A Step by Step Guide to Applying Holo Nail Polish


Holographic nails

When you are looking for a trendy manicure for a party, the best option you will run across is holographic nails. They will give you a rainbow color effect which can be easily achieved with just a few simple steps. 

Holographic nails can be achieved either by applying premixed holographic nail polish on top of a base coat or by applying the holographic powder after a base coat. The holographic powder can be applied on regular nail polish, Shellac, gel, or acrylics. It is important to apply a thin layer of base coat underneath it so it can adhere better. 

There are several steps you need to take in the right order if you want to achieve a smooth look and evenly spread effect. If you make a mistake, the light may not break on the nails properly and then the effect would be ruined. This article will teach you how to avoid such mistakes.

How Does Holographic Nail Polish Work?

There are not many differences between holographic and regular nail polish. The only difference is that holographic nail polish has one more extra ingredient when compared to regular nail polish.

The extra ingredient in the holographic nail polish is what makes it holographic, actually. It is a substance called Spectraflair, which is actually a pigment made from two ingredients – aluminum and magnesium fluoride. When combined, these two ingredients are creating the holographic effect.

To get the holographic effect with only the nail polish, there are no extra things that you have to do; just apply the polish like you normally would. 

Not all holographic nail polishes are the same – some of them provide a regular, uniform pattern on all nails, and this type of holographic nail polish is the most common one. This means that the light will set in an even manner on all nails, which will leave all the nails to look the same.

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On the other hand, some of the nail polishes available are also called cx, because they will create a rainbow on your nails that is not uniform. 

The rarest form of holographic nail polishes is the one that creates a linear rainbow pattern on your nails, meaning that the colors will be distributed evenly in a linear form across your nails in the direction of application.

Other variations of holographic nail polishes can contain glitter, so there are really so many different choices to choose from. Some of the nail polishes are also able to give an interesting twist by creating a holographic effect with only one color (unlike the rest of the nail polishes that use all the colors from the rainbow).

Holographic nail polishes are used very easily – just apply them as you would apply regular nail polish and you are good to go. Some types of holographic nail polishes may require the use of a UV lamp. Make sure to check what type of nail polish you are getting before you buy it. 

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Always make sure to put a top coat on top of holographic nail polish, to emphasize its look and to give it extra protection and thus prolong the duration of your nails.

The trick with holographic nail polish is that it can create issues when applying similar to those you would have with white, beige, or other lighter colors of regular nail polish. 

If you don’t apply the nail polish correctly, the holographic pattern may look uneven and messy. If you apply too much of the polish, you would be left with areas on the nails that are too thick and where the holographic effect didn’t come to life. 

Make sure to apply the nail polish slowly, in thin layers, and then leave them dry before you proceed to apply the top coat. Always make sure that the layer is completely dry; otherwise, the top coat may ruin the look instead of making it better. 

How to Apply Holographic Powder on Nail Polish?

The alternative to using holographic nail polish is to use a holographic powder in combination with gel nails. But, if you don’t want to use gel, there is a way to apply the holographic powder over regular nail polish. This way you can turn any nail polish into fun holographic-looking polish on your nails.

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Holographic nail powder can really create a mess, so the best advice is to start by applying peel off latex around your nails, on your cuticles, and skin. This way you will protect the cuticles and speed up the aftercare.

Peel-off latex is easily applied and should dry up very quickly. Usually, when you apply it, the color of the latex is very light and opaque pink. You will know the latex is completely dry when the color changes to a solid, brighter, and less opaque pink. 

The next step is to apply a good base coat that will bond the nail polish to the natural nail. It is recommended not to skip this step if you want to increase the duration of your nail polish. Leave the base coat to dry for at least 90 seconds, so you are completely sure that this layer is dry before you proceed. 

Make sure to choose a base coat that is strong enough, so it will not peel after two or three days. A good base coat can affect the regular nail polish manicure duration by extending it up to a week. 

After you’ve made sure that the base coat is dry you can continue applying the nail polish. The trick here is to choose the nail polish that you know how it behaves. This is important because of the next step – applying the powder. 

The reason why it is important to choose the nail polish you have already used is because of the drying time. The holographic powder needs to be applied when the base color is almost completely dry.


If the nail polish dries too fast, the holographic powder will not adhere to it. If it dries too slowly, you may ruin the look by applying the powder while the nail polish is still very fresh and wet. 


This is why it is best to use a nail polish that you are already familiar with, so you can estimate correctly when the nail polish is about to dry completely but is still sticky. In this phase, the holographic powder will stick perfectly.

To apply the holographic powder, you would need the help of the sponge. If you don’t have any, a makeup application can be a good replacement tool. 

Once you choose your tool, dip it into the powder container and apply the powder on top of the nails. Make sure to gently rub the sponge. The more you rub the sponge, the smoother the surface will get. 

If after the first layer you are not happy with the holographic effect, you can repeat the process, but first, you need to apply the base coat again and then the holographic powder. This is to make sure that the powder will adhere to the nails. Repeat this process until you are happy with the color effect you have achieved. 

To finish the look and protect the holographic effect, make sure to apply the top coat and leave it to dry for at least two minutes before you continue with your daily activities. 

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Can You Use Holographic Powder on Gel Nails?

Although regular nail polish is very convenient because it is very easy to apply and remove, and the whole process would not take more than 10 to 15 minutes, the biggest flaw is that it cannot last long. 


Regular nail polish is very easily damaged if your hands are underwater for a long time, so everyday activities like showering or washing dishes can take a toll on the duration of your manicure. 

If you are taking care of your nails, the maximum they can stay on the nails is around seven days, and this is if you really put a lot of effort into trying not to damage the nail polish. Because of this many women have transitioned to other types of manicures, like gel or acrylics. 

Manufacturers have invented the holographic nail polish because it is very easy to use it – just apply the premixed polish onto your nails like you normally would, and you are good to go. However, there is no premixed gel or acrylics.

Gel and acrylics require you to use the holographic powder if you want to achieve the holographic look. The process of application is more or less the same like you are applying the regular gel or acrylics, the only difference is the timings and additional step of using a UV lamp (with gel only).

When you are doing a gel manicure, there are two options. You can either apply the holographic nail polish after you have applied the base or after the color.  If you are applying it after the color, you need to apply another set of base coats before you apply the powder. 

The technique of applying the holographic powder is the same as the aforementioned – use a sponge, or nail brush and dip it into the powder container and then dub that onto the nails. Start from the base of the nails and move up to the end of it. Once you finish, cure that under a UV lamp. After curing, apply a top coat and cure again. 

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With acrylics, everything is the same, the only difference is that you will leave the nails to air dry rather than using a UV lamp. I remind you that using a UV lamp on acrylic nails would have no effect. 

Chrome Vs Holographic Nails

Chrome nails are often mistaken for holographic nails. In general, chrome and holographic nails are applied in the same way – you can either use a bonded mixture in a form of chrome nail polish, or you can go for chrome powder and then combine that with the nail polish of your choice, gel, or acrylics. 

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The chrome powder on top of the colored nail polish will create a light-breaking effect that will make your nails shine and emphasize the color that is underneath. That is actually the biggest difference between these two types of techniques. 

On the other hand, holographic nails will provide you with the rainbow effect, regardless of the underlying color. Chrome nails are also shinier and brighter than holographic ones. 

Chrome nail polishes also come in variations, so you can choose from lighter to darker shades. Darker shades are becoming very popular, but the full chrome effect is seen the best in lighter colors. 

If you want to learn more about applying chrome nails you can read about it here.

How to Remove Holographic Nail Polish

Holographic nail polish can be very tricky to remove, especially if you have used some glitter on top of the holo effect as well. If you have ever painted even the regular nail polish with glitter inside, then you know how much of a struggle it can be to remove the glitter from the nails.

Holographic nail polish or powder is not the same as glitter, however, it can leave the same effect on the nails – it tends to harden more than the regular nail polish would because the holographic content needs more force to stick to the nails. 

The best way to remove it is to soak the nails into acetone and then put aluminum foil around the nails. This is what you would normally do when you remove gel or acrylics, but if you have regular nail polish on your hands, this may sound strange. 

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In reality, even with the regular nail polish, you should use this removal technique, since it will help the nail polish to disintegrate faster and will remove all the holographic content from the nails, without smudging it around.

The foils should sit somewhere between two to five minutes, depending on the type of manicure you have been using (more time is needed for gel and acrylics than it’s needed for regular nail polish or Shellac).

There is another way that will ease up the removal process, but it requires steps to be taken before you apply the nail polish. There are two options – to use a peel-off base coat or to use nail shields. 


A peel-off base coat is not recommended, since it cannot provide a long-lasting effect. The chances are that the nail polish would start to peel after a day or two. If you insist on using it, then you should reconsider using nail shiels, which will last a little bit longer than the peel-off base coat.

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The trick with the nail shields is to apply them smoothly, without any bubbles underneath. To remove the nail polish, soak the nails into a bowl of warm water for around five to seven minutes and the nail polish should come off with the nail shield in one piece. 

Peel the nail shield from one cuticle end to the other. Never start from the tip of the nails, because the nail shield will not come off in one piece like this. 

After you finish removing the holographic nail polish, just continue with the regular care of your nails. If you have used holographic nail polish, there is a chance that your natural nails are now discolored. 


This can happen only if you have chosen to use a cheap, unchecked brand. The formulation of holographic nail polish is already harsh, and if you don’t use quality products you are risking damaging your natural nails. 

However, in 99% of cases, everything will be fine, and after applying moisturizer and cuticle oils, your nails are ready for a new set of manicures. 

Holographic Top Coat

Holographic top coats are top coats that will add just a dash of sparkling holographic effect to the color of your nails. They will turn regular boring colors into holographic ones. 

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However, the holographic top coat will never be able to achieve the same effect you can get with the use of true holographic nail polish or powder. It will just add a sparkle to it. Think of it as a way to spice up the look of your nails. 

If you are not sure how the holographic nails would look on you and you would be able to combine them with your outfits, the top coat is perfect for check if you can pull out that look.

The top coat will create a holographic effect, but it will not be as strong as it would if you were using traditional techniques. 

Once you finish applying regular nail polish, apply the holographic top coat and leave it dry. Technically you could apply the holographic top coat on top of the holographic nail polish, but you can actually ruin the look this way.

This is especially true if you were using linear holographic nail polish, for example. The holographic top coat would mask and ruin the linear pattern of the polish, thus ruining the overall look you were trying to achieve. 

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Sophia

My name is Sophia, and I'm a makeup artist that loves to try different makeup, nail polish, and other beauty products.

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