My Barry M Crocodile nail art that went terribly wrong

I was considering doing the Tuxedo nails but seeing as everyone’s been doing them the past three days I decided to do something a little bit different. I’ve been after Barry M’s Instant Croc Effects polish for a while but it was only available online until recently. I picked it up from my local Superdrug a couple weeks ago and today I tried it for the first time.

But I didn’t want a simple block colour with the effect over the top. I’ve had plain nails a lot recently so I decided to do Barry M camouflage come crocodile skin nail art. (sorry in advance for the messy cuticles)

I started with my usual base coat and painted a single coat of Barry M’s Instant Effects Gold Foil nail polish. I chose this as a base because a single coat is sufficient for full coverage and with what I had planned, any gaps in the subsequent layers or dragging of the base colour would just add to the effect.

Once the gold was completely dry I used this picture for inspiration and chose my colours.



Barry M’s: Dusky Mauve, Racing Green, Emerald Green, Lime Green, Gold and a little bit of Grey for good measure.

Now for the messy part and boy is it messy.

Open each of the bottles in preparation, as you need to work pretty quickly.

Make a dot of each colour on your nail. Try to follow a similar dotting pattern each time. I went for the Gold and Lime green on the right hand edge of the nail to form a sort of belly and then worked my way out.

As there is a lot of polish on your nail, I tipped my nail slowly to allow the colours to merge naturally before taking a dotting tool and swirling the colours into each other.

Clean off the excess nail polish on the nail by taking small dotting tool and carefully drag it along the edge of your nail. Do this until the polish on the nail looks like a reasonable coat and the edges are smooth. WARNING: you do have to work really quickly as the polish will start to dry and you can get strings of polish at the tips of your nail.

I waited until my nails were pretty much touch dry (this took longer than usual as there was so much polish on the nail). Once my nails were mostly dry but still a tad tacky to the touch I painted on a layer of the Croc Effects polish.

It’s a really glossy, smooth polish so the application was really easy. I waited for 30 seconds and didn’t see any effect as the tutorial video on their website implies. I waited a minute and started seeing very fine cracks on the tip of the nail. It took a full 5 minutes before any visual pattern could be made out (even though watching it crack is quite a pleasing experience) but using a hairdryer does speed up the process.


The pattern was more than disappointing. The cracks were tiny and it just looked like I had done a shoddy job on painting my nails black. My thumbnail was the only one that looked anything like croc skin and you could only see that with a good light and at a close range.

After a moan on twitter, Barry M got in touch and said that the nail had to be slightly wet or it won’t work. As I had only done my left hand thus far I decided to give it another shot on my right.

I painted a clear coat of varnish on my nail. This time, instead of letting it go touch dry (as recommended on the bottle) I let the surface barely dry before applying the croc effects.

This time the cracks were thicker and more noticeable. It still took about 5 minutes for it to work but to be honest, I didn’t care about time I cared about results.

As you can see, the base colour is visible but the cracks aren’t very croc like. It is very different from the crackle effect and it does have a very glossy finish but it’s not what I was expecting at all.

I’m not going to write off completely. I’ll give it another go in a couple days and see what happens but this was really disappointing. I’m just pleased that the base colour is interesting enough that you notice a hint of yellow, green and brown so it distracts from the rest of the design.

Maybe I had let my nails dry too much, maybe the thick layers just didn’t agree but my first encounter with this polish was not a good one.

Have you used it? How did you find it?

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5 thoughts on “My Barry M Crocodile nail art that went terribly wrong

  1. McMademoiselle Likes says:

    I quite like the result with the thin cracks, but it does look like hard work and that, I don’t like!

  2. I really wanted to try this but not sure if I’ll bother with it now! x

  3. Grrrrrrr says:

    I CANNOT get this to work at all. I’ve seen Barry M’s and other videos on youtube where the effect is fine. I’ve tried it so many times now I’ve lost count. I’ve tried thin and thick base coats, base coat wait for a minute or two minutes, thin and thick black coats, hairdryer, no hairdryer, nothing has worked.
    I thought that the crackle effect nail polish was tricky, but I always managed to get a pattern. This one just stays pretty much solid black no matter what I do! Even if I do get any cracks they are too small to show the base colour underneath. I wish someone would apply it on me for me so I can see it working…

  4. Michelle says:


    I just saw your post and thought I’d let you know that mine went really well with really thick cracks. Perhaps it’s because you had too many layers underneath and it became too thick to work on? I only used one layer of the base nail polish (as well as a base coat), waited about 1 minute and put the cracking one on. Or perhaps it has to do with the thickness of the cracking coat – I’ve kept mine thin, made sure there wasn’t much on the brush before I put it on.

    Hope that helps and you give it another go =]

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