China Glaze – Crackle nail lacquer review

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Get cracking this summer with the latest nail trend from China Glaze

China Glaze - Crackle nail lacquerphotos: stef and marilyn for we heart this

I love doing my nails. It’s just plain old good for a gal’s soul to treat herself to a manicure, a glass of wine and her favorite TV show, every week or so. Plus, changing your shade of polish is one of the least expensive and easiest ways to change up your look! Right now, one of the hottest trends is crackle/shatter nail polish, and though there are several brands of crackles, China Glaze’s newish Crackle Glaze line, gets my vote for being the best.

I had been wanting to buy some crackle polish for weeks, but was disappointed because I couldn’t find any in stock. Stef and Tyna must have been reading my mind, because they sent me two Crackle shades from China Glaze to review! Currently, the brand has two crackin’ good lines – Crackle Metals (six metallic hues for Summer 2011) and the original Crackle line (six colorful, shattering shades) all for about $8 per bottle.


I immediately started applying Brokenhearted, a hot pink creme over a completely dry base coat of black polish. After 3-5 minutes of waiting for the Crackle Glaze to finish doing its magic, I followed the directions to apply a topcoat. Even though my nails take a beating, my manicure lasted an entire week, with only a slight bit of tip wear and chipping at the end.

I can hardly wait to try new color combinations! My favorite so far? Brokenhearted with a silver glitter base coat as seen above.

Cracked ConcreteApplying the Crackle polish is just like any other nail lacquer. I’ve discovered through experimenting that thicker coats of Crackle Glaze will result in bigger cracks, but fewer of them in number. On the other hand, thinner coats of the polish creates numerous small cracks.

I played around with Cracked Concrete, a gray creme crackle (at left) which has so many possibilities! I tried out Cracked Concrete with blue and magenta glitter (not enough contrast), as well as with a blackened plum base coat (very dramatic). I’m dying to go to the store and buy the other four shades of Crackle Glaze, along with some bright colors to use underneath!

Lightning BoltLightning Bolt

Other shades in the Crackle Glaze line include Lightning Bolt (white creme), Black Mesh (black creme), Crushed Candy (teal creme) and Fault Line (purple shimmer).

It’s so “in” right now!
Fun and easy to use
DBP, Toulene and Formaldehyde free
Nice color selection

May take a little longer than a regular manicure
Might be a little too edgy for the office

What do you think, ladies: are you loving the Crackle lacquers from China Glaze? And is the shatter polish trend all that it’s cracked up to be?


  • Marilyn

    Marilyn is a makeup maniac and slow but stubborn runner. She loves color coding her day planner, reading celebrity gossip and drinking good wine. skin tone: NC25 Skin type: oily, acne-prone Favorite beauty product: eyeshadow

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  1. I still haven’t tried crackle nail polish, even though I’ve seen tons of other bloggers trying it. I really like your pink and silver nails (and the black and gray combo).

  2. I am really feeling these looks! I agree, @ lipgloss and spandex! Brokenhearted gets my vote too..I love that you can swith up the base coat to chnage the ‘crackle’ each time!
    Where can I find this polish?

    1. You can buy China Glaze Crackle Glaze on, Ulta (in store or online), and several online stores that specialize in nail products :)

  3. I have Crushed Candy and Cracked Concrete. Crushed Candy looks great with bright colors like yellow or neon pink underneath. I have found that using any sort of matte polish with the crackles makes them goopey looking instead of the cracks. I’m excited about the metallics and plan on picking up one or two of them. Especially Cracked Medallion.

    1. @lucylemonade, I just bought a couple of neon colors for that reason! I haven’t had any problems with matte polishes underneath, but I’m sorry you have. Maybe it’s the brand of matte polish?

  4. I was on the fence about the whole Crackle Count phenomenon until I saw these pics. Now I can’t wait to pick up a bottle and start cracking. Count me in as another lover of Brokenhearted– it looks so cool over the glitter base. Great post, @lipglossandspandex !

  5. I was on the fence about the whole Crackle phenomenon until I saw these pics. Now I can’t wait to pick up a bottle and start cracking. Count me in as another lover of Brokenhearted– it looks so cool over the glitter base. Great post, @lipglossandspandex !

  6. Great review @lipglossandspandex. I agree with Melissa–this is really a product that is more attractive and interesting when you see the pictures.

    Sadly, I am in the category that probably cannot wear this to the office or to see customers. However, it looks like it would be fun for the weekend.

  7. I am so tempted by the crackle polish…but I think it may be too “edgy” for me. I want to be edgy, danggit! LOL!
    I really adore the Cracked Concrete picture up above…*sighs wistfully*

    1. @krista, some of the color combinations can be really “edgy” looking. Using shades of polish that have less contrast will give you a less dramatic look–maybe a good way to ease into it? :)

  8. Who knew? I’m usually the last to learn about “new stuff” out there! LOL! I’m tempted to wear this but I work in an office and have to keep things pretty low key. Super cute though, and this has gotten my attention! Thanks for the great pictures and post, @lipglossandspandex
    I know my nieces would totally dig this!

  9. I just tried the crackle craze at my nail salon not too long ago! While it’s sometimes a bit much for my everyday look, I think it’s a great look for a night out or a concert!

  10. When I saw these I freaked! I remember when this look was big when I was in Jr High, I am SO glad its back. I couldn’t find it in stores either and ended up getting some from Amazon. Since then I’ve seen it at Ulta a few times. I really love the black over a bright color, like the Sally Hansen HD line. I put black over the Sally Hansen yellow and felt like Batgirl. (Yup, I’m a geek and I know it).

  11. These look awesome!! I want Brokenhearted! I too was kind of on the fence at first about crackle polish but these look great!

  12. I passed on testing these out – I was sort of afraid of them – and now I regret it! I’m really digging the look and love the pink shade of Broken Hearted.

    Plus, the crackle effect looks like it may help hide my manicure flaws!

  13. I’ve heard tons about crackling nail polish but to be honest, I really never gave it a second thought…until this post. Seriously, it looks amazing!

  14. I was HUGE into crackle polish back in the day but now I find myself waffling about it. Part of me thinks it’s too punk/edgy/messy for me right now, but part of me longs to reclaim my punk roots, LOL! I may pick up a bottle if I can get a good deal on it, but I’m going to leave this one to the rest of you edgy women, I love how it looks on you!!

  15. As I said before, I was skeptical about the crackle/shatter trend, but I just had to try it out for myself. I LOVE both of the shades that I tested, and have had tons of fun trying out combinations. I’m actually giving myself a fresh Crackle mani right now!

    If nothing else, I suggest that gals try it out for a weekend, or at least Halloween (black crackle over orange or green would be awesome!) I give China Glaze Crackle Glaze 5 stars :)

  16. I will admit that the crackle look is not exactly my cup of tea, but I think it’s pretty awesome how it was a trend back in the day and that it’s back again. Such proof that even beauty trends go in a cycle :) I think you did a great job with your application and color combos @lipglossandspandex

  17. Sadly, I think I am just way to OCD to really get on the crackle bandwagon. I spent the whole manicure stressing over the messiness. Plus, it adds a thickness to your nails that I wasn’t in love with. But, have fun you kids!

    @lipglossandspandex – I do really love your Cracked Concrete look above!

  18. It does look really cool in the pics above – especially Cracked Concrete and Brokenhearted – but I can’t get into it on my own nails, either. Like Erin said, maybe for a concert or if I actually went clubbing anymore! But, everyday, I just can’t get away from the messy feel it has. When I first saw it on people I thought it was just peeling polish and they were due for a manicure.

  19. @Stef, I definitely had a bit of a struggle with the Crackle polish too–it drove me nuts when I applied the polish too thick on one hand, and too thin on the other hand (AHHH, the cracks were all different sizes!!) I didn’t notice any thickness, but there definitely is a texture to it, visually and physically.

  20. I think that the crackle looks awesome! I especially love the black. But I do think that I would have some trouble with the application process. Maybe I will wait for a sale.

  21. Hey gals, just updating you on my Crackle obsession :) I tried another brand of shatter polish and was very disappointed. China Glaze is cementing its place as my favorite crackle polish!

    Also, I lent “Heartbreaker” to a friend of mine, and she LOOOOVED it. She wanted y’all to know that her pedicure lasted TWO FULL WEEKS–even though she’d been painting her new house, and had scrubbed paint off of her feet almost daily. But her polish still looked fab!

  22. I saw a ad for crackle, so I went and bought it at Ulta. I tried the Crush Candy and it came out horribly! Some of my fingers didn’t even crack! The nail polish was clumpy and went on thick and the cracks look horrible! I put on a silver glitter layer, then after it was dry I put on the Crackle, then after I took 4 of them off and reapplied them, I put on a topcoat. Did I do something wrong?

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