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3.9 out of 5 stars164
3.9 out of 5 stars
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OPI are about to release a 'shatter coat' [for about £10] alongside their Katy Perry colour collection, so so-called 'Crackle Polishes' are set to be big beauty news this year. Luckily for us Barry M already have a 'Crackle Polish' of their own on the market and it is cheaper, easier to find and is the same product as it's double-the-price contender.

Barry M INSTANT NAIL EFFECTS is a black polish* that is applied over another colour: As it dries it cracks into a unique pattern, that is similar to a leopard print.

Not only does it give an easy, professional pattern every time, but it is also hard wearing and helps my polish last longer without using another top coat over it**. I think this is due to the formula being slightly thicker then most nail polishes [but non-gloopy], so it forms a thick protective layer over your base colour.

* It is labelled as a Nail Paint - the same as Barry M's other polishes - so I wasn't sure what to call it, but the formula was created to separate as it dries so it won't work as a regular polish.

** This product is not billed as a topcoat, so it's just my personal experience. Without using a regular topcoat my polish will last for at least four days with only minimal wear. But [as previously mentioned] I'm tough on my nails (self powered wheelchair user), so this product will give longer lasting results on other people.

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How to apply
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1) Simply apply one or two coats of your chosen polish shade [don't go for dark colours as the finished results won't show up very well].

2) When the base colour is dry apply one coat of INSTANT NAIL EFFECTS over it*. As the top coat dries [within one minute] it starts to crack and separate, leaving a unique leopard skin pattern.

* When you apply it be careful not to overlap the stokes of INE, as this affects the pattern and the results will become uneven and won't dry properly.

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The packaging
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The brush: Barry M don't use my preferred wide brushes, so it'll take up to three strokes to coat the nail. Normally this would put me off from using it, but as you need to be careful and not overlap this product the thinner brush is very handy. Also; As the brush is thinner less polish is loaded onto the brush, so the nail doesn't become glooped with product.

The bottle: The square shape of the bottle makes it very easy to grip, meaning there's less chance of any spills [Am I the only person who keeps hold of the bottle whilst painting my nails?]

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I was really shocked by the results and couldn't believe how easy it is to use; NAIL EFFECTS gives the exact results it promises and is as easy to apply as the brand leads you to believe. I'm left-handed and have unsteady hands [nerve damage], yet still have no problems applying this.

As mentioned above; Lighter colours are best for this as the pattern is black. I personally think that lilac and mint are two of the best shades for this, so keep an eye open for new spring/summer shades. If you want people to sit up and notice your new nail art use a bright orange as the base colour [if you really want it to look special dab a few spots/stripes with white polish too].

Although you can use any finish of polish as a base, I personally prefer to use creme finishes as I think they are slightly smoother to paint over.
33 comments|57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 January 2011
This nail varnish is brilliant. Firstly you put on a layer of normal nail varnish, wait for it to dry and then paint one single coat of instant effects over the top. The nail varnish then cracks and creates an effect similar to that on the lid.
Between the cracks you will see the original colour you put on.
It is easy to use and it doesn't matter if you don't put it on perfectly. It looks like something you would get done at a salon, its brilliant.
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on 2 June 2011
I bought this nail varnish on offer from a well-known high street store. I mostly got it because it was cheap, and I wanted to know if I would like the effect before I shelled out the money on a more expensive "salon" brand.

I have to say I am utterly blown away by this. I took into account some of the tips I had read about application but honestly, in my opinion it was very easy to apply (especially considering the brush, which is a traditional thinner type rather than the more modern wide brushes you see nowadays). I paired it with a Rimmel coral-coloured base colour and the Barry M 3-in-1 clear as a top coat and it is showing absolutely no signs of budging off my nails after three days. I have long natural nails and type a lot for a living so my nails are getting a very realistic amount of wear. Also it is so much fun to apply, it dries so quickly and you can see the cracks appearing before your eyes - especially if you blow on it. :D

So some tips for the effect:

1) The thinner you apply, the thinner the cracks will be. Thicker application leads to bigger chunks and bigger cracks.
2) Paint quickly - this dries extremely fast so you have to be confident and quick with your application. On the plus side, due to the very nature of the effect you don't have to be particularly neat. :) Some people have said it's important not to overlap - this may be the case but I found it impossible NOT to overlap and as long as you are quick, in my experience it doesn't matter too much.
3) Allow your base colour to dry completely before applying the effect.
4) This is a thin matte polish so a good quality top coat is a must. As mentioned though, I have used the Barry M top coat and found it very good.

In all I think this is a fantastic product, it is prompting me to want to wear colours I would never usually wear (like emerald green or cobalt blue). My nails are getting so much attention and I think my hands look prettier too. Even my boyfriend said (in these exact words):

"As a heterosexual male, I think they look fabulous."
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on 13 January 2011
This is a brilliant product and works really well. I've used it several times now and have been really pleased with the results; I've even had compliments from complete strangers!

OPI have just brought out their own version, but it's much more expensive, and owning both OPI and Barry M nail varnish, I would say that the Barry M nail varnishes actually last longer, and therefore much better value for money!

One tip I would say is, put a clear top coat on, it makes the effect fit in with the base colour much better and looks nicer! (The effect nail varnish has a matt look.)

I hope Barry M will bring out more colours soon!
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on 3 February 2011
It took me quite a while to get hold of Barry M's nail effects polish, because for a long time after its release it seemed to be sold out everywhere I went on the high street.

The idea behind this product is that you can create nail art using minimal effort and very little skill. To use, simply paint your nails with any standard coloured nail polish and paint a layer of nail effects over the top. The black nail effects polish will shrink and crack to reveal the coloured polish underneath, giving an unusual and unique effect, which looks like it could have been done in a salon.

I found this very easy to use. I would recommend putting quite a bright colour underneath, as paler shades don't really stand out very well. The nail effects seems slightly thicker than regular polish, but is easy to paint on. The good thing about it is that anyone can do it whether they have experience at nail art or not, as if you miss a bit you can just pass it off as part of the design!

The finished effect is impressive, although I was surprised how matte the black is, so I apply a clear top coat over it to add shine. This is a bargain product, OPI have the Katy Perry shatter coat which does the same thing but is nearly three times the price! I really hope other colours of this are released in the future.
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on 9 July 2011
I loved the product to begin with it looked great and lasted a while on the nail. But after a week or two it started getting less liquid and more solid and unusable even though I did as the instructions stated and kept it away from heat. Its now completely unusable which is a complete shame! Not really worth the money!
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on 21 February 2011
I love this item, it really does exactly what it says it will, it's really simple to apply and works even if you don't use OPI as a base colour. You have to make sure the base colour is completely dry or it wont look as good, def. worth the patience.
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on 15 March 2011
This nail varnish is amazing! I've just finished putting it over a blue glitter polish and it looks fab! One word of advice - for bigger 'shards' apply a thicker coat - for finer 'shards' paint a thin layer.
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on 17 February 2011
I brought this as I wanted that Salon effect on the cheap...

It took me three attempts to perfect the use of this product;
1st - Applied too thin, ended up with black streaks across my nails.
Wiped it all off, painted my nails and attemped again to use this product.
2nd - Too thick! Large chunky pieces off black across my nails looking more like blobs than a nail effect.
Wiped it all off, painted my nails and attemped again to use this product again!
3rd - Gave up and let my sister in law do it, she got it perfect as she wasn't worried about painting the rest of my finger.
After a quick clean up of my skin the effect was perfect and lasted all week, only removed due to regrowth!

Now my sister-in-law wants some (lucky its gone down in price)

I recommend you give this a try and don't give up if it doesn't work first time or second! :)
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on 5 January 2013
This polish works best over very bright or pale coats. (I used silver - you can see it in the customer pic above.) I'm not sure how the other reviewer got it to break into such small bits - when I try that it goes streaky! The way I got the effect was to lay it on very thickly. This also needs to be done quickly as it starts to "crackle" very fast. Other reviewers have said not to overlap the strokes, but actually this did work ok for me. Probably best to experiment with the look you want. The end effect is matt so I also added a layer of clear top coat. Does tend to chip very quickly (or peel off with top coat) - lasted about 24 hours. Still good value for the price though, and fun for a night out.

Edit: I bought this at about £2.50 - it's now gone up to around £8! At this price I don't think I would recommend as it is so short lived.
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