How-To: Chrome Nails

Helena Han ( shares her tips, tricks and techniques for applying chrome to nails.
Helena Han ( shares her tips, tricks and techniques for applying chrome to nails.
Courtesy of Helena Han

Helena Han ( shares her tips, tricks and techniques for applying chrome to nails.

Chrome nails have been at the forefront of nail fashion for years, with application technique and material selection playing pivotal roles in working with chrome powders. These elements significantly influence manicure longevity and quality. I have a deep fondness for chrome powders and aim to divulge my secrets in handling them.

Chrome Powder Prep

I initiate with a manicure, applying a base coat followed by two layers of colored gel polish.

To apply the chrome powder effectively, a no-wipe topcoat is essential. It's crucial to emphasize proper top coat application for a flawlessly smooth surface, devoid of any bumps or ridges, ensuring the chrome powder adheres seamlessly.

Post top coat application, curing it for 15 to 30 seconds is imperative, adjusting the timing based on your UV lamp's strength.

Chrome Powder Application

Subsequently, chrome powder application using a silicone applicator follows. Excess powder removal entails using a soft brush. Delicately filing nail edges with a soft file eliminates powder residue. A gentle wipe of the nail plate using a soft cotton pad with minimal pressure aids in thorough excess powder removal, paving the way for securing the chrome powder. Stainedglasschrome

Adherence Issues 

If patchy adherence of chrome powder persists on the topcoat, a recommendation is to wipe the topcoat with alcohol before powder application. Once the alcohol evaporates, commence powder application. If adherence issues persist, altering the drying time of the topcoat might be necessary. While various accessories exist for chrome powder application, my preference lies with a silicone applicator for its ability to ensure even powder application, elevating the mirror-like effect. Alternatively, nitrile gloves can be used, degreasing fingers for powder application. The elastic surface of the glove mirrors the silicone applicator, facilitating even powder application for a mirror-like effect. 

Sealing Chrome

  • Base Coat Technique: Using a brush loaded with base coat, apply it gently over the chrome powder without pressure. Ensure a material barrier between the brush and powder for easy, pressure-free coverage. Seal edges, then cure in a UV lamp for 60 seconds. Subsequently, cover it with your preferred topcoat for the desired result.
  • No Thickening or Base Coat: Use a non-acid primer with a sticky layer, gently applying it to nail edges as if sealing them. Follow by carefully applying the topcoat over the chrome powder without pressure. Seal edges and cure in a UV lamp for 60 seconds.
  • Alternative Approach: Seal edges with a base coat, curing it for 60 seconds in the lamp. Then, gently apply the topcoat and cure for 60 seconds.

Techniques for Chrome Application

Further, I'd like to share techniques for chrome application. 

Combining silver chrome with stained glass gel polishes is a personal favorite. Applying black gel polish followed by a no-wipe topcoat, silver chrome, and securing it with a thin base layer, allows for exploration with stained glass gel polishes or marble ink for vibrant, multi-colored chrome nails. The final touch involves applying a glossy or matte topcoat. Aurorachrome

Another favorite technique involves Aurora powders, known for their unique color-shifting properties based on the underlying base or color. Perfect for gradient nails, the application of a no-wipe topcoat followed by the Aurora powder results in stunning color shifts.

Lastly, my beloved technique involves 3D chrome nails. Textures are created using 3D no-wipe gel, followed by chrome powder application. In the absence of 3D gel for chrome, any thick gel, even those used for extensions, suffices. A thin layer of no-wipe topcoat is applied after curing the gel, followed by chrome powder application, completed with a base coat and topcoat.

These designs command attention and are perfect for vibrant personalities looking to experiment with nail art.

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