Will Spray Nail Polish Change Your Life? - Fashionista

Will Spray Nail Polish Change Your Life?

Mist-on nail lacquer is the new thing in manicures. Here's how it works — and our verdict.
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Milk Makeup spray nail. Photo: Beth Shapouri

Milk Makeup spray nail. Photo: Beth Shapouri

All sorts of things come in spray form these days — foundation, body lotion, sunscreen, cheese — so it was probably only a matter of time before nail polish came in an aerosol applicator, too. And now they do. A handful of brands including China Glaze, Nails Inc., Spray Perfect and Milk Makeup have come out with nail shades that you mist on — something that sounds totally life-changing.

In theory this is genius. Getting an at-home manicure that doesn't look like it was done by a blindfolded kindergartner takes patience, time and skill, which a lot of folks have in short supply. Plus, for those of us who aren't ambidextrous (guilty!), it takes away the tricky move of having to steady a brush in your nondominant hand to paint your other one. But there's a caveat: these formulas are only meant to last two to four days. They're an easy-in/easy-out kind of thing, not the answer to all your nail-polishing prayers. Keeping that in mind, I called in the very newest, Milk Makeup's Spray Nail (in a color called Burner) to try it out.

The instructions are the same for all these formulas: Paint on a base coat, spray on the color on, then add a layer of topcoat over top. Once dry, wash away the excess with soap and water. Sounds painless right? Here's a play-by-play of how it went from spray to wash-off.

Step 1! Photo: Beth Shapouri

Step 1! Photo: Beth Shapouri

I sprayed my left hand first. You need to put something down underneath your working area to catch the overspray (one of the formulas, Spray Perfect, suggests paper towels, but I used craft paper). The little bottle feels exactly like mini-spray paint can and goes on exactly the same way — shake and mist. At first, I was concerned about touching anything with my weirdly metallic, robot-y looking hand, but the copper color dried almost instantly.

Step 2! Photo: Beth Shapouri

Step 2! Photo: Beth Shapouri

Then I moved on to my right hand. I worried a little for my apartment when I saw that the mist was shooting little bits of glitter into the air, but they were so fine they didn't actually show up on my surrounding floor or furniture.

It's important to note here that the lacquer went on smoothly and evenly, and I could control the intensity with an extra couple of seconds of spray. And the color payoff was great — so vibrant.

Step 3! Photo: Beth Shapouri

Step 3! Photo: Beth Shapouri

After I painted on a topcoat and let it dry, I washed my skin with soap and water as directed. It dissolved quickly, although there were a couple of scraggily dry patches on my cuticles where I had to scratch it off. I think next time I would keep a nail brush handy to scrub any stubborn spots.

And that's all there was to it. Start to finish, the whole thing took about 15 minutes, which is much faster than it would usually take me to pull off a DIY mani.

My only complaint is that the edges chipped quickly — as in, I got my first nick about three hours later. Reading through the reviews of other formulas on Sephora, Ulta and Amazon, that seems to be a common gripe. I think if I had run the topcoat along the ends of my nails to seal it, that would have helped, and it was easy to touch up by misting a bit on the ends and adding a smidgen of a quick-dry finishing coat (I used Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat). In the end, I'd keep a spray-on formula handy as my "I didn't have time for a proper manicure and I need to look presentable now" option with the expectation of taking it off a day or so later.

You can pick up the Milk Makeup Spray Nail for $12 at milkmakeup.com, or check out China Glaze Colored Nail Spray ($5.99, available at sallybeauty.com), Nails Inc. Paint Can Spray on Nail Polish ($12, available at sephora.com) and Spray Perfect ($19.99, available at buysprayperfect.com) to play around with the lacquers at home. Have fun!