Exploring an Ice Dungeon! A Frozen Glitter Gradient Manicure with OPI and China Glaze

Greetings from the twinkling depths of a frozen crypt, fellow rogues!

Sometimes, adventuring can take you to some pretty unseasonable places. In this case, a crypt full of skeletonized warriors slumbering uneasily in their icy alcoves. All I can say is that there mustn’t have been this glacier here when they were buried, because I have no idea how they’d have persuaded the stonemasons to work in that chill. Presumably they had a fire elemental on hand.

Anyway! While exploring this ice-themed world, I found myself overwhelmingly tempted to re-create the idea of it on my nails when we got back to the surface. Minus the skeletons, but with additional glitter! And so I present, for your amusement, my Ice Crypt (or Frozen-themed, if you’re on a Disney kick) glitter gradient manicure!


Frozen Glitter Gradient Mani China Glaze Lorelei's Tiara and OPI Happy Anniversary

Glittering, sparkling, glistening icy beauty. Cuddly sweater optional but highly recommended, especially if it is actually cold.



This manicure was simple enough – basecoat, two coats of OPI Happy Annniversary (a shimmery, pearled silver) as a ground layer, followed by gradient coats of China Glaze Lorelei’s Tiara and one layer of topcoat just to seal everything in. If you want more detailed info on how to create a gradient manicure, check out this post! Below we have the polishes I used to create this look:


Frozen Glitter Gradient Mani China Glaze Lorelei's Tiara and OPI Happy Anniversary

China Glaze Lorelei’s Tiara and OPI Happy Anniversary, the polishes responsible for this glacial manicure.


Normally I’m very much a fan of having things as smooth and shiny and lacquered as possible,  but for this manicure I wanted to capture the gritty, crystalline nature of ice, especially ice particles that have blown over a surface and stuck. Or, you know, blown over your face and stuck while you were trying to fight off the skeletal undead. Very distracting.


Frozen Glitter Gradient Mani China Glaze Lorelei's Tiara and OPI Happy Anniversary

Bit more of a closeup to get an idea of the whole look in the shade…


Quick review of the polishes in question:

OPI Happy Anniversary is a reasonably thin, sheer, pearlescent white/silver polish that takes at least two coats to build up to even visibility. It is very thin, though, so you can easily layer up as many coats as you like to achieve your desired opacity. I like this one as a staple base for doing arty things like this ice manicure, or just two coats on their own for a subtle pearly-but-not-too-white effect. This polish appears to be part of OPI’s permanent collection, so it’s always on hand!

China Glaze Lorelei’s Tiara is a dense silver glitter with medium cyan blue hex glitter in a clear base. This polish is…tricky. Like some of the Butter London glitters, I find that it’s absolutely gorgeous, but tends to dry out quickly, meaning that it crusts up a bit on the brush and inside the neck of the bottle. If you’re prepared to work quickly, it yields lovely results, but it is a bit more awkward than I’d like. You can build the polish itself up to a completely covering foil layer on your nail, which is quite spectacular! Lorelei’s Tiara belongs to a collection that came out in 2011, so I’m not sure what the availability of it is like. However, you can try any other glittery blue/silver polish you have for a similar effect!


Frozen Glitter Gradient Mani China Glaze Lorelei's Tiara and OPI Happy Anniversary

Another cuddly sweater shot! This manicure sparkles and glitters something fierce in actual direct sunlight – it’s really quite glorious. 


More delicious manicure goodness, in a couple of different lighting schemes and with a couple of different cameras. Don’t you hate how it’s never quite possible to capture the full glory and wonder of glitter-based manicures? I don’t know about anyone else, but the camera never seems to take in all the detail and sparkle my eye can see. I do, of course, realise that eye ≠ camera, but still…it’s like going into a new dungeon – no matter how many times you get decomposing ancient warrior on your shoes, you hope that this time will be different!


Frozen Glitter Gradient Mani China Glaze Lorelei's Tiara and OPI Happy Anniversary

This was more of a warm-sunlight and indoor artificial daylight shoot, as opposed to the first picture in this post, which was a cool morning daylight set. Blur is deliberate  for the sparkle in the left hand picture.


The verdict: Glitter gradient manicures are a lot of fun, and it’s relatively easy to create a very artistic looking effect! If you’re new to nail art, or just a glitter fanatic (like me), I’d say definitely give something like this a go! Maybe try a more seasonally/dungeonally appropriate one than I have here 😉

Tip: Glitter gradient manicures are also quite a good way to get some use out of polishes that aren’t so fantastic on their own – particularly a glitter that doesn’t cover evenly by itself!

The practicalities: OPI colour/gitter polishes cost NZD ~20 – 26.00/USD ~8.00 each for 15 mL/0.5 fl. oz, depending on where you shop,  and may be found on the OPI shelves at your local pharmacy/Farmers, as well as various online distributors. OPI and China Glaze ($15.94 for 14 mL) polishes are also available in New Zealand (along with Zoya, Picture Polish and a number of other hard-to-get brands!) from www.candygirl.co.nz.

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!


I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided! All images on this blog are the property of The Painted Rogue unless otherwise stated. These images may not be reproduced without permission, unless you want a fleet of gelatinous cubes after you.

22 thoughts on “Exploring an Ice Dungeon! A Frozen Glitter Gradient Manicure with OPI and China Glaze

    • Thanks 🙂 It’s good to be back out in the sunshine…wandering around aimlessly, holding my nails up to the light and ooohing over them. Watching out for the men in white coats who are presumably about to take me away 😛


  1. Thanks 🙂 I can’t believe it took me so long to get into the whole glitter gradient thing – it makes so many of my polishes more useful (stuff that, like you, I might not just wear on its own)!


  2. Pingback: They’ll never see her coming: A forest-style mani that’ll have you green with… well… something. | The Painted Rogue

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