Nail Maxx Guide: How To Do Chrome Nails

Looking to make your nails stand out anywhere you go? Chrome nail art has been a staple for anyone who loves a good manicure, and it’s surprisingly not that hard to learn how to do chrome nails at home. All you need are a few extra items besides your nail essentials, and you’re set to go!

Get Your Essentials Together

It’s crucial to gather all the nail art accessories you need before you start.

  1. A cuticle stick, nail file, buffer and clipper for the basic prep.
  2. A base layer, top coat (preferably non-wipe) and professional gel polish for the foundation of your chrome nails at home.
  3. A UV/LED lamp. 
  4. Chrome powder and powder applicator to do the chrome nail art.
  5. Paper towels, a soft brush, isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab for clean-up.

Start With A Good Foundation

Just like how you can’t start cooking with dirty dishes, you can’t do a gel manicure without having the right foundation. Having the right foundation means giving time to not just nail prep, but cuticle care too. Start with cutting, filing and buffing your nails.

How to Do Chrome Nails at Home

Once you’ve got the foundation done, it’s time to start!

Step One: Apply the Gel Base

The base layer protects your nails from yellowing while making your chrome manicure last longer. If you’re missing a gel base or top coat, check out our wide collection of high-quality base and top coats. Cure your gel base with the lamp once you’ve applied it.

Step Two: Add Colored Gel Polish

When you’re looking for a visible chrome effect, choose a dark color. Colors like black, burgundy, mauve, wine red and brown tend to be good choices. A lighter-colored gel polish will give your nails an understated shimmer instead of full-on chrome nail art.

Step Three: Cure the Polish

Once you’ve applied the colored gel polish, it’s time to cure the polish! When you’re just beginning to learn how to do chrome nails, it’s best to follow the nail polish manufacturer’s guidelines on how long to keep your hands under the lamp.

Step Four: Add A Top Coat

Since the chrome powder will be added on to the top coat, it’s best to use a no-wipe top coat. Be careful not to touch the polish on your nails, since natural oils can easily transfer onto the polish. Cure the polish afterward following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step Five: It’s Time for the Chrome

Two hands showing light and dark chrome nails

Now comes the fun part, the chrome nail art. While the application may seem easy, precision is key. You can choose a chrome powder in any color you want, but if you’re looking for a neutral color, go for silver or gold. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re applying the chrome powder.

1. You Only Need A Tiny Amount

If you’re just learning how to do chrome nails, it’s best to start with small amounts. Use just the tip of the chrome applicator to pick up the powder. Remember, less is more.

2. Perfect Your Brushing Technique

Begin by pressing the chrome powder on your nail, and swiping it in a single motion across the nail. You should keep rubbing the chrome powder until your nail is shiny. One of the easiest ways to tell it’s ready is when your nail reflects the light.

Step Six: Seal The Chrome

The final step to your chrome manicure is to seal it. Paint your gel top coat on top of the chrome powder and seal it with a lamp. If there is sticky residue after curing, use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to wipe it off.

Chrome nails are bound to make you the showstopper wherever you go, and they’re incredibly simple to do. Learn how to do chrome nails at home and more with our nail blog. If you’re looking to buy products to get started, check out our collection of wholesale nail supplies!