Best Color Changing Nail Polish [Review] in 2021
written by nail expert Jess Rowley
Why stick to one color when you get color changing nail polish to change up your nail mood? With color-changing nail polishes, you can do anything.
We all love holographic nails but what about nail polishes that actually change color.
Good news girly, you’re at the right place, I have done all the research and scoped out all of the best colors changing nail polishes that don’t all need a UV lamp to do the job. So take a seat, some of these are pretty cool.
Color changing nail polishes often change with the environment, such as through heat, water, or even the angle you’re looking at, they’re pretty awesome. However, it can be tricky to find a good formula that will last longer than a day or two.
But, wait let me tell you something!
There’s no need to worry, I have done all the research, looking at 19 different formulas to find the very best to spice up your at-home manicure. I have factored in longevity, durability and looked at the coolest, prettiest colors to create this guide.
Here’s a tip: I found that color changing nail polishes with an added holographic topcoat, makes your nails look insane and a definite eye-catcher.
As a side note, if you’re as bold as me you’ll love my second pick!
Here are the best black nail polishes to top off any look
ILNP Cygnus Loop Color Changing Nail Polish
Now I do love to switch up my manicure from a classic nude to this daring chrome shifting effect nail polish from ILNP. It will always seal the number one spot, purely because of how many colors you can get out of this one nail polish!
Depending on the lighting and angles of your fingertips this nail polish will shift between a wide array of colors, from blue to purple to a reddish hue– it’s insane how cool this looks on your fingertips.
You may be asking, how does it work?
Due to the pigments in this formula, it can bend the light reflected back from your nails. By changing the angle, lighting intensity, or even the way your nails curve will change what you see– you won’t be able to keep your eyes away from them!
This formula of this color-changing nail polish is unbeatable: it is chip-resistant, long-lasting and it is even super easy to remove. But that’s not even the best bit, it is also 5-free from toxic ingredients and vegan!
So not only is it an excellent and unique color, this company doesn’t cut any corners in order to make this product, so you can rest assured that you are getting the highest-quality and performance that will go a long way.
- Color shifts based on angle and lighting
- 5-free and vegan formula
- Chip-resistant and long-lasting
- Range of different hues
- None so far
Latest deal: ILNP Cygnus Loop Color Changing Nail Polish
AIMEILI Soak Off Color Changing Gel Nail Polish
I do love a good gel polish when I see one, but one that changes color based on the temperature, while still lasting up to 21 days of wear, can you beat it?
Aimeili goes on like polish, wears like gel, and will be off in minutes with no nicks, chips, or smudges. All you need to do is apply like a polish with a base coat and topcoat, curing under the UV lamp between each layer– it’s that simple!
The color changes quite drastically too, depending on how cold or warm your hands are, from hot pink when you’re cold and white when you’re hot. They also come in different colors too, like purple and blue!
One thing I found when trying this polish is that it’s a lot thicker than usual, which is completely normal. I found by rolling it in my hands for a few minutes made the application much easier and much smoother overall.
I personally love the color changes and formula as a whole with this one. Color changing gel nail polish lasts a long time, so by it being gel, it means the color-changing lasts longer and you don’t need to constantly reapply.
- Lasts up to 21 days
- Goes on like a polish and wears like a gel
- Changes based on hand temperature
- Beautiful glittery tones
- Thick formula
Latest deal: AIMEILI Soak Off Chameleon Gel Nail Polish
Cirque Colors Thermal Temperature Changing Nail Polish
I cannot wait to tell you about this one, not only do Cirque offer gorgeous thermal changing colors but the formula for this one is unbeatable.
So let’s first talk about the color: Rothko red which changes from a dark oxblood red when cold and crimson red when warm. But there’s a wide range of colors they offer such as Sol which changes from purple when cold and pink when warm!
It is super opaque even after 2 colors, while being super easy to apply and long-lasting. This means when paired with a top coat it will last up to 7 days of beautiful changing colors.
But I’m not finished:
In terms of the formula, it wins the top spot for being vegan, cruelty-free, and free from toxic ingredients with the 10-free formula. It is so safe that you can even use it while being pregnant!
- 10-free and vegan
- Has different color options
- Changes based on temperatuee
- Some have found it doesn’t change colors too much
Latest deal: Cirque Colors Thermal Temperature Changing Nail Polish
Bow Tri-Thermal Color Changing Mood Nail Polish
This temperature changing nail polish offers three beautiful shades to switch between. From a dark purple, purple/pink hue to cornflower blue! You’ll love this in your winter collection.
It works best in the winter months due to the massive drop in temperature between the indoors and outdoors– you’ll get the most out of your manicure this way!
But wait let me tell you something:
This formula is the big 5 free, it is non-toxic and vegan. It also doesn’t have that unwanted oligomeric smell. It is also healthy for your nails– scoring more and more points here.
It also is long-lasting for up to 7 days, with an ultra-rich, fast-drying, streak formula that allows for at-home manicures at ease. There’s even no need for a UV lamp with the non-curing formula.
Whether you’re adding a bit of spice to your at-home manicure or looking for a different style to go out with friends then Bow does it all! It’s also super affordable!
- 5-free and vegan
- Triple changing color
- Lasts up to 7 days
- Fast-drying and streak-free
- Works best only in the winter
Latest deal: Bow Tri-Thermal Color Changing Nail Polish
Allenbelle Color Changing Nail Polish
From pink to purple, this color change is beautiful with Allenbelle’s high-quality, non-toxic formula that will tick all your boxes.
All you need to do is apply a good base coat, 2-3 layers of this pretty color, curing under a UV lamp in between each layer and a topcoat to seal the deal. It’s super easy and will come off within a minute.
In terms of the color the color will change to pink when it reaches above 28 degrees and purple when below that. It will leave your nails glossy, bright, and shine and free of chips for up to a whopping 21 days!
But here’s the best bit:
Allenbelle is so confident in their nail polish they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so if you don’t love it you can return it! The color on this one is truly fautless!
- Non-toxic formula
- 21 days of wear
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Beautiful color
- Has to get to 30 degrees before you notice a difference
Latest deal: Allenbelle Color Changing Nail Polish
Best Color Changing Nail Polish Buyer's Guide
Color changing nail polish has been a growing trend in recent years, nothing spices up a manicure more than a nail polish that changes when you change the angle or heat.
But what makes them so great?
If you’re as bold as me and like to stand out from the crowd these nails are the best way to do it! From holographic nails to ones that change when there is a temperature change. Some even have one color at the bottom and different at the tip– so cool!
There’s a lot of different types, from thermal, solar to multi-chrome nail polish and I’m here to go through them all so when you pick up your next color-changing nail polish you’ll know exactly what to look for.
Let’s jump into it!
Different types of color changing nail polish
Let’s get down to all the juicy secrets that make all these different types of color-changing nail polish work, stay tuned these are pretty awesome!
Thermal Or Mood Nail Polish:
Thermal nail polishes change color based on mood or temperature. They use leuco dye which is transparent in warmer temperatures and shows pigment in cooler temperatures. It works by using this leuco dye, weak organic acid, and a solvent.
The solvent is usually solid in cold temperatures and liquid when warm. When the solvent is cold and sold it holds the acid and dye to make the color visible, whereas when it’s warm the solvent will melt and look transparent (showing the other color).
You will most often find this in a gel polish as a gel polish is much more durable and can tackle these changes. From my guide you’ll love Aimeili, it changes from a hot glittery pink when cold and then a frosty white when warm– it’s pretty cool this color transformation.
Solar Reactive Nail Polish:
In solar nail polish, the nail lacquer has tiny crystals that become invisible when not exposed to UV light. For example, nail polish may appear to be blue when out in daylight or shining under a light, but when not exposed to light it could change to purple.
This works by the crystals calming down and becoming invisible when the nail polish isn’t under light, showing the other color.
Multi-Chrome Nail Polish:
Multichrome nail polish is also known as duo-chrome or chameleon polish, it changes the color or illusion of the color when you change the angle of your hand or look at it in different lights. It changes without needing to change the temperature or be affected by UV lights.
The color reflects the lighting of your nails to make them appear to change color to the eye, these are a growing trend and they’re pretty awesome! It reflects on different layers of the polish pigment to show a completely different color when the angle is changed.
Holographic Nail Polish:
Now holographic nails are very similar to multi-chrome but they reflect in a different way. While multi-chrome reflects like a mirror, holographic reflects like a crystal.
You will often find that holographic nail polishes reflect into rainbows, depending on the lighting– which are pretty awesome.
Now if you want to try the coolest holographic nails you must try out ILNP MEGA, their colors are insane!
Things to look for in color changing nail polish
Temperature: For thermal nail polish you need to check the temperature it needs to be at to change color, if it has to be quite a drastic change (for example: above 30ºc to change color) it may not be worth the money. I would look for the balance to ensure you have a good chance on a daily.
Color: Color changing nail polish is nice and all but if you get a color that doesn’t work for you or one you don’t like then it’s a waste. When choosing your color-changing nail polish I would check the colors in the reviews to judge whether you should go for it!
Longevity: Longevity and durability is also an important factor to consider, as these drastic color changes can take a toll on the nail polish. I would recommend investing in a good gel color changing nail polish off my list. Even though you may need to get a UV lamp to cure these bad boys, it’s definitely worth it for the longevity of the manicure.
Ease of Application: When buying a color changing nail polish, ease of application and removal is key, we don’t want a color-changing nail polish that’s a challenge to apply or difficult to remove. We will end up skipping steps like the base coat and then the nails will only last a day or two– not fun!
Quality and price: As with every nail polish we need to find one within our budget while still getting value for your money. I have only selected the very best colors and formulas out there when it comes down to color changing polishes, all at fairly affordable price points too!
Quick Dry Formula: We all want convenience when it comes to painting our nails, usually, we should allow at least 2 minutes in between each layer, but it next to never happens. Why you may ask? Life gets in the way, maybe a friend has called or you’re bored of waiting so you go on your phone. That’s when you realize that the polish hasn’t fully dried– disaster!
A balance of patience and a good formula that’ll dry quickly is the way to go!
Frequently asked Questions
Does color-changing nail polish work with topcoat?
Absolutely! As well as with a base coat, just apply your nail polish like normal (or how you would gel with curing for some) and watch it work the magic. The only thing I would recommend is storing your color-changing nail polish in a cool, dry area– like in your closet. Don’t store too cold or too warm otherwise, it may not work as well!
How do you use color-changing nail polish?
Just apply a base coat, allow it to dry. Then apply a layer of the color-changing nail polish of your choice and cure under a UV lamp for a minute or two, do this in between each layer. Then apply a top coat of your choice and cure for the last time and you’ll have a manicure that’ll last you up to 3 weeks!
Where can I buy color-changing nail polish?
Color-changing nail polish has become increasingly popular in recent years so you might be able to get hold of them anywhere. From Walmart, Walgreens, Target to Amazon. I would recommend sticking to Amazon as they offer better quality and a better range of colors to choose from.
Holographic, thermal, multi-chrome, and solar reactive nails will add little spice to your manicure while also adding longevity. I tried my first color changing polish a few years ago and I’m now completely hooked!
If you want to have unique nails that will make you stand out from the rest, then you have to try the ones I have selected today. Select a few if you’d like and you’ll have a manicure like a boss.
I have also considered budget too, to give you the best gel and regular color changing nail polishes you can find on the market.
Select any of the ones I have selected today and you won’t be disappointed, let’s rock these manicures girls!
Nail Technician Expert
Jess Rowley, a veteran nail tech, has been studying beauty over the last 11 years and has completed the nail technology program in California. Watching the latest trends in beauty, Jess searches for the highest quality products that make your nails feel loved.