Halloween Nails

FairyGlo Soak-Off Color Changing Gel Polish

I know a lot of people are posting cute pictures of pumpkins or ghosts or spiders on their nails this time of year. Much like wearing a sweatshirt that says “Witch, please!” I am not inclined to do that to my nails. More power to the people who are, though. I enjoy looking at their Instagram photos of their art projects.

Instead I wanted to try something I’d been thinking about and finally I had all the pieces I needed. A month or two back I got a lovely assortment of color-changing gel polish courtesy of FairyGlo (I dearly love color-changing nail polish!). I was able to choose 5 colors from their extensive range, and one of them was a bright pink/opaque white combo with holo sparkles embedded it in (#9037).

Colors #s 5725, 5021, 5023, 9037, and 5015
Colors #s 5725, 5021, 5023, 9037, and 5015
I’ve been discovering that many gel polishes come in rather small bottles, at least compared to air-dry polishes that typically come in 15-18mL. Gel polish sometimes comes in bottles as small as 8mL which is a little disconcerting, considering they usually cost as much as their larger colleagues.

Anyway, FairyGlo comes in large 15mL bottles, which is nice. The application brush is flattened instead of round, which is another feature I’ve come to enjoy. Some of the polish seemed a little thick to me, but after rolling it between my palms and allowing it to heat up a bit, it flowed smoother. I did do some research into thinning gel polish, just in case that trick didn’t work.

First applied a base coat from YaoShun and then I did two layers of the FairyGlo #9037. I’m new to gel nails but I’ve since learned how utterly important it is to avoid getting gel polish on your cuticle or on the skin around your nail. After each coat, before drying, I run a toothpick or the pointed edge of an orangewood stick or basically anything pointy that can wipe off any polish that has leaked onto the skin next to the nail. If I don’t do this, it’s a guaranteed way to start peeling and lifting of the polish, sometimes before the day is up. Once a gel polish starts lifting, I can’t help but peel it. (As an aside, I’ve been trying to curb a bad habit of picking at my nails for years; I’ve discovered that doing my nails helps a lot, but it’s probably a genuine psychological compulsion.)

DANCINGNAIL latex peel-off barrier liquid
DANCINGNAIL latex peel-off barrier liquid
Once I got the color-changing layer on, I applied a peel-off barrier from DANCINGNAIL around the nails on the skin. This product goes on milky white (it comes in other colors) but dried clear. The idea is that you paint this on before you do something to your nail that will be messy, such as stamping or daubing on other colors with cosmetic sponges. If you are familiar with watercolor painting, this is basically the nail equivalent of liquid frisket (in fact, I’ve often wondered if frisket might work as well).

Once I’d properly masked the nail, I applied some black* gel polish by YaoShun to a fresh cosmetic wedge sponge and carefully daubed the black around the base of each nail. Since gel polish doesn’t really dry in the air, it’s possible to build up a good layer of color using one side of the sponge to apply the polish and the other to dab it away if I got too much in once spot. Once I was happy with how the polish looked, I dried the nail in my UV/LED dryer and peeled off the masking barrier (I did one nail at a time).

* It’s possible that this color is actually very, very dark gray.

I finished this manicure off with a top coat, also by YaoShun, and enjoyed playing with the color-changing effect for the rest of the evening.

There you have it! My interactive, color-changing, vaugely goth, Halloween manicure!

Gianna Pfister-LaPin

Gianna is a product reviewer and usability expert with 15+ years of real-world experience. She is happy to offer constructive advice and social media feedback to companies who want to make better products. When she's not trying out new products on herself or her family, Gianna plays with yarn and watches movies. She can also be bribed with stroopwafels.

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