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What Is Glow Nail Polish?

Kelly Ferguson
Kelly Ferguson

Glow nail polish is nail polish that either reacts under a black light or simply glows in the dark, sometimes both. Popular among teenagers, especially party-goers, glow nail polish can add an unexpected detail to a party outfit or costume, though it can also be used for regular daily wear. In the daylight, the colors typically appear as normal neon-colored nail polish, or even a lighter pastel. Similar to most other products that glow in the dark or under a black light, glow nail polish tends to only come in very bright colors that will make the most shocking impact when seen at night or under a black light. Common glow nail polish colors include lime green, turquoise, and bright pink, with some brands offering bright yellow, purple, orange, and others.

Compared with other specialty products and even more traditional, brand name nail polishes, glow nail polish is frequently relatively inexpensive, so users can experiment with many different colors. Some individuals choose to use two different colors on alternating nails, or even a separate color for each nail of the hands or feet. Creative users often paint stripes or other designs on each nail to create an even more memorable look. Since the polish tends to be fairly inexpensive, it may not have the longevity and durability against chipping and fading that other polishes do, but with proper application techniques and use of a topcoat, this does not necessarily have to be the case. This is generally not a problem for individuals who only want to wear the polish one night for a party or other event.

Some glow nail polishes react under black lights.
Some glow nail polishes react under black lights.

Many people combine glow nail polish with other glow products including makeup, accessories or clothing and hair products such as glow hair gels and even hair extensions. Coordinating one color of glow products, such as pink lipstick, nail polish, and hair extensions, provides a dramatic effect, although many users choose to wear several different colors for a more wild look. Most, if not all, brands of glow products, including nail polish, require light every now and then to refresh the glow. Without this, the glow begins to fade after a few hours in the dark and eventually diminishes entirely until exposed to light again. In the majority of situations and with most glow products, the glow lasts long enough to last through hours of fun without fading.

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Discussion Comments


I like to go out to night clubs, and I have tried several different types of glow polishes for my evenings on the town. I think that the electric green color definitely has the best effect, and shines the brightest of all the available glow polish colors.


My niece recently went to a school dance, and wore glow nail polish and other glow cosmetics. Her friends did the same. It's a lot of fun for young girls to wear these unique cosmetics, because it creates neat effects when black lights are used.

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    • Some glow nail polishes react under black lights.
      By: Andrey Sukhachev
      Some glow nail polishes react under black lights.
    • Glow nail polish can be worn during both the daytime and at night.
      By: Alliance
      Glow nail polish can be worn during both the daytime and at night.