As it's party season, the Gloss team have tested out the best nail effects and pretty top coats to see which ones dazzle us the most

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Rimmel London Finishing Touch Glitter Topcoat

Price: £4.48

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Feedback: “I typically don’t like glittery varnishes - they feel too grainy, they’re an absolute nightmare to take off and (apologies for the snobbery) I tend to think they can look a little tacky!

“However, I was very pleasantly surprised with this Rimmel top coat polish. It had a really wide applicator brush which was great for allowing a smooth and even coat and it dried super quickly with no smudging or lines (a massive pet peeve of mine). In particular though I thought the overall finish was very pretty - It had an iridescent, almost dewy look with a splash of gold sparkle and shine. Not too gaudy but enough to add a little fun and festivity to your look.

“I would say that I don’t think this polish has great longevity however. Within around 24 hours it was already peeling away from the sides of my nails and had started to look a little tatty -  which for me was quite a big turnoff as I’m very fussy about having neat and even looking nails “In general though it was a perfect little of polish for an inexpensive and chic way to integrate some glittery glamour into your style this Christmas.”

Reviewer: KR

Score: 7/10

Ciaté Transform Topcoat Paint Pot in Party Shoes

Price: £9

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Feedback: “I’ll start by awarding points to the Paint Pot for being so pretty - Ciaté polishes are always lookers thanks to their elegant rectangular bottles and regulation silk bows, and this spangly gold topcoat is especially handsome. I’m not a great fan of coarse, chunky glitter polishes so this was my kind of disco paint - fine textured, fairly subtle and not rough to touch. It might be more expensive than other glitzy topcoats on the market, but it looks it. It jazzed up my red manicure nicely and was low-key enough for daytime wear, however, if you’re after a more dramatic, party ready effect you may wish to opt for a bolder polish. Audacious this ain’t. Like every glitter polish known to man, it’s also a devil to remove. Sledgehammers at the ready…”

Reviewer: AH

Score: 8/10

Barry M Nail Paint Crystal Glaze

Price: £3.99

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Feedback: “Barry M always have trendy polishes which last well, are extremely easy to apply, and are not prone to chipping. So when I got to try their Crystal Glaze top coat I had set the bar high and was positive I would be impressed. It saddens me to say I was slightly disappointed; however I do think that I’m partly to blame. I tried this over the top of my clear manicure and not on top of a colour, and although in the bottle it looks like glitter, on application the little flecks are quite iridescent and under the light they reflect different colours. On a coloured polish it would have looked subtle but pretty, but over a clear varnish it was barely visible. The application however was flawless; it was easy to apply, dried almost instantly and didn’t feel bumpy to the touch.”

Reviewer: LW

Score: 6/10

Rococo Nail Apparel Gold Leaf Lacquer

Price: £35

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Feedback: “I have to be honest I’m not really a fan of sparkly nails  - I find it a bit gimmicky and it’s something my seven year old daughter would go wild about - I’d rather have just an amazing shade (this winter I’m hankering after dark navy, red, purples and even black). However, I do like this rather special Gold Leaf Lacquer which is like the grown-up version of glitter -  you can layer it on top of any other colour, or indeed over bare nails if you wish. I chose a nude, mink coloured base for a more subtle effect, before applying my first layer. To be honest it’s not the easiest product to apply in that it’s difficult to pick up the pieces of gold with the brush, so you have to scoop them out which is quite time consuming since you only get one or two at a time (sometimes none) and you have to apply quite a few coats. I ended up applying about three layers to get this effect, but I’m quite in love with their finished antique style. The clear varnish dried fast and is super glossy and I think this would also look incredible over a rich red for Christmas.”

Reviewer: ST

Score: 8/10

Nicole by Opi Texture Coat in Gold

Price: £8.50

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Feedback: "Marked clearly as a 'texture coat' I wasn't too sure what to expect from this polish but anything metallic gets my vote so I was more than happy to give the gold a go. Testing it out first to see what happened, I realised it's actually just a 'crackle' coat as they're now well known; you apply it over your chosen nail polish colour and as it dries, it cracks and splits so you're left with a textured gold pattern with the base colour showing through. I've tried a lot of these in my time and I have to say this one impressed. Using just a thin coat (too much and it doesn't work very well) over a deep purple varnish (Indigo by Barry M) I had exactly the flash of sparkling gold that I wanted. Some crackle polishes tend to either be quite matte or dull, and the glittery ones I've used have always been too subtle or pale. This was neither - strong, dazzling metallic colour that left an arty, party-ready pattern. My only comment would be that it feels a bit rough to the touch on the nail, so a glossy clear top coat is a must. Not a new effect by any means, but pulled off very well."

Reviewer: JJ

Score: 9/10

Topshop Nails in Circus

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Price: £6

Feedback: "While I love the idea of glitz and sparkle, I can't bear the feel of a grainy textured polish and removing glitter from your nails is no mean feat. That said, the Topshop Top Coat in Circus may just be the answer to my party nail woes. With gold strands of glitter, this fast-drying, long-wearing top coat is a lot more chic than your standard glittery polish plus the texture is a lot less offensive to those averse to anything other than a smooth flawless mani. A fun accessory to any party look and as easy to remove as it is to apply - this is definitely a keeper."

Reviewer: 9/10

Score: KB

Nails Inc Westminster Bridge Road Galaxy Polish

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Price: £12

Feedback: “Glitter and grown-ups aren’t necessarily two things that I would put together, so I was excited to swap my pastels for some serious nighttime sparkle ahead of a Christmas night out to see if they could in fact co-exist. This polish from Nails Inc dried impressively quickly and was so jam packed full of light-reflective particles that I opted to wear it alone rather than just as a top coat. As recommended, I applied 2-3 coats for optimum coverage and then chose to seal it with a top coat too as it was a little too ‘grainy’ for my liking. The result was an eye-catching, party ready finish that acted as a quirky accessory to my all black ensemble, and looked surprisingly chic and thankfully not like I was going to a six year old’s birthday party. Sadly though, it started chipping the next day and slid off one nail completely during my commute into work. It was also incredibly tricky to remove the rest so while I think it’s a great look for New Year’s Eve or Christmas Day, I might just use it for special occasions only.

Reviewer: AM

Score: 6.5/10

NYC Rock Muse Smokey Top Coat

Price: £1.99

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Feedback: "I love top coats for nails, especially glittery ones. Since we are so close to Christmas I wanted to rock (literally, with NYC) both in Green Day and Red Hot to get in the festive spirit. The result is on the photo - the green is my favourite as it's really gothic and dark; it also looks glossy and feels hard-wearing. I think it would work great on bare nails too. The red was a bit more disappointing hence my slightly lower score; it required quite a few layers to get the effect I wanted whereas the green was far more dense."

Reviewer: CT

Score: 7/10