If you follow any sort of nail art trends online, you must have heard about mirror chrome nails by now. Everyone has been gushing over this magic glitter powder for months since its release, but in order to use it, gel polish and some sort of UV lamp setup are required. I thought I was just going to have to sit this one out until I saw this awesome set on the Born Pretty Store website.
Pretty much all of the materials that you need in order to create the silver (also available in gold) chrome look are here, and it’s pretty affordable, too!
As you can see in the picture, the lamp has three LED lights, each with a power of 3 watts, so the lamp has a total power of 9 watts. This is relatively low wattage as a lot of UV lamps have 36 watts of power or more. This will affect curing times, as I later found out the hard way.
The cable that comes with the lamp is roughly 22-1/2 inches, or less than 2 feet long, so it is rather on the short side. You may substitute another adapter of your own to use with this unit provided that it is 100-240v AC 50-60 Hz. These specifications are printed on the adapter plug and on the side of the box.
The lamp is available in several different colors, but I was sent the red one. It is a beautiful metallic apple red, and the size is relatively small with a shape similar to a telephone handset. The power switch is located on the top of the unit. If you push it once, the light will turn on for 30 seconds and then shut off automatically, or you can push the button again to turn it off mid cycle.
Disclaimer #1: This was my first time doing gel nails. I’ve always been a girl who changes her polish frequently, so I’ve never really worked with gels, but I’m a quick learner! If you see my noob mistakes, don’t laugh too hard at me!
I painted a thin coat of black Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish onto my thumb. Because the lamp size is too small to fit all your nails underneath the light at once, I cured my thumb separately. I pushed the button on the lamp once, meaning that I cured the gel for 30 seconds.
After the light went off, it seemed like the polish wasn’t cured fully because it felt tacky to the touch. I’ve heard of needing to wipe off the sticky layer after curing gel nails, so I didn’t think too much of it at this point.
I decided to try applying the mirror powder to this nail anyway without wiping off the tacky layer to see what would happen.
As per instructions on the Born Pretty website, I used the sponge applicator that came with the set to apply the powder to my nail. Just like magic, my nail went from a streaky looking black color to silver.
You will notice that the look does not have an even chrome finish and that it looks like densely packed glitter. Applying the powder over a tacky base was not the answer!
For my other nails, I decided to wipe off the tacky layer after the 30 second curing process was done. What I found was that I could not cure all four nails at the same time with the lamp in this kit. Also, not only did the gel polish have that sticky feel after the light went off, but when I went to wipe the nails with rubbing alcohol and a cotton pad, the gel almost completely rubbed off my nail! I don’t have a photo of this because I was freaking out about getting gel all over the place.
I learned later that darker colors of gel polish require longer curing times, so 30 seconds with this lamp will definitely not cut it for black polish.
Also, I had issues with the application of the polish because the gel kept running into my cuticles even though I was painting on thin layers. Apparently this is a thing with gel polish, so I tried to act as quickly as possible.
I tried curing 3 nails together (index, middle, and ring) in the lamp so that the light could reach them better, and I used 2 light cycles (60 seconds) to set the gel. The results were better, and I was able to wipe my nails down with the rubbing alcohol without removing all the polish. After applying the chrome powder, the results were much better this time around.
Disclaimer #2: You probably noticed the rippling on my index finger. This happened when I was trying to wipe down my nail with alcohol. I should note that I also used UNT Ready for Takeoff peel off base coat with the gel polish. Even though Simply Nailogical got this to work, my gel expert friend Bev later told me that gel polish with a peel off base is a no no because it can shrink during the curing process. Lesson learned!
Because I hadn’t painted my pinky yet and noticed that the mirror powder seemed to make a nice effect over my liquid palisade, I tried painting my pinky with Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape to see if it would work or not.
However, I wasn’t convinced that this was what chrome nails were supposed to look like. What would happen if I used regular polish with a gel clear coat?
I hardly have any gel polishes so I painted a thin layer of Born Pretty Soak-off Gel Polish base/top coat (sold separately from this kit) and cured it under the lamp for 60 seconds. I found that holding the lamp in my hand and moving it steadily back and forth over my nails helped to get the light to reach all the nails on my hand in one go.
I opted to use the powder on top of the clear gel coat without wiping it down, and the results were a ton better than they were with the black gel polish alone.
It took several tries, but I got my mirror nails in the end! Don’t forget to add another layer of gel top coat once the powder is applied to your liking.
Disclaimer #3: After watching several YouTube videos on how to achieve this look, I noted that people who used only gel polish applied a base coat of clear gel, 2 coats of colored gel, and a layer of top coat prior to applying the powder with an additional layer of top coat applied at the end over the powder, curing each layer of gel along the way. Perhaps this is where I went wrong with the black gel polish, but then again, the original kit did not come with a top coat, even though it said that it did on the website.
The lamp in the kit is super affordable, but its small size makes curing your nails a little harder to do. Also the wattage is on the low side, so expect to need to cure colored gel polish with a minimum of 60 seconds. It’s definitely a beginner UV LED lamp, so it’s a great item for those who are just starting to get into gel polish or those who only are interested in gels in order to get the mirror nail effect.
The gel polish would have been awesome if it had been the clear top coat as was listed in the description of the product. Black gel polish may not be a good choice for those who are new to gels. You will need to apply a gel top coat over the powder to preserve the finish, which means that you will have to buy another product that is not included in this kit, defeating the point of having a pre-made set.
The powder itself is amazing, but the finish does change depending on the texture of the surface you rub it on. I had random men complimenting my nails when I went out later that day, so it creates an eye catching look, especially when it is applied over gel top coat.
Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)
If you are interested in purchasing this chrome pigment, gel polish, and UV LED lamp set (retail price is $25.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below. Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off the regular priced items your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping. Happy polishing!