July 4, 2016

Spray paint nail polish? Definitely a novelty worth trying, we thought, even if just to join in on all the hype. The inner nail junkie in us sprung to attention and snagged a few bottles in choice colours (read: chromes), courtesy of Nails Inc. and decided to give it a whirl.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 5.27.30 PMNails Inc Paint Can Spray Can Nail Polish in Mayfair Market Mews

The instructions: Apply the base coat, spray on the nail polish 30s after, and finish with the same clear polish as the top coat. Seemed simple enough. Here’s what went down.



If anything, I probably didn’t realise the literal mess I was getting myself into taking this on. Aerosol sprays are always a messy affair, which means you might not want to do this indoors – strike one.



The base coat, which doubles as a top coat, applied smoothly. Still, pretty sure we made a strange sight for passersby – me slumped on the ground trying to spray just my fingernails and not everything else around me; a colleague fervently photographing the process from above. The spray polish went on incredibly patchy and goopy; it was pretty depressing. After a final layer of clear top coat, I was left with a bumpy and patchy manicure job, and I didn’t even have the excuse of painting with my left hand to cover up for it.


Colleague A and I were suitably disheartened – me especially, since I’d have to live with baby’s vomit on my left hand for the weekend.

However, apparently I did it wrong – you’re supposed to spray the polish at about 30cm away from your nails, to get a good, even coat like how you would use a regular spray paint. Oops. “Luckily you still have your right hand!” Colleague A chirped. Yes, lucky me.




This time, with the help of Colleague B (aka art student experienced in spray paint, or at least common logic on how to use an aerosol spray), I ended up with a smoother first coat of nail polish – though obviously at some cost. The polish was now a perfect layer of metallic, rose gold sheen; but so was my hand. It looked like I’d dipped the top half of my hand into a bucket of paint, which was both cool and creepy at the same time. Thankfully, a trip to the restroom washed off the residue polish on my skin.






  • The polish dries in a hot minute, I’ll give you that – with or without a top coat
  • Running your hands under water won’t mess up the paintwork at all, so it’s definitely a lot less restrictive than regular nail polish. No bumps! No snags! No scratches! Now you can brush your teeth in peace!


  • So impossibly troublesome. Especially to do on your own. If you couldn’t already see from my first attempt, doing it as a one-man show is almost impossible, and that was just one hand
  • You end up with bronzed hands looking like you’re either a Greek artefact from The Metropolitan Museum, or an extra straight off the set of Mad Max
  • Washing off the residue paint on your skin is tricky too – sure it comes off with water, but not without some determined scrubbing. I spent a good five to ten minutes half-rubbing, half-clawing at my skin; and still ended up slightly shinier than the average person



Frankly, just not worth the effort – especially since the nail polish barely lasts a day. A few hours in and the entire layer had started peeling right off my nail with the ease of a cheapo pasar malam sticker. It’s marketed as the “world’s fastest manicure”, but honestly if you just ditched the spray can and stuck to regular nail polish, you’d probably get it done faster – and better. To be fair, it might be fun for people with more time or creativity on their hands, and particularly people good with spray cans. I could see this being a hit with art students who want to experiment with different aesthetics (a graffiti-style print even?), but for my next home manicure… I’ll pass, thanks.


Nails Inc The Paint Can, $31, available at Sephora stores.