Wednesday, August 3, 2016

on 12 comments

The Polish Chrome Wars Part 3 - Do you HAVE to use a gel base?

Do you have to use a gel polish base with the chrome powders?  It's the question I've seen asked over and over when someone posts a chrome burnshing manicure on instragram.  One thing you will notice is that many of the videos of the chrome powers feature nail tech's using the product on their clients. Not so many of us non nail techs just playing around on our own nails.

Today I set out to determine if you have to use gel polish as the base for chrome powders.  

Let's get straight to the answer, NO, you don't have to use gel polish to get the effect to work, but it does depend what regular polish you use and you will get a better mirror finish with gel.

I have two examples here to share, one with chrome powder and one with holo powder (which I took more photos of cause it was really pretty).

Looking at this first photo where I've used the chrome powder, none of these nails have gel on them. 
  • Index - Dance Legend Peel off Glitter Base in black
  • Middle - black regular polish with Seche Vite top coat
  • Ring - black regular polish with Ulta3 clear (cheap $2 clear polish)
  • Pink - black regular polish with Essence gel look top coat.

The Dance Legend peel off Glitter Base worked beautifully.  I loved that I didn't have to do top coat plus it could later peel off.  Dance Legend make this product in several colours, I have the black and white, so you can get great results quickly with just a single coat of this polish. Plus because it has a rubbery finish, you don't have to worry about trying to time the application of the powder, it will just adhere perfectly.

The middle finger with the Seche Vite top coat didn't work so well this time.  I have had it work well with Seche Vite before, but I think this time the top coat dried too long and became hard and glossy, therefore when I rubbed it in it just wouldn't adhere.

Both the ring and pinky fingers worked perfectly.  The powder rubbed in to a smooth mirror finish and didn't look speckled at all.

The main thing to remember when using the powders of regular polish is that you need to allow it to dry, but not dry so smooth and hard that the powder wont stick.  Both my ring and pinky fingers were most definitely still dentable when I rubbed this in, so I pressed hard enough to get the powder in, but not so hard as to dent or imprint the polish.  You don't need to use very much pressure with regular polish to make it stick and I got best results just using my finger.

Once last thing to remember is that using regular polish you wont get the same perfect mirror finish that you can achieve with gel polish.  Gel polish just provides a smoother finish and hides bumps and ridges on your nails so much better.  But if you don't have a gel kit, then you certainly don't have to miss out on the fun.

I also tried out the holo powder over the Dance Legend Peel off Glitter base.  I had previously commented that I thought the holo powder I was using (JOSS Holo Flake) was quite opaque and the base colour woudn't matter, but it turns out I was not quite right with that, because you can clearly see the difference with the holo powder over black and white Peel off Glitter base.

The other thing I did (and this was just for fun and not something anyone else should try) is I compared the 50 micro holo flake with some of the finest 14 micron Spectraflair that I still have in my stash in powder form.  I bought this spectraflair about 5 years ago when it was still ok with the manufacturer to buy and sell it in powder form.  They no longer allow that in their terms of sale, so unless you already have powder form Spectraflair then you aint going to find it anywhere.

The index and middle fingers show the JOSS 50 Micro flake and the ring and pinky fingers show the 14 micro Spectraflair.  

I have heaps more posts in this series coming your way, I've got different brands of holo and chrome powders to compare (I'm just still waiting on a few to arrive in the mail - looking at you Born Pretty Store)  In fact I'm kinda pissed at the BPS.  They say on the banner on their website that they ship within 24 hours.  I call bullshit on that, and I know I'm not the only one. My package took more than two weeks to ship, and I even paid the extra postage to get it tracked.  Plus, I reckon my package was only shipped when it was because I received and email from the BPS asking if I would like to review the powders.  I wrote back and said no, because I'd already bought them, and asking why they hand't shipped yet.  Still no response, but my package was shipped the next day.  It annoys me that they will still push bloggers and instragramers for review products, and look after them, but when it comes tojust a regular order their CS is crap. /endrant.


  1. This is super helpful, thank you!
    Love the look of holo powder over white peel-off base! There's the ever elusive white holo! *off shopping*

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to show us the experiment result with us Cathy! I don't have gel polish but DL Glitter off base black is on my way, so I gotta try this. Now waiting for more posts about which powder to get :)

  3. Oooooh, interesting! I've got some chrome powders on the way (from BPS, ha!) so I can't wait to have a play.

  4. I love this series! I'm going to direct anyone that asks me straight to you! ☺

    I also call bullshit on BPS's 24 hour shipping. They need to get an inventory system or a new site header. They let my previous order sit for a month, with zero communication, because 1 item was out of stock. If it weren't for my follow up I think it would have sat unprocessed forever. I can't believe I used to review for this company and say nice things.

    1. Omg, how freaking IRRITATING! I was just gonna head over there to shop a bit, but your comment (and Cathy's) have annoyed me just enough to go elsewhere this time. (I'm in a mood. lol)

  5. I tried with my usual quick-dry top coat and had the same thing happen. I think a quick-dry goes from not at all dry to too dry too quickly.
    I like how it looks over the white base, too - the holo is still strong and it's more delicate-looking.

  6. I noticed that BPS's customer service and shipping times have gone down hill from what it used to be. :(

    I just received my chrome and holo powders from them and had someone ask me if they could be used without gel. Google led me here, so I've linked this very helpful blog back to them. This is good to know. Now I'm off to read the other posts in this series. :)

  7. Can you use it with the gel polishes that you don't have to have a UV light?

    1. Yep, you can pretty much do it over anything, but just have to time it right where the polish is dry enough to rub on but not too hard and dry that the powder won't grip.

  8. Can you do this with a non UV gel?

  9. Thank you so much! I was wondering about this and I wanted to try but thought i couldn't since i don't do gels! this was so helpful :)

  10. I have nails with vertical lines and was told my nails are too weak for just gel over them, so I've been getting gel with "powder base" but I would like to get away from the drilling. I used to get a gel that was thick going on. Is there any suggestions of the type I'm looking for or any suggestions?


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I live in Canberra, Australia with my husband, Mr Ten and Miss Eight. My blog is all about nail polish, and a few other bits in between. You can contact me at