How to Use Chrome Nail Powder

If you’re into nails, you might have heard about chrome nail powder. This nail trend has been around for some time, but it peaked when Hailey Bieber wore her iconic glazed doughnut nails at the 2022 Met Gala. That made the underrated chrome nail powder trend very popular, and people on social media started to copy Hailey’s nails or make some twists on the look.

Interested in learning how this nail trend works? We got you! Allow us to teach you how to use chrome nail powder and let you know some relevant information about this trend.

What is Chrome Nail Powder?

Chrome powder is a combination of pigment, metal and glass finely milled to fit well on nails. The metal component of the powder, which is silver, creates the reflective effect that we see on various designs. The powder is basically an added nail decor to the gel manicure. To achieve different effects and looks, there should be a combination of any gel polish colour and any shade of the powder, such as unicorn, galaxy, gold, silver and aurora.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use Chrome Nail Powder

1. Prepare Your Nails

You will be doing a basic gel manicure, so you need to prepare your nails. You can cut your cuticles or push them back with a cuticle pusher and then buff your nails based on your desired shape. You also need to buff the surface of your nails to allow the gel nail polish to stick to them. Gel nail polish doesn’t stick to smooth nail surfaces.

An important reminder before painting your nails is to get high-quality products. Go for reputable brands as using quality nail polishes and other products can help the manicure last longer.

2. Apply a Gel Base Coat

This is a basic step in every manicure. Your gel base coat protects your nails from stains and helps your manicure last longer. When painting, make sure to move in a direction that’s parallel to the growth of your nails. Do this every time you paint your nails with any polish to ensure consistency and achieve a nice finish. Then, cure the base layer for 60 seconds.

3. Apply a Coloured Gel Nail Polish

This is where you’ll paint your chosen colour for your nails. To achieve a more visible chrome colour, use a dark shade like black. Then, cure your nails. It’s important to follow the recommended time by the manufacturer’s instructions to cure your nails to ensure the colour dries completely.

You can use a lighter shade as your gel nail polish, but it will have an understated shimmer. Dark colours allow you to have bold mirrored results.

Also, it’s crucial to have a smooth and levelled application because imperfections will be enhanced by the chrome powder. Any bumps or uneven applications will be more visible. Be sure to paint your base coat, nail polish and top coat properly.

4. Apply a Gel Top Coat

Finish the look with a top coat to seal the polish. You can apply the same product you use for your base coat or a no-wipe top coat. Then, cure your nails under the lamp. Make sure not to touch your nails while you haven’t applied the chrome powder. Natural oils from your skin can be transferred to your nails, which may negatively affect the application of the chrome powder.

5. Start Applying Your Chrome Powder

Before you begin applying the chrome powder, make sure the top coat is tacky enough. This ensures the powder sticks securely to your nails.

Since chrome nail powders are costly, you can minimise wasting the product by starting with a small amount. Pat the applicator before rubbing it on your nails to dust off any excess powder. Add more powder as you progress on the application or when necessary. Just remember not to apply a thick layer as this will peel off easily.

You can use a foam eyeshadow applicator if the product doesn’t come with an applicator. This applicator is small enough to go through the edges and corners of your nails.

6. Apply the Chrome Powder Properly

To achieve the best look, you must apply the chrome powder the right way. Using the applicator, press down slightly from the cuticle going towards the nail tip in a single brushing motion. Rub the applicator on the nail, making sure the entire surface is covered. Keep rubbing until you see light reflecting on the nail. This is when the powder looks like it solidifies but it only gets very close together.

7. Brush Off Any Excess Chrome Powder on the Nail

Once the entire nail is done, brush off the excess powder using a makeup brush, which has very soft bristles that don’t damage the manicure. Some powder particles may still be there after brushing them off, so you can use a paper towel to remove them completely. The excess product looks like sparkly particles. Ideally, you need to remove the excess powder to achieve a complete mirror-like result, but if you want a little sparkly finish, you don’t need to brush the extra product off.

8. Apply a Top Coat

To finish the look, apply a gel top coat to seal the chrome powder. It’s important to use a gel top coat as the regular one can make the chrome powder lose its shine and become streaky. Before putting the brush of the top coat back into its container, wipe it clean with tissue to get rid of the powder residue. This also prevents any contamination of the polish from the brush.

9. Cure Your Nails

This is the last step for the manicure. You need to cure your nails to seal everything. If you see sticky residue after curing, remove it with a cotton ball soaked in isopropyl alcohol. Add another layer of top coat and then cure it to ensure more durability in your manicure.

In case there is a divot, you can quickly fix it with a nail drill. A divot happens when you paint the top coat and a small amount of it crosses your cuticles and settles there. When you apply the chrome powder, some of it gets stuck in the top coat that crosses your cuticles.

Simply turn on your nail drill and set it to slow speed. Carefully file the divot until it’s completely gone. Apply cuticle oil to your nails to lock in moisture and keep your new manicure looking really shiny.

How Long Does a Chrome Nail Manicure Last?

Ideally, chrome nails last for two weeks since gel polish is used as the base manicure. These can even extend to one more week if you prepare your nails properly, perform the correct application and are extra careful with your nails.

Aftercare also plays a crucial part in making the manicure last longer. What you can do daily is to keep your hands moisturised by applying hand lotion to your skin and cuticle oil to your nails. Hydration prevents dryness that contributes to chipping.

Regular touch-ups also help in the longevity of your manicure. Apply a top coat every two days to keep the seal of the manicure strong.

What Is the Ideal Nail Shape for a Chrome Manicure?

Many stunning chrome nails are typically in almond shapes, but you can definitely use other shapes and still get that fabulous look. The mirror-like effect compliments any nail shape, and you have the opportunity to explore the best look for your nails. Also, precision in the application of the manicure is key to achieving professional-looking nails.

Precautions on Chrome Nail Manicures

There are some precautions you must consider with chrome nail manicures (and manicures in general). Keeping these in mind allows you to consistently have healthy nails and prevent damage from any procedure.

Nail Biting

Nail biting is never good for your nails and your health. It damages the tissue surrounding the nails, making them look abnormal. Bacteria can also quickly enter your body, leading to unwanted diseases. To help stop you from continuing nail biting, always cut your nails short and wear gloves until you have full control over this habit.


Picking the nails or waiting for the polish to fall off or chip is always a no-no. Nail polish needs to be properly removed to prevent damage to the nails. The most common and effective at-home removal method is by using acetone. Soak your nails in acetone and wait for the ideal time to allow the product to break the adhesive for easy removal. But if you’re unsure of how to properly remove the manicure or not confident in your skills, you can always visit a salon.

Addiction to Manicure

It can get to a point where you don’t want to stop getting a manicure, especially if you love gel manicures. This is not surprising given how manicures make your overall look really glamorous, classy or fun. But let’s remember that continuous manicures can cause your nails to become brittle and can lead to breakage. This is why it’s important to take a break from having manicures from time to time. Allow an interval of at least one week.

Nail Enhancements

If you like a more fun and interesting look by adding nail extensions or stones, we recommend seeking professional help from a nail technician. Nail professionals are highly skilled in this procedure, and they can create the twists you want for your nails smoothly. These enhancements can be tricky, and committing mistakes can lead to nail damage. If you have a particular design, a nail tech can suggest ideas to achieve the look you want without risking your nails.

Final Verdict

Knowing how to use chrome nail powder at home allows you to explore many ways to make your nails look the way you want conveniently. Again, precision is key in making your nails look flawless and shiny. Also, take note of the mentioned precautions to keep lasting nails and prevent damage. But having a nail technician do the work makes things easier for you.