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Spray On Nail Polish Is The Miracle We've All Been Waiting For

BY: Editors | May 19, 2016

Nail polish isn't really an area where huge innovations are constantly being made. Sure, there's been the occasional development—gels cured with mini LED lights, matte top coats—but for the most part, DIY manicures haven't changed since Y2K. Until now.

Enter spray on nail polish.

China Glaze and Nails Inc. released their aerosol-powered cans of spray on nail polish in the United Kingdom in 2015, kicking off a wave of beauty blogging that rippled across the globe before the first coat even dried. The reason for the frenzy? The cans claimed to cut nail-painting times in half while creating an ultra-even finish. As soon as the sprays arrived in the States, we charged one of our beauty editors, Rebecca, with the task of determining whether spray paint nails were really the miracle they're cracked up to be. Here's what she discovered:

How does spray on nail polish work exactly?

It's basically a tiny can of spray paint for your nails. To use it correctly, you must first apply a base coat to nails (some brands include a base coat in the kit, but a base coat of any brand should work). Most directions say to apply the base coat to naked nails, but some experts say spray color adheres nicely to gels, making it easy to quickly disguise chipped or grown-out color.

Does it really cut nail-painting times in half?

As most DIY manicurists know, it isn't just the painting that takes time. You also have to wait for your nails to dry a little before applying each coat, and then you have wait what feels like ages for everything to completely dry.

Spray nail polish tackles all of these issues. It not only cloaks nails instantly, but also dries practically immediately, leaving behind no discernible brush strokes.

Doesn't it get all over your skin?

Yes, it covers your entire finger in nail polish. However, the polish washes off your skin easily while staying put on the nails, thanks to the special base and top coat. You might want to put down some newspaper or a fluffy cat, though, to avoid staining your carpet.

So how do I use spray on nail polish?

Does Spray-On Nail Polish Really Work? Tools

Buy the China Glaze spray nail polish in Magenta Shimmer, Platinum Silver, Bright Blue, and Purple Shimmer from $5.99

1. Apply the base coat

The spray nail polish adheres to this clear layer, so be sure you get it on your nails and nowhere else. Let it dry.

2. Spritz each nail

Does Spray-On Nail Polish Really Work? Spray

Be sure to hold the can several inches away (some say 4 inches, some say 5, some say 6, some say tomato). No matter the distance, you'll definitely end up with it all over your fingers.

4. Let the color dry.

Does Spray-On Nail Polish Really Work? Drying

It won't take nearly as long as classic polish.

5. Apply a top coat.

You can reuse your base coat or try a favorite from your own collection.

6. Wash your hands

Does Spray-On Nail Polish Really Work? Rinse

Once you're absolutely positive the top coat is dry, wash with regular old soap and water, and watch the color melt off your skin.

Shop the Look

Wondering where you can buy spray on nail polish? Look no further!

1. China Glaze's Magenta Shimmer spray polish (from $5.99)

2. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat (a two-pack from $8.99)

Final Thoughts

Rebecca said the evenness of the hot-pink micro-sparkle was "thrilling". Traditional shimmer polishes tend to streak and show brush strokes, so the smoothness created by the aerosol delivery seems like a huge, game-changing development for those of us who favor metallics.

Yet there are still a few reasons to visit a professional nail salon. For one, Rebecca's color washed off within days. At the moment, spray paint nail polish simply doesn't last as long as classic polish. You can extend the spray polish's wear with your favorite durable top coat, but even so, you won't be looking at more than a few days of chip-free color. And while spray on polish provides that even texture you might crave, there's just no substitute for the relaxation that comes with a trip to the salon, to say nothing of all the nail-art options.

That being said, we're definitely keeping a few cans on hand for busy days.