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How to Get a 2-in-1 Mani With Color-Changing Nail Polish

Two colors are better than one.
December 14, 2022


You sit down to give yourself an at-home manicure, your nail polish collection in front of you. As you start to pull out some potential shades, you find yourself torn between colors. If you’re constantly dealing with this polish dilemma, you’ll be happy to hear that color-changing nail polish may be the solution to your indecision. Ahead, find all the details on getting a 2-in-1 manicure with the help of color-changing nail polish.

What Is Color-Changing Nail Polish?

Color-changing nail polish is exactly what it sounds like — nail polish that changes color so you can get the most out of your chosen shades. That said, there are actually a few different types of color-changing nail polish, depending on the look you’re going for. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Glow-In-The-Dark Nail Polish

If you love a nail look that makes a statement, you’ll be a fan of glow-in-the-dark nail polish. In normal lighting, your nails will be one color. When put under a black light, your manicure will come to life with a glowing, neon version of the shade.

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2. Thermal Nail Polish

Arguably the most popular type of color-changing nail polish is thermal nail polish. This type of polish reacts to temperature, just like a mood ring. It will switch between two colors depending on if your fingertips and nails are hot or cold. You can escalate this change by dipping your fingers in a bowl of water.

3. Holographic Nail Polish

If you want statement-making nails, holographic nail polish is another noteworthy option for color-changing polish. A true holographic polish will transform when in natural light, creating a rainbow prism of color. You can move your hands around to get the light to play with the polish even more.

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Is Color-Changing Nail Polish Safe?

You’ll be happy to hear that color-changing nail polish is safe to use, just like any other nail polish you may be applying.

How Long Does Color-Changing Nail Polish Last?

Due to its color-changing properties, color-changing polish (specifically thermal nail polish) has a shorter shelf life than regular nail polish. Expect thermal polish to last no more than a year, versus the two years of most polishes. 

As far as your manicure itself, you can expect it to last the same amount of time as any regular mani or acrylic set. 

How to Use Color-Changing Nail Polish

Applying color-changing nail polish is easy, as it’s applied just like any other nail polish you have in your collection. But if you still want a step-by-step tutorial, just follow the tips below.

1. Apply a Base Coat

To keep your nail color from staining your nails, apply a base coat to clean, bare nails. Smooth on a single layer for each of your nails and allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

2. Apply Your Color-Changing Nail Polish

Next, apply your color-changing nail polish to each nail in a smooth, even layer. Allow that layer to dry then go back in for a second layer of polish. 

3. Clean Up the Edges

After your regular color-changing nail polish or color-changing gel polish has dried, saturate a cotton swab with nail polish remover and  carefully remove any stray polish that may have gotten on your fingers, rather than your nails.

4. Smooth On a Top Coat

To ensure you get the most out of your color-changing manicure, smooth on a top coat. This will give your nails a pretty finish while also helping to protect against chipping.

Next: This Is How Long It Takes to Grow Your Nails

Edited by: Témi Adebowale, Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Visual Designer: Sarah Duvivier, Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Prop Stylist: Catherine Pearson, Prop Assistant: Lindsay Jones

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