Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tips and Tricks: Expanding your Stash with DIY Toppers

Purchased by Me

If you use soak off gel polish, you have likely discovered that building a polish stash isn't cheap.  So today I'm going to show you a fun way to expand your collection without spending a lot of cash by making your own toppers out of pure pigments.  There are several places online where you can find pure pigments for frankening nail polish and making cosmetics.  My personal favorite is Coastal Scents.  Coastal Scents has a large selection of mica powders that are perfect for mixing with top coat to create amazing toppers.  And they offer sample sizes that are more than you will ever need for nail art for $1 to $2.50.

I swatched a few custom toppers to show you out of my pigment collection.  I painted half of each of the swatch sticks with Couture Little Black Dress and left the other half clear to give you a better idea of how each topper will look over light and dark colors.  When selecting pigments, look for the ones that appear white(ish) in powder form.  Those make the best toppers. 

First, the mirage powders.  I love these for the chunkier finish and the fact that they don't change the base color as much.

Next, I swatched a few of the crystals and other super fines.  These are finer powders that do alter the colors when applied over a base.

Now that you've seen how gorgeous these are, onto the "How To".

I mix my toppers on a piece of foil as I go so I don't have to buy extra bottles of top coat.  4-6 drops of top coat is usually more than enough to do all 10 nails once mixed with the pigment depending on the length of your nails.  You can use a little pigment or a lot to get varying effects.  However, as a general rule, you should never mix more than 1/3 pigment to 2/3 gel to avoid curing issues.  :)

I use an orangewood stick to place a small amount of pigment (half a grain of rice) on the foil.

Add 4-6 drops of topcoat.  The picture below shows the size of one drop of topcoat on the foil.

Mix well and you're ready to paint it on like you would a store-bought topper.  I use the topcoat brush and simply clean it well with alcohol when I'm finished to avoid transferring pigment back into the topcoat bottle. You can use a gel brush if you don't want to risk contaminating your top coat bottle with shimmer. 

Add a layer of pure top coat and you're done.  There you have it, DIY toppers for less than $1 per mani.  :)



  1. hi. can you use them like the pigments from cnd or young nails? thanks

  2. Yes, you can :) The CND additives are pure pigments similar to these. The Mirage pigments will give a similar effect to the CND Sparkling Effects while the finer pigments will give more concentrated coverage like the other CND additives.


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