So, you’ve been perusing that famous nail art Instagram when you start to notice a trend: that weird peeling stuff around the nails and cuticles. You’re confused when you see the nail artist remove it at the ends of the video and the skin is magically clean from nail art mess during stamping, gradients, water marbles, nail vinyls and other nail art. What is that stuff you ask? It’s liquid latex, and today I’ll show you how to use it and where to buy it.
Liquid latex is meant for body art for costumes and other outfits, but the nail art community has repurposed it for nail art clean up. It typically comes in a nail polish bottle outfitted with a normal nail polish brush or a thin nail art striper brush.
The one I own is Glisten & Glow CTRL-ALT-DEL Latex Barrier, but the more popular ones are Bliss Kiss Simply Peel Latex and Liquid Palisade from Kiesque. The reason I went with the Glisten & Glow one is because it’s more affordable at $8.50. Simply Peel is around $12 and Liquid Palisade originally went for $22, but now is sold at Sephora for half the price with half the product. Glisten & Glow has the best deal. The only upside to the Liquid Palisade is that it is now offered at Sephora, making it more accessible than the Glisten & Glow and Bliss Kiss varieties.
If you want to save even more money, you can buy a jar of liquid latex on Amazon and fill an empty nail polish bottle with the latex. You essentially have the same product.
Please note: If you have a latex allergy, liquid latex is not for you. Do not use liquid latex if you have a known latex allergy.
Liquid latex saves so much time in cleaning up. I’m no longer sitting there for an hour trying to meticulously clean up polish around my nails. I’m no longer stuck with dried out cuticles from all of the acetone. It makes me want to try out messy nail art more often knowing that I’m not going to be spending much time worrying about clean up afterwards.
Some people say that water and school glue will do the same thing, but I disagree. The glue takes forever to dry and doesn’t peel off as easily and smoothly as liquid latex. I always found little bits of glue left over on my fingers and sometimes the small particles would get stuck on my nail when I applied top coat. I would recommend just buying a liquid latex product and save yourself the additional mess. Your barrier is supposed to save you from the clean up!
Using liquid latex for nail art clean up is simple:
- After applying your base color, apply the liquid latex around the nail and cuticle like you would nail oil. Avoid getting the latex on the nail itself. If you happen to get some on the polished nail, wait for it to try and peel it or push it back with a cuticle pusher. I find that applying a thicker coat is better. I will usually apply a base layer and then go over with a second layer. It should look like this.
The product is very thin, so use caution when applying. Avoid getting the product on the actual cuticles. This will cause a scraggly cuticle line and for the latex to get caught in any polish that is being applied. It’s better to go in later and clean that up with a brush and acetone.
- Allow it to dry 2-3 minutes until the latex is no longer wet or when you can start to peel off at the edges. Some variations take longer or shorter to apply.
- Do your nail art. Any mess that would normally get all over your finger will now catch onto the liquid latex. If you are doing water marbling, you may want to apply under the nail and pad of the finger as well. Here I tried stamping.
- Next, peel off the latex. If you applied it properly, it should come off in one peel. If there are any small bits left behind, use a tweezer to help them out.
- Clean up around the cuticles as normal. There will be some mess in the cuticle as normal, but any polish will be off of the skin.
That’s it! Using liquid latex is really simple and has changed the way that I do nail art. It’s no longer as messy and my nails and skin aren’t dry any more from using acetone to clean up.
Do you want to try liquid latex? Shop my favorites down below!