Battle of the Crackle! Sally Hansen Crackle Overcoat vs OPI, China Glaze

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For the past week or so, I’ve had loads of you telling me about how Sally Hansen has released their own version of Crackle polish to add on to the ever-so-popular fad, and asked my opinion on it. I recently went to ulta (to be cheesy and find my face on a NYX display) and saw that they had the crackle polishes for sale. Of the colors available, the only one that wasn’t something I already had was 06, Antiqued gold. Since OPI and China Glaze are the real front runners in the crackle competition, I’m going to hold Sally Hansen to the bars that they have set, with price, brush, color opacity, and crackle ability. Let the games begin!


SHcrackle 3

Initial Thought: The absolute first thing I thought when I opened this polish was that the smell of the polish was extremely strong! Usually nail polishes have a strong smell, but my face was about a foot away from the bottle and it smelled like i spilled a whole bottle of acetone remover. NOT a fan of that.

Price: The Sally Hansen Crackle Polish cost be $6.99, which in my opinion is quite high for a drugstore polish! I understand that they are giving in to a trendy idea, but when OPI and China Glaze are $7-8, it just throws me off to see a drugstore brand charging just as much. Though, I suppose, you are more likely to find a coupon or two for Sally Hansen (a twitter follower mentioned that CVS had $3 off coupons for the SH Crackle!)



Brush: The SH crackle brush is long and skinny, which is just about a polar opposite to a brush like OPI, which is medium length and wide, so you can get as much coverage in one swipe as possible. The SH brush covers maybe a quarter of my nail in each stroke, and my nailbed is fairly slender. this is also an issue because the brush doesnt pick up enough polish. I found myself having to swipe, dip, swipe, dip just for one nail! Layering with Crackle is considered a no-no because it diminishes the crackle, so if you don’t do it the way I said before, you end up with the polish starting strong and then becoming VERY sheer.


Color: I think it’s important for crackle polishes to be quite opaque, so that the crackle and the polish underneath it don’t mingle into an ugly color (good example- OPI Turquoise shatter. I wanted to use it on top of a neon orange, because blue and orange look great AGAINST each other, but because the turquoise is somewhat sheer, it almost left the areas the turquoise showed looking brown against the orange.) In addition to this, you want it opaque so you can do a relatively thin coat to achieve more crackle, as the thicker the coat of polish, the less crackle. This particular shade of SH Crackle definitely needs a thicker coat so that the crackle color is consistent and you can’t see the base color. In turn, this means less crackle effect.


Crackle Ability: The crackle ability on this polish is not my favorite. I like a super shattered effect, and you just cant get it from Sally Hansen crackles. You can see from the swatch, the polish cracks just a tiny bit throughout in a very thin line. That being said, that may be a selling point for some of you, if you’d rather have less crackle. I even tried to apply a thin coat to see if it would crackle more, but all I was left with was a sheer shimmery layer that looked like static on a tv, no cracks!

Shcrackle 2


Overall: Other than being more wildly available, and unless you have a coupon to make these pretty cheap, I don’t think I’d recommend them. The color range isn’t unique for crackles, and the crackle ability is okay at best. I know that the China Glaze Crackles and OPI Shatters can be difficult to find, and if that’s the case then go for the Sally Hansen’s, but if you are looking to expand your collection, wait for the China Glaze Metal Crackles coming out later this summer. Bottom Line: Buy as a last resort.


Have you tried the Sally Hansen Crackle? Thoughts?


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  1. Jae

    June 8, 2011 at 4:50 am

    I haven’t tried it, but I found even more brands doing crackle polishes today. :O

    Pure Ice and another brand at Walgreens that I fail to remember the name. They were like 4-5 dollars?

  2. Steph

    June 8, 2011 at 4:54 am

    I saw these in Walgreens the other day and almost bought one. Now I am so glad I didn’t! Thanks again for another great review :)

  3. diane

    June 8, 2011 at 4:54 am

    I bought the silver one a few weeks ago. The thinner the coat, the better it crackles, and mine cracked just fine.

    • leesha

      June 8, 2011 at 5:03 am

      did you see the photo above with my ring/pinkie? the pinkie is a thin coat :/

      • Ally

        June 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

        It could just be the color you have. As you know, some of the OPI/China Glaze ones don ‘t crackle as well as the others.

        • Rosie

          June 9, 2011 at 6:16 am

          I agree the China Glaze purple does not crackle and I bought the blue and pink from Sally Hansen ( I straight out tested them in store) and they work just as well as my black one from OPI and my gray from china Glaze.

        • Mick

          June 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm

          I agree with you regarding the sparkle glittery one from Sally Hansen; however, Youcan apply most $.99 cent (ex. wet and wild) or $1.99 (Sinful Colors). Since three days ago, I cannot walk past more than a couple people, before someone stops me. I made an interesting look that uses two stripes on each side of the nail, then one along the tips. 3 colors: Savage Blue, neon yellow, and limestone. Then the Sally Hansen black crackle over the whole nail and a clear coat. It became a noticed look , apparantly incorporates alot of styles in tops this season. I wanted it to match my top. I didn’t think anyone would like it as much as I’ve been stopped.

    • Julia

      June 17, 2011 at 3:40 am

      What is the best crackle polish in your opinion? You have probably tried out a lot of different kinds.

  4. Cilla

    June 8, 2011 at 5:02 am

    I just picked up the white SH crackle since I work at a Rite Aid and it stares at me all day haha, plus I had a coupon for $2 off. I actually love the white crackle, it cracks a lot and is opaque enough for me to put it over a black polish and not have it be gray.

    From what I’ve heard from other people, its the metallic shades, the gold & silver that really just suck, which is disappointing. The other matte shades seem to crackle and cover a lot better. Though I agree that the skinny brush is really an annoyance. It took me about 5 or so applications to get the hang of it and really get a technique that got me the most crackle.

    • Pam

      June 30, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      I have only tried the SH gold and white so far – but I have to tell you . . . I LOVE IT!!! I have no problem getting it to “crack” and have received tons of compliments. My nails are very long so I have a funny feeling since there is more of a “crackling area”, I get alot of crackle. I mainly use SH products because I feel they do harden my nails and keep them looking nice and strong. The directions I’ve read online stress to use SH polish and a SH top coat – which I have done – so maybe that’s why I’m getting wonderful results. I am extremely happy that I have not had any chips and that the coverage has lasted 10 days – which is when I needed a change and took it off. It probably would have lasted longer. I use my hands alot between work and gardening and cleaning and I do not use rubber gloves.

  5. charlene

    June 8, 2011 at 5:02 am

    I personally was not a fan of these. I bought two of these and two of the pure ice ones. The latter was definitely better but I think personally the opi is the best of the ones I’ve tried. Haven’t gotten around to the china glaze ones yet

  6. whitney

    June 8, 2011 at 5:20 am

    i got the dark matte blue and i had to do my nails over quite a few times before it really started to crackle, while on my toes it worked really well. i think it was because toe nails are so tiny and the brush is the perfect size for them. overall, these, in my opinion, are only worth it if u frequently paint ur toes and add a crackle coat over them.

  7. Janna

    June 8, 2011 at 5:34 am

    i recently purchased the black SH crackle and I have been quite pleased. it is true however that you do need a thinner coat but other than that it is very opaque and crackles nicely. :)

  8. Jessica

    June 8, 2011 at 5:37 am

    I don’t know a thing about the metallic polishes from Sally Hansen, however I did buy the black one and its a lot better than how the metallic came out on the swatches. It took a lot of trial and error for me to get the desired effect (swiping effect and amount of product). I tweeted you the pic of mine for comparison if you are interested. My only dislike about the polish is that it clumps very easily, within a week of having it and only using it twice it was giving me issues without a good hard shake. i would have bought the opi one instead but they were sold out around me.

    • Sarah

      June 9, 2011 at 10:11 am

      I have the OPI silver and black crackles, and they are both getting clumpy after 5 or six uses now…

  9. Samantha

    June 8, 2011 at 5:46 am

    I have the red and the gold crackle from Sally Hansen and I’m not a fan of either. The gold was opaque but didn’t crackle enough, the red crackled fine but wasn’t opaque enough. Afterwards I purchased red shatter from OPI and in terms of opaqueness (wow, that’s really a word?) I think it’s better than the red from SH. The main thing that made me dislike the ones from SH was the brush. I have sort of big nail beds so I need a brush that will cover the entire bed evenly and in as few strokes as possible. I tried so hard to work with these but they just wouldn’t work. I’ll use the gold again because it wasn’t horrible but I may give the red away.

    I can’t say I was disappointed in these polishes because I wasn’t expecting much but I wont be buying the other colors.

    • Rosie

      June 9, 2011 at 6:18 am

      I couldn’t get the red to work for me so I did not purchase. And the gold didn’t crackle much for me either.

  10. jen

    June 8, 2011 at 5:46 am

    It might help your readers to at least have sally hansen correctly. Just a thought.

    • leesha

      June 8, 2011 at 5:52 am

      oh wow, huge fail there! guess i was just thinking of the band haha fixed

      • jen

        June 9, 2011 at 4:57 am

        haha no worries! and thank you of course for your super helpful review! i just bought the fuchsia SH one and i’m not so anxious to try it anymore. thanks leesha!

        • jen

          June 9, 2011 at 4:59 am

          p.s. i failed in my initial post (forgot to put spelled) and i just caught that. clowned. ha!

  11. Michelle Tiu

    June 8, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Great review! I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this anytime soon. And I agree! It’s pretty steep for a drugstore brand!

  12. Amy

    June 8, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I have the black, white, and purple Sally Hansen crackle polishes and I love them! I think they work really well and I actually think they turn out better looking with a slightly thicker coat.

  13. angelica

    June 8, 2011 at 6:34 am

    i actually got a bottle today. i have the cherry smash crackle. and im kind of disappointed… but since i cant drive 30 mins just to buy the good stuff im happy to deal with the ok kind of crackle. and i also have to swipe and dip which kind of sucks..cuz i know its not good for the polish. and i also feel like the polish just drys on the brush and the brush is all stiff…

  14. Kourtney

    June 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I did almost the same review a couple days ago. I hated the Sally Crackles and my complaints were the same as yours…If they changed the formula to make it less watery and added a brush like their Insta-Dry polish’s have then it would be a big improvement!

    Check out m blog to see what results I got.

    I went and got the new OPI shatters and love those much better!

  15. Jenny

    June 8, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Good review as always :)

    For those of us who live in the UK the brand Barry M does crackle polishes as well now. The only colours I have seen so far are black, white, baby pink and baby blue. Think they are seeing how well these sell before releasing more colours, but I could be wrong! :D

  16. Carrie Cole :)

    June 8, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I love the sally hansen ones i have them in silver, black & pink i found that you have to apply them in a certain way but when you do it looks great!

  17. NeutraKris

    June 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I haven’t tried OPI or CG yet to compare, but I have tried the Fuchsia Shock Crackle from SH. I felt mine shattered as it should, with the exception of one thumb because I had too much product. I do agree on the brush size, though. I didn’t notice any stronger-than-usual scent to mine, but that could be personal sensitivity as well. I’m interested in trying either OPI or CG just to compare.

  18. Lindsay

    June 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    This week in my region (may be the whole country as well, I’m not sure) Walgreens has Sally Hansen Crackle on sale Buy One Get One 50% Off…Sooo, it’s 2 for $10.48 which is a decent price! Especially if you find coupons for it too. If it’s not on sale in the whole country, then other regions should expect to see the sale soon because the sales rotate every three weeks.

    ANYWAY. I was not at all a fan of the purple Sally Hansen Crackle (I’m sorry, I can’t remember the real names of the colors right now). It just looked terrible on me. I tried it over different colors and the color was gross. But! I am a huge fan of the Silver Sally Hansen Crackle. It works well and it looks better than your swatches of the gold . I guess the SH ones are different from color to color? I’ve had it on for two weeks, which is rare for me. I change my nail color every few days normally haha.

  19. Britt

    June 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I bought the Distressed Denim and the Pink and I took the blue back after seeing swatches online and looking at the consistency of my blue I took it back and kept the pink. I’m pretty happy with my choice because the pink isn’t THAT bad.

    I think it’s all pretty much a gamble and whether or not you want to take it. I have a friend (In CA) who bought OPI silver shatter at Ulta and it won’t shatter, at all….I haven’t heard anyone else having problems. Remember the Fault Line disaster? They either crack or they don’t, ya know?

  20. Chloe

    June 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I’m definitely a person who loves to compare things and it’s no different with this new crackle nail polish. Every time I saw a version of it I bought one, and I was completely shocked by which one was my favorite at the end. The one that worked far better than all the others was one I picked up Claire’s of all places! I bought a black crackle, but i hear they also have a silver and maybe another? It just wasn’t in stock when I was there. It was somewhere around four dollars and I swear it works better than everything else I tried that was double the price! It shatters into smaller pieces which I love! But at the same time if you want it to break into bigger pieces all you have to do is throw another coat on top of it before it dries. It’s amazing and at four dollars I suggest everyone try it! :)

    • macytron

      June 13, 2011 at 3:26 am

      I have the black and the silver crackles from Icing!! I was really skeptical about splurging on the OPI black crackle and I’m glad I didn’t go for it – my mother bought a bottle and it is nowhere near as good as the Icing ones. The silver is not as good as the black in my opinion, but I really want to try the hot pink!

  21. Kat

    June 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I recently bought a Sally Hansen crackle polish and I have it on right now ^^ It worked really well for me, better than China Glaze actually. I have the really deep blue one, I think its called Distressed Denim. I used a thicker coat but not like overly thick and it worked really well.

  22. Hilda

    June 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Don’t know if you heard, but Inglot has realesed a collection of shattering polishes. I haven’t tried anything else, but these work great for me :)

  23. Sarah

    June 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I went to Walgreens yesterday to check out the Sally Hansen, and to my surprise a lady that worked there was unpacking Pure Ice brand crackle. Bought them all! They’re only $3.99, crackle amazingly, and come in evvvvery color! I own the other brands, and these are by far the best in my opinion!

    • Jessica

      June 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm

      oh wow I wish I would have seen those last time I went to Walgreens! I love Pure Ice brand! I will look for them next time I go. Thanks for the info :D

    • Britt

      June 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

      I just bought the light blue in the Pure Ice Crackle, maybe I should go back for the green? I was afraid they wouldn’t be that good. =/

  24. Heather

    June 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I am glad I didnt buy the Sally Hansen Crackle, because I was considering it but I just havent gotten around to it..but good thing I saw this post in time.

  25. Amy P

    June 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks for the review — I love your product battles!

  26. Jessica

    June 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I own the purple SH crackle nail polish and it cracks VERY well, i also had a problem with the brush but my problem was the polish getting clumped up on the brush before i even got it to my nail. I tried the gold color and it didnt crack at all for me.

  27. Laura

    June 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I would rather pay a little extra money and get a polish I KNOW is quality.

    Thanks for the review though. :)

  28. Melissa

    June 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I was very tempted to buy the blue and the pink Sally Hansen shatter when I came across them at my local CVS. I hadn’t seen then anywhere else and there was an entire display of them. I figured I’d get them since I wasn’t able to ever find the China Glaze crackles. But what stopped me is that I’ve heard negative things about the brushes and how they crackle. The price isn’t great either for Sally Hansen. I’d rather spend the money on China Glaze and OPI crackles.

  29. Jennifer

    June 8, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Thank you for making this post. I have six Sally Hansen crackle shades, I went a little nuts because I was excited. I haven’t been able to find Crackle or Shatter ANYWHERE and really don’t like purchasing nail polish online so when I saw these in my local drugstore I was happy. I have nothing to compare them to but I do like the crackle effect. If I had OPI shatter OR China Glaze Crackle, I’d probably like them better lol.

  30. Melody

    June 9, 2011 at 12:41 am

    I agree with you, Leesha.

    I checked Ulta and Sally beauty pretty much every Thursday until I finally got my hands on some of the china glaze crackles when they launched, and I love the coverage and opacity and separation. Even my purple crackles well. Then, when OPI launched the pirates line shatters, I jumped on board to get a red and a silver. The silver foil works fine, but the red really disappointed me. I LOVED it over silver metallic base, but over any color even remotely darker than it made it a murky brown icky color. And it didn’t show over black at ALL, which surprised me based on my experiences with CG.

    So I was excited when SH launched and though “Maybe this red will be opaque!” Not only was it even more sheer than opi, it came out a strange pinkish color. And the purple, which had a lovely blue duochrome I was excited about, was also super sheer unless you did a SUPER THICK coat which is hard with the tiny brushes.

    I’m just sticking to China Glaze crackles.

  31. aclineo

    June 9, 2011 at 3:56 am

    that CG broken hearted is to die for!

  32. Melissa

    June 9, 2011 at 6:26 am

    I bought the black, blue, and gold. Only one I hate is gold for the same reason you hate it. You actually got that thing to crackle. The black however I love, and i believe it is very comparable to the other. The distressed denim I think is ok. it is kinda weird because it is a neon, so it has that thin, matte neon consistency. But it cracks well at least. The gold will forever rot away in my drawer until zoya’s earth day promo next year when i can get rid of that junk safely [:

  33. Shannon

    June 9, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I have the black SH crackle ( ink splatter) and it works very well. My mom bought both the black and the silver, so I was able to try the silver out, and it was ok at best. The black is far better as far as cracking and the clarity of the cracked lines. It doesn’t have that smudgey smeared look in between the lines that the silver seems to get, and its opaque in one coat.

  34. Lis Marie

    June 9, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I bought this and put it over a black nail polish. I found that the small portion that it did cover was ok but then i quickly had to dip it back in the polish and had to try my best to not overlap it because it would just take the other off! It sucks for the price. id rather pay an extra dollar or two and get good quality.

  35. Amanda

    June 10, 2011 at 1:07 am

    I have the black and it crackles really really well, the silver just made my nails looks like I screwed them up. (I actually ended up exchanging the silver for the hot pink) I lucked out and stumbled upon a buy one get one 50% off sale, so the price wasn’t too bad.

  36. Keyry Harris

    June 10, 2011 at 3:42 am

    I tried them at the store(Secretly xD) and I didn’t like them. They seemed very watery, my sister in law wanted to get a bottle, but I told her “You can get the better quality for the same price at the kamay beauty store” There still a few by the one where we live :)

  37. Raven

    June 10, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Personally I am an OPI girl all the way when it comes to most of my polishes but I do have some pretty cool Sally Hansen colours. I did try the crackle from them and it was greatly disappointing by how it wasn’t really defined crackles

    China glaze has let me down so many times with it being streeky and very matte looking even with a nice high gloss top coat.

  38. dexmorgan

    June 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Personally, I had the very same results out of the glittery ones of the SH line, but the black (i’m wearing it over white now) is very opaque, and is as good, if not better than OPI’s. China Glaze is still my favorite, but SH is right behind them on the black or pink one. I’m definitely going to try the blue one though.

  39. Misty

    June 10, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I picked up the navy, black, and silver. I hate the brush with a firey passion. It is like a nail art brush! I tried the blue on my toes on top of a gold, and it wasn’t bad on my big toe; where I put a lot of product, but I only put a little bit on the smaller toes, and it just mixed to make a blue and gold mess. Luckily it’s hard to see, but still! So then I tried the silver on my nails, and it wasn’t that bad. I don’t need as much crackle as you do; I don’t care very much. You get the idea either way. The black looks better than the blue in the swatch that I made, but I would say not to go for the blue (Which in turn probably means the red too.)

  40. jennajealousy

    June 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    i’ve tried the black one and the purple one, and the black one i feel cracks amazingly, and the purple one crackled okay. not the greatest, but it did crack enough to look awesome.

  41. April

    June 13, 2011 at 2:37 am

    I just bought the SH blue crackle and it worked beautifully. Maybe it’s just the glittery ones that fail?

  42. Marilyn @ Lipgloss and Spandex

    June 13, 2011 at 4:47 am

    I like China Glaze better than Sally Hansen by far. The two China Glaze crackle colors I have (pink and grey) are AWESOME. I have Sally Hansen crackle in white, blue and black, and only the black turned out half-decent.

  43. Kaylee

    June 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I’ve tried a couple different Sally Hansen colors and I do think that metallics don’t work, but I didn’t have trouble at all with the white or the pink.

  44. hanna

    June 20, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Sally Hansen Crackle sucks.

  45. Cheryl

    June 21, 2011 at 2:38 am

    My daughter is so into nails right now, she saw it and she HAD to have it. So used the silver glitter over hot pink, NOT impressed. It looked so bad I had to remove it. My daughter hasn’t said anything good or bad about it yet to me. Of course she has two or three different brands, so she might have not got to it yet. I wished I had seen this review before I bought them, I wouldn’t have bought this brand.

  46. Renee

    June 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I love the OPI crackle nail polish I wish they had more colors though hopefully in the future they will. This stuff last and does not chip as fast as the cheaper stuff I will take OPI any day crackle or plain I can pay the price.

  47. Brandi

    July 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I recently tried the Sally Hansen Crackle in Ink Splatter (Black) wile at a friends. For the first hand that I did I was extremely impressed, especially after reading this. I wish that I could send you a picture because it looks great! Even my second hand looked great but the shatter pieces were a little bigger. The only the problem was the last few fingers did not crackle as well because it seemed to have become goopy. Overall though I think you should give the ink splatter a try and see if it has the same outcome as the antique gold. I really wish I could show you a picture because this one seems completely different from the pictures you have shown above.

    Just wanted to let you know what I thought. Thank you very much for this review though.

  48. jill

    July 8, 2011 at 5:58 am

    I bought SH crackle in pink today and tested it on one hand, over three sinful colors… gold, green and purple. the pink over gold and green worked fine, but the pink crackle over purple came out all purple. looks like purple crackle over purple nail – so really looks like no crackle at all but rather that i painted my nail purple and then mashed up my fingernail before the polish dried. oddest thing. it seems to be a reaction, as opposed to an opaque issue. i see no pink at all on that nail.

  49. Michelle

    July 9, 2011 at 4:35 am

    I love the SH crackle! I find the metalic shades work best with other SH polishes! I buy the cheapest SH ones walgreens offers. It is the 1st crackle product I tried because it was hard to find the OPI colors I wanted without ordering online! When it come to makeup I prefer to try things in person! :)

  50. Kim

    July 11, 2011 at 12:45 am

    I purchased the sally hansen white crackle and put it over sally hansen mango color and it looks amazing!

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