Making Chrome (Mirror) Nails Without UV – Complete Tutorial

mirror nails

Chrome or mirror nails is one of the most attractive and eye catching nail designs you can find. It is not so difficult to make and final result will impress you and all your friends. This design is amazing for different holidays or for going out. It looks fantastic and you can be sure that all surrounding people will be looking at you with great interest.  

General problem with this design is that it requires UV lamp. Many ladies just don’t have it or don’t want to use it because it may harm the skin. But hopefully there is a way to make this amazing manicure without using the lamp. In this tutorial I will explain how to create mirror surface on your nails without UV!

Chrome Powder

The first and the most important thing you need for this manicure is Chrome Powder. It’s also named Mirror Powder in some stores. It can be purchased from many beauty shops near you or online from Amazon or other websites. The price isn’t too high and there are many different powders available. In general, there is no big difference between them and you can buy any.

Color of the powder affects the shade of the mirror you will get at the end. If you wish 100% authentic mirror / chrome surface buy Silver powder. If you want golden mirror buy Golden powder and so on. The technique for all the colors is the same.

If you like this style and want to try different colors it’s recommended to buy color sets with several shades. This will help to save some money. Purchasing several colors at once is usually cheaper.

Pay attention: some of powder producers say that their product is for UV lamp only. But it can be easily used without the lamp. My own experience tells that the lamp is not required at all if you use proper polish.

Gel Polish

Chrome manicure can’t be done with a simple polish. Special Gel polish is the best choice for this. Many ladies don’t use this type of polish because it requires UV lamp. The lamp is not so expensive but many people still don’t want to buy it. Hopefully you no longer need this tool. There are special No-light polishes that get dry without any UV.

Nails Inc. Gel Effects Polish and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel are one of the best. You just apply one of them and wait as you usually do. The lamp is not required.

You will need one of these Non-UV polishes for the purposes of this Mirror style.


Apply 2 layers of black Non UV nail polish to every nail. This black base will make the mirror effect stronger. You can use other colors as a base but you will receive other mirror shades at the end. For example pink base will give you mirror-pink color. If the pink is used with gold powder you will get Rose Gold mirror surface and so on. It also looks fantastic and I recommend to play with different bases. But we are going to use black base for the purposes of this tutorial. Only black can give 100% chrome effect.

After these 2 layers become dry apply gel top coat to make the surface shinier. Wait until the nails get completely dry. This is important! If the layers are not dry you may harm the surface at later steps and it will affect final result.

Now it’s time to apply powder. Many guides recommend a sponge applicator for this. But if you don’t have one – forget about it. You can apply powder with your finger. Some people say it’s even better. It gives more control and you can pressure stronger. Pressure is the key! If you don’t give enough pressure you may fail.

Take some powder and start buffing the surface. If nothing happens try to increase pressure. It may take time before you will see the result. If you did everything correct sooner or later the powder will form nice chrome surface. Silver powder is so cool that you will be able to see your reflection! Apply the powder to every nail.

After this is done use soft brush to remove any excessive powder from the surface. Hard brush may harm the mirror!

Applying Top Coat

Applying Top Coat is necessary. If you don’t use it you may easily remove metal particles from the surface when washing your hands. You may also contaminate your clothes with the powder.

Pay strong attention to what top coat you are using!!! This step is very important! If you use simple gel top coat it will ruin all your hard work. The nails will become matte and will not have that mirror surface. If you don’t want this use only WATER based top coats!!! They will make the surface even shinier!

Apply the top coat and wait untill it’s dry. Clean the fingers. You can use any sticky tape to remove remaining powder from your hands. You can also try q-tip. If you have polish corrector pen it may also help you with this. It contains polish remover and you can push metal powder of the skin.

Now it’s time to admire the result! As you see the nails have smooth shiny surface. Such manicure is a blast! You will definitely attract attention of all surrounding people. Be ready to answer their questions about the mani.

If you like our Chrome Manicure guide please share it with your friends. We appreciate your help!

Popular Questions

Q: I have red (or any other color) gel polish for the base coat. Will it work?
A: Yes, it will work but you will have a mirror with red shades. Base color affects the shade of the chrome surface. Black is perfect for 100% authentic chrome, but playing with other colors may also be very interesting.

Q: Can this technique be used with UV gel polish?
A: Yes, this technique can be used with simple UV gel polish. The process of applying powder is the same and the result will be the same.

Q: I try to apply powder but it doesn’t stick to the nail. What to do?
A: Try to increase pressure and continue buffing. It will take time before you start seeing the result.

Q: I applied top coat but my surface became matte!!! What to do???
A: Try to add another layer of powder and cover it with WATER based top coat! This will make your nails shine. Use only WATER based top coat for final layer!!!

Q: Is this tutorial for artifical or natural nails?
A: You can use method described here for any type of nails.

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