Are you interested in taking your Chrome Nails game to the next level? Chrome nails offer a variety of possibilities, including full chrome mani, isolated Chrome, mirror finish, glittery finish, matte, multicolored, magnetic, and more. But, it can be challenging to perfect this technique, especially for perfectionists. Don't give up! With practice, patience, and technique, you can achieve perfect, non-chipping, and clean chrome nails. Today, I'll share some tips and tricks that I've learned over the years to help you master this technique using Korean gel nail products.
As this is Korean gel nails station, I would like to recommend the Korean gel nail products that I use regularly and always work for me. You can purchase these products from Zillabeau. If you use my code "NAILFABS," you can get a 10% discount on your entire purchase, which would mean a lot to me. Thank you very much for your valuable time, love, and support!
Let's get started!
First, let's talk about chrome paints and powders.
So, here's the deal with chrome paints versus chrome powders. Personally, I find that the paints are less messy than the powders. Plus, you can get this super shiny, mirror-like finish with the paint in pretty much any color you want. And since it comes in liquid form, it's a breeze to clean up and get rid of any loose glitter bits to get the exact look you're going for. Plus, there's less of a chance of inhaling any particles and messing up your clear gels.
The downside of using chrome powder for nail art is that it's a bit difficult to create intricate designs. When I need to add small details, I use a silicone tool to apply the powder. I have also tried using chrome paints, but the only tool you can use to apply them is a dense makeup sponge, which makes it hard to achieve precise, sharp results like those you can get with a smaller, more precise tool.
Is one better than the other?
I always encourage you to use the materials you already have available in your studio or at home before considering purchasing new ones. Whether you prefer powders or liquids, neither is inherently better than the other. Some artists find powders more suitable for their needs, while others prefer to work with liquid Chrome. If you're interested in trying out a new type of Chrome, I suggest purchasing a small amount to test it out before investing in larger quantities. At the end of the day, it's all Chrome and what matters most is finding the right fit for your work.
Okay, now to the tips and tricks!
To achieve a flawless, ultra-smooth surface for your nails, you need to focus on removing any bumps, lints, or textures on the nail surface. Chrome is not very forgiving, so it's essential to start with a smooth surface. I recommend starting with a color of your choice and then using a 220/280 sponge buffer to gently smooth out the surface. While this step is optional, it's beneficial to ensure that you have a smooth surface before applying the non-wipe clear gel layer. This will help your clear gel layer go on smoothly and give you a polished look.
It is important to use fine or extra-fine coarse sponge buffers while doing your nails to avoid scratches. Coarse buffers can leave scratches on your nails, which can ruin the final result. When doing isolated chrome designs, it's recommended to use a fine coarse sponge buffer to remove the shine from the nail completely before applying the chrome powder. It's also a good idea to apply a thin base layer to seal the color and then buff the surface to make it matte. This will help prevent the Chrome from sticking to the entire nail. You could also use a matte topcoat, but sometimes it can be streaky or cause the chrome powder to stick to it. Therefore, it's better to do the buffing of the nail surface before applying the chrome powder to isolated designs.
Because of the popularity of chrome powders, many brands have manufactured a dedicated chrome gel. Before this was available, the option was (and still is) to use a non-wipe topcoat to burnish the Chrome on; then, artists started to notice that curing the Chrome in less than 60 seconds and rubbing the powder as soon as the nails came out of the lamp, taking advantage of the warm nail surface off the lamp, the Chrome melted into the surface and looked way better. All these tips still work, but the ever-growing industry crafted products to make our lives much easier and work more efficiently. Finding the sweet spot curing time for Chrome can be time-consuming and involve more steps so let's talk about some products you can use so you don't have to worry about that.
The gels I have tried for Chrome and work like a charm:
- HoHoLee Chakhan Glossy Top Gel
- F Gel Non-wipe Clear Gel
- Tiny Pudding Clear Gel
- Riposo Non-wipe Top Gel polish (This one is a liner gel! Game changer for isolated gel designs)
- Fiote Non-Wipe Volume Mirror Gel (A non-wipe gel for chrome texture details or nuance design accents)
Lastly, the Korean brand Riposo came out with a super cool, innovative gel color formula that does not cause heat spikes, does not shrink, and has a nonwipe finish! Yes! You can move to the Chrome application right after applying your color layers. The Love Syrup Collections are milky translucent sheer, buildable colors, and they have launched 3 color collections so far. I have not tried them, but I am dying to get my hands on one; they are always sold out; it must be for a reason, right? So yes, if you see them, grab two, one for you and one for me... haha jk.
**Best Secret Tip Ever: If your chrome powder is not sticking to the nail surface after applying your non-wipe topcoat, grab a lint-free towelette, damp it with alcohol (I use 90% alcohol), and clean the nail surface, then come back with your chrome powder and problem fixed! I cannot tell you how often I would start buffing out my topcoat and replying because the Chrome was not sticking or was spotty; this trick is a godsend. In case you are wondering, I learned this at the Press on Portal.
Silicone tools, makeup sponges, makeup wands, bare fingers, fingers with gloves on, right? Which one works the best?
First of all, let's not touch anything gel-related without gloves on. I know there are tons of videos of artists and DIYers using bare hands and fingers, but please protect your skin and make it a habit to wear gloves 100% of the time. We want to avoid skin allergies at all costs. Also, I never got an amazing result using my fingers either; it was the same as using other tools, so I will always choose the tools over hands with no gloves.
If you are doing chrome paints, there is only one application tool you can use to achieve the best possible shine, and that is a makeup sponge like this one. It must be a firm, with no visible pores and a springy makeup sponge for it to work. I like to apply my chrome paint directly to the sponge and then rub the nail.
For powder chrome, I like using a silicone tool. I purchased a silicone tools kit on Amazon with different silicone tip shapes that are perfect for reaching tight areas. You can definitely use one of those dual-ended makeup sponges, but I like that the silicone tools I can use clean and reuse them, and with the tiny makeup sponges, I would go through them like lint-free towelettes, haha. I felt like I was wasting a lot.
Now, let's give you some powder recommendations.
You can definitely find the essential chrome colors like silver, gold, red, pink, blue, etc., on Amazon, but the Korean nail brands have it going in with Chrome; they offer super unique colors and effects that I have not found on Amazon. Like the powders from Blanc Blanc or Bonnie Beee, Juniaunni, etc. All Korean gel nail brands. So, I know you will love:
- Mabusa Peach Ring Powder
- Riposo Holographic Powder Set
- Mayour Espere - 6 Liquid Powder
- Jinaunni White Silver Powder
- Jinaunni Extreme Gold Powder
- Jinaunni Milkyway Powder
- Jinaunni Mystic Chrome Powder
- BonnieBee Purple Beam Satin Powder
- BonnieBee Tropical Satin Powder
Quick tip: If you want to avoid your chrome looking glittery, thoroughly dust off the nail after applying the chrome powder. I like to use a microfiber cleaning cloth to rub the nails and remove all excess powder before sealing it. This will also prevent your clear gel from being contaminated with chrome particles.
The last step is sealing our chrome powders to avoid chipping.
If you apply the top coat directly over the chrome powder layer, two things will happen: 1) You most likely will contaminate your top coat (btw, I always have a designated chrome topcoat bottle), and 2) your Chrome will chip. This is because the top gel does not have adhesion components, so it has nothing to hold on to. For that reason, we do the following:
- File the edge of the nail after applying chrome pigments. This will seal the edges of the Chrome and allow for the top coat to cover the entire nail, encapsulating the chrome pigment.
- Double seal. I learned this technique from Paola, from Paola Ponce Nails, and she advises using two coats of clear gel; either one layer of base gel followed by a layer of top gel or a thin layer of wipe-required top coat followed by a layer of non-wipe top coat. This is the tried and true no-chipping Chrome method.
For the double seal technique, I like to use my FGel base gel to apply a thin coat and then apply a thicker viscosity gel like the Tiny Top coat, The F gel non-wipe top coat, or my beloved Jin.B Crazy Top in standard viscosity. And, of course, I designate a bottle of base gel for chrome nails only. I love using this one because it is so thin and does not bulk up the nails.
And that's the secret Fab Sauce on chrome nails. I hope I was able to get a "Ah-Ha" or "Lemme try that next time" from you today. I know Chrome can be tricky and intimidating, but it's so beautiful, so it's worth it. It is also a great nail art service that can be charged on the premium side if you learn to master it because Chrome takes time! Don't go and start giving away your chrome talent for pennies because it's a lot of work to make it perfect, plus all the premium quality materials you are using... no mam.
Also, really quick, if you need a masterclass where you can see many of these tips in action, you can check out the Press on Portal Chrome master class, where Jerri, the owner of Dippy Cow Nails and creator of the Press on Portal, goes over different Chrome designs and how to get it perfect every time. I have an affiliate link HERE in case you are interested. I learned so much from this class; Jerri is one of the best teachers out there!
OK, I hope you have a very happy holiday, and if Santa Clos is visiting your house this weekend, I hope you get all the Korean gel nail products you want and everything you deserve! Thank you for hanging out with me today, and I'll see you in 2024!
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