A Guide On How To Do Chrome Nails

Chrome nail art is going to be always be popular simply because of how effective they are. However, while most nail techs have used the chrome technique, not everyone knows the best way to avoid the common issues faced with chrome powder application. 

You can get a ton of different nail art effects depending what your base coat colour is or even what type of chrome you are using ( HONA stocks Colour Changing Chrome, Aurora Chrome and Single Coloured Mirror Chromes).

Below you will find learn

  • What tools to use to apply chrome 
  • How to avoid chrome chipping & peeling
  • How to ensure your chrome adheres
  • How to get the best mirror-like effect with chromes
  • How to avoid top coat issues


What tools to use to apply chrome 

There are several tools you can use to apply chrome such as a silicone tool, disposable eyeshadow brush (which comes with all HONA chromes), makeup sponge. Try to avoid using your finger to avoid contamination and oils from your finger coming into contact with the product as well as avoiding skin contact and potential skin irritation.

Here are my top tips for some troubleshooting issues techs may experience with chrome:

How to avoid chrome chipping & peeling

Firstly and probably one of the most important is Less Is More and a little goes a long way. When applying it to the nail, do so sparsely and firmly and polish it in until you achieve a shiny mirror-like effect, rather than apply it like a typical pigment or glitter. When you begin to achieve the look you want, turn your applicator or brush to its clean side, and buff for a little while longer. If the chrome powder goes on too thick, it will leave sparkly particles. This excess product can prevent a thorough cure, which can be why it chips or peels. Use a soft fluffy brush, such as a make-up brush to dust off any excess.

File the free edge and the sides of the nail with a 240 grit file. Gel needs a rough surface for effective adherence and cannot grip onto a powdery surface

It is paramount to ensure you seal your chrome including the no filed free edge to ensure you are encasing the chrome pigment sufficiently, otherwise the nail could be prone to chipping.We recommend Complete Base, Rubber Base or even Clear Builder

How to ensure your chrome adheres

So as you probably know, you are going to need a non-wipe top coat over your colour of choice - black and white work best.

If you over-cure the top coat in which the chrome is being applied onto, then the chrome will often just rub straight off and not adhere. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions on the cure times and do not cure for longer.

How to get the best mirror-like effect with chromes

Chrome must be applied on top of a cured layer of non-wipe top coat. If applied directly onto a colour or a tacky layer, a mirror-like effect won’t be achieved. If the top coat isn’t sufficiently cured, quite commonly on the thumbs if the client hasn’t positioned these correctly, you will also experience this issue. Choose a good quality chrome that is very highly pigmented, with the smallest micron size and the fewest fillers to achieve the best effect.

Just as glitter must be cosmetic grade, so must chrome. Some cheaper versions are made differently and again, will act as a pigment and not a chrome so need pressing into the sticky layer. A good quality chrome pigment works well because it will not blend or bleed the powder, losing the desired mirror like effect.

All HONA chromes are cosmetic grade and have the smallest micron size on the market.

How to avoid top coat issues

Pitting, dents or wrinkling in your top coat or chrome occurs when your top coat is contaminated with chrome pigment or even glitter, dust and other containments. If you have a top coat specifically for chrome and it is running low, it may also be too contaminated leading to service breakdown and one of the other issues above. It is paramount to get into the habit of wiping your brush clean on a soft wipe or tissue before putting the brush back in the bottle after it has touched chrome or glitter to avoid this contamination. This issue can also occur if the top coat is applied too thinly as some as designed for a slightly thicker application.

Always remember that eye protection, gloves and a mask are recommended to be worn and thoroughly washing hands after application, when applying chrome powders to avoid eye irritation, inhalation and possible skin irritation.