted top coats, high-gloss top coat etc. I think it's important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, a full set of traditional crackle nails is not always the most creative, inventive manicure out there, but with surprising colour choices, and/or used with interesting techniques, crackle topcoat can be used to create beautiful works of nail art. Creative tools shouldn't be stigmatized, or deemed unfashionable in and of themselves. The result you get all depends on what you do with them. With a little effort and imagination, any polish can be used to make amazing nail art.
From what I remember, the crackle polish fad started with the popularity of OPI's 'Black Shatter' from their spring 2011 Katy Perry collection. Over the next 2 years or so, the fad spread to other brands, gathered momentum, reached its peak, and then slowly fizzled out. That 2 or 3 year period must have translated into millions of bottles of crackle polish sold. That means there must still be a lot of crackle polish out there in people's collections - some perhaps even gathering dust, just like mine were. For those of you in that situation, I challenge you to take them out, and play around with them. Have fun, and see what you come up with!