Chrome Nails: The Mirrored Look That is Making Us Double-Take

by Halle Butler

Just when you thought nail polish couldn’t get any shinier, it did. Chrome finish is the next big thing atop the list of nail trends this year, but unlike shattered glass nails, this effect is a powder additive that gives fire to your fingers. 


Gigi’s $2,000 chrome manicure for the Met Gala may have set this trend, but this metallic mani is more accessible than you think. 

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Step 1: Skip the diamond studs.
Step 2: Either get crafty, or head to the salon.

If your salon keeps up with the times, chances are your stylist knows exactly what chrome powder is, and has likely been asked about it for weeks. The look is created by starting with a gel manicure and then rubbing the mirrored powder onto the cured base color. However, the gel must be absolutely smooth. Due to the highly reflective nature of the powder, every divot and imperfection in your nail is revealed if the gel isn’t applied evenly. But for those who are wary of gel polish, or have a salon that doesn’t have the chrome powder, fear not. There are other ways to achieve this look. 


Many brands make metallic nail polish that is the closest and easiest thing to the chrome look. Rose-gold lovers, look no further, because Penny Talk by Essie will literally match your iPhone. 

If that’s still not shiny enough, begin with your metallic polish base and use an additive such as foils. Nail foils are a transfer substance that leave a chrome finish resembling gold-leaf, available in every color imaginable. Industry secret: they cost almost nothing and can be purchased here

If you’re a DIY nail guru or are up for a challenge, the coveted chrome powder is available for sale here and here. When considering new nail trends, hitting the salon may be the best idea. These trends can look easy, but some things are best left to trained professionals, especially those at trendsetting nail studios like Paintbox.