Saturday, December 15, 2012

Franken Basics Part 1: Bases

It's pretty obvious that Indie brands have completely blown up over the past year or so in popularity. It even seems that mainstream brands are starting to copy trends that were first started by Indie polish makers (here's lookin' at you ChG Whirled Away, Get Carried Away, and It's a Trap-eze!). So it's no wonder that people are more interested than ever in trying to create their own masterpieces.

That being said, contrary to Pinterest, while it can be as easy as just dumping old pressed eye shadow into clear nail polish, not surprisingly enough, it can get WAY more complicated than that. So I've decided to compile a list of basic know how's and facts that is important for every polish maker.

First up, we have bases. Bases are exactly as they sound, the base formula for a nail polish in which things will be added to make the final product. Personally, I get my base from TKB Trading and they are fantastic in explaining which base is used for what. However, I have also seen them sold at NAILITE, Brambleberry, and even on Etsy (please note that I have not ordered from any vendor other than TKB Trading and cannot comment or vouch on their quality or customer service). I have also bought pre-mixed jelly and matte bases. What alot of  people don't realize is, not every base is suitable for every kind of nail polish. There are certain bases that are more appropriate for glitters, some that are more appropriate for pigments, etc.

So without further ado, I bring you franken base comparisons:

Ok dear friends, for reference purposes, from left to right I am comparing Sally Hansen Powerful Acrylic Gel, TKB Glamour Base (which per TKB, is best for glitters), and TKB Luster Base (per TKB best for pigments but can be used in a pinch for glitters). Note that the Sally Hansen is crystal clear, the Glamour Base is clear but a little cloudier than the Sally Hansen, and the Luster Base is a milkier almost yellow color

Here are the bases on the nail, Pointer to Ring finger, Sally Hansen Powerful Acrylic Nail Gel, Glamour Base, and Luster Base. Even though the colors are different, they aren't noticeable on the nail (check out the sweet towel background! Ha!).

Here we have comparison of glitter with L to R, Sally Hansen, Glamour Base, and Luster Base. The top picture is immediately after shaking, 1 hour after shaking, and 4 hours after shaking. You can see that the Sally Hansen pretty much failed for suspension purposes (which is fine since they make no promises about suspension use)  but the Glamour and Luster bases held up pretty well. 

Next up we have comparison of the 3 bases with TKB pigment added again immediately after shaking, 1 hour later, and 4 hours later. Sally Hansen is on the L and while it does look a tad different, still totally useable. Glamour and Luster look pretty much identical. EDIT: after a few days, the pigment has definitely separated from the Sally Hansen clear polish.

And finally, here is my base warning! Avoid turning a fabulous franken

Into a franken fail
by choosing the right base! That thing was effing terrible after awhile.

Until next time ladies, stay classy and creative!


  1. This actually answers a lot of questions I had about frakening. Very nicely done.

  2. Thi is so great! Thabk you for taking the time to do this. It is of great interest to me and I had no idea whete to even begin. I may just be your new number 1 fan!

    1. Haha, why thank you Kelly! I am so glad it was able to answer some of your questions!

  3. Hi! I have a question about the luster base, It looks the the glitter bled a little. Did it really, or is that just the color of the base? Thank you so much, this post was very informative!
    -Violet Tyler
    (my email is

    1. Hi Violet! I am so glad the post helped you out! The glitter actually did not bleed. Luster base is somewhat cloudy and yellow tinged when on it's own. However, when mixed with colorants, it is not detectable AT ALL. However, if you are doing something such as glitter top coats, I suggest something similar to the Glamour base since those don't usually have colorants mixed in and you want to keep the base crystal clear. Glad to help! Please let me know if you have any more questions!

  4. Oh, okay, thank you so much! I'm trying to find the best base, and I definitely don't want the glitter to bleed :) Thank you again!


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