Barry M Crackle vs Croc Nail Effects

So Barry M recently released a new type of nail effect called ‘croc’ nail effects. From the images in their advertisement it does not seem that much different to their normal crackle, apart from the fact that it seems like it makes more circular patterns whereas the normal crackle is more stripy.

Either way I still couldn’t help get myself a bottle so that I could compare the two to see the differences and decide how much it is worth getting if you already own their normal crackles.

I ordered mine from their website and kind of went a bit mad and bought a load of other nail varnish colours to experiment with later. I guess that’s what happens after a depressing day at work lol. Anyways, although mine arrived on Tuesday, I was liking my current nails too much to clean them off. I usually only do my nails on a Sunday night anyways as I’m bit of a creature of habit. So last night I got around to trying it out.

I’ve decided that to compare them it would be best to alternate nails between the normal crackle and the croc effect.  All base colours and my top coat are also from Barry M, as I like to think the best results would come from using everything from the same brand. You can see the finished results below:

Some first impressions of the croc effect are as follows:

The first thing to note is they are actually quite the opposite to each other in several ways.

  • Unlike the normal crackle the croc takes ages in comparison to work. I find the crackle takes effect and dries very quickly (almost too quickly sometimes) but the crock must have took at least 5 minutes. At first I thought I had messed it up and it wasn’t going to work lol.
  • The normal crackle is also matte and dries matte. The croc is the complete opposite and is quite glossy.
  • Due to this the consistency of the normal crackle is quite thick, whereas the croc is much more watery. Unfortunately this also means the normal crackle can get a bit clumpy by the time you get to your second hand.
  • One major difference to note is that with the normal crackle, as long as you have some sort of base on the nail, it doesn’t matter how dry it is as it will still work. I also have found that with cheaper brands, if the base hasn’t had chance to dry completely, then the crackle will pull the base apart a little with it. However with the croc it clearly states on the side of the bottle that you can’t use it on top of dry nail varnish. It recommends that you give the base only a minute or two and to then use the croc while its still tacky.
  • For the normal crackle the effect is quite noticeable and there are large gaps between the cracks allowing you too see a lot of your base. I would say that on average half of the nail area would show the crackle colour and the other half the base colour. However, with the croc the cracks are very thin lines in comparison and so you mostly see the colour of the croc rather than the base. It made the care I took in painting on my base layers feel quite pointless lol.
  • Due to this I found that you have to be quite neat and apply the coat evenly with the croc effect. This is because as you see more of the croc colour than anything else, any imperfections in it’s application will be quite noticeable. The good thing about the fact that it dries a lot slower, means that you have the chance to take your time applying it to the nail. With the normal crackle however there is no time to be neat as you have to get it on quick before it starts to dry and crack. This is also why it is recommended that you do not overlap your strokes of the normal crackle whilst applying it. However, in the case of the normal crackle, as you end up seeing more of the base underneath, it does not matter as much if it is applied a bit sloppily as the imperfections will mostly dissapear into the effect.
  • The shape of the two effects are also quite different. The normal crackle breaks up into square and rectangular shapes. With the croc the effect is thin curved lines, which kind of remind me of veins or something.
  • One thing that is similar about both effects however, other than their colour, is that the image printed onto the lid of the bottle does not really represent how the effect looks in reality lol. With the normal crackle they depict it as more of a uniform stripy effect than it is. With the croc they depict it as rows of circles that are the same size, which is kind of what you would expect from something labled ‘croc’ effect. However the reality was far from this, although I think it is important to not that this was only my first use of the effect and so maybe I just need to figure out how to use it properly to make it look more ‘crocish’.

After wearing this for about a day now, I have to say that so far I still prefer their original crackle effect over the croc one. My reasons for this are simple:

  • The effect is more noticeable as you can clearly see both the base and the effect.
  • It dries faster and the crackle appears quite quickly.
  • To an extent, you can get away with being a little sloppy with its application.
  • As a fan of all things colourful, I prefer to be able to see a lot of the base colour beneath the effect. With the croc I was left feeling as if the time I had spent applying my base colour was a waste lol.

However I can also see why some people would prefer the new croc effect. If you want a more subtle curved effect that you don’t have to rush to apply then this would be perfect for you.

I feel that if all nails had the croc effect on and all had the same base colour, instead of mixing it up as much as I did here, then I would have liked the effect a bit more when compared to the normal crackle. I think that if they release more of this effect then for me it would depend on the colours released as to whether or not I purchase more. If they are colours that I already have in the normal crackle effect then I would probably give it a miss. I also wonder if I would prefer the look of the effect more if the croc was in a light colour and the base was dark. If they release a white colour I may get it, but I am unsure at this time.

Has anyone else tried this yet, and what are your opinions on it? I’m interested in how many people prefer this over their normal crackle effect, as ultimately, the fact that I like the look of their normal crackle more is the main reason why I like the croc effect less.

4 responses

  1. I’m so glad to read this review as I was thinking i’d done something wrong when I tried it.

    I have the Barry M crackle as well as Nails Inc equivalents and they all work on dry base coats, hence I did the same. I’m used to throwing crackle and a top coat on before i run out of the house but that won’t work with the croc one.

    I took it off again as I had to leave for work so I’m going to try again with tacky base coat and more patience.

    I don’t remember any instructions on my bottle but i’ll have a look when I get home.

    Thanks for a very helpful review



  2. No problem, I’m glad people find it useful.

    My bottle has a sticker on the one side with instructions. But of course if you are used to using crackle varnishes it is not like you are going to specifically look for instructions lol.

    I really need to play around more with the croc crackle to figure out how to get the best from it. But at the moment I’ve got quite a few other nail ideas I want to try out before I forget them, so it might be a bit of time before I get around to it.


  3. Hi,

    Just got the nail polish today, I was really excited.
    Like Lucyfer, I thought I must have done something wrong too.
    Did it three times before realising that the effect just isn’t as noticeable and amazing as pictures have made it look.
    On my nails I used the mushroom barry m base ( a colour i love) and the croc worked but the effect was so small you could barely see it.
    It looked competely different to yours also.
    It’s strange.


    • Yeah I find the end effect you get is different depending on how you apply it. For example did you apply it in a thick layer or a thin layer and also the direction that you apply it. The good thing is though that once you figure out how to make it look different, then you have a very versatile piece of easy to use nail art.


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