You’ve no doubt seen the hashtag of the moment: #chromenails. Thanks to the internet, techs and clients alike have a newfound interest in pigment powders, and the chrome nail, designed using a super-fine silver pigment over a tack-free soak-off gel top coat, is leading the charge.

Pigments have long been the unheralded ingredient in nail lacquer and nail paints — they are intensely colored powders derived from various organic and inorganic sources. Used in their pure undiluted form, pigments are opening a whole new world of innovation in nail art, and other techniques besides chrome nails are proving powder pigments’ incredible diversity and power.

Whether you are seeking the Holy Grail of a mirror-like finish or simply experimenting with creating custom colors, here are five techniques that will launch you deeper into the wild and wonderful world of cosmetic-grade pigment mania.

1. Color Mixology 

Expand your gel color library cost-effectively without compromising storage space. Through practice and experimentation, you can create any color imaginable using pigments and hard gel.

Get a tutorial here

2. Dramatic Finish 

From chrome to holo nails, and metallic to mermaid manicures, effects pigment powders add a rich coating to the nails, transforming your base color shade into something totally trendy. 

Get a tutorial here.

3. Stamping 

Compared to gel-polish and traditional lacquer which can dry quickly, using a super-fine pigment powder for stamping means you can take your time to prep the stamp. 

Get a tutorial here

4. Color Theory

Using pigments and gel-polish to create the right shade for your client’s complexion can boost her skin’s vibrancy. She’ll love you for it! 

Get a tutorial here.

5. Acrylics 

Add a dash of glitter pigments to your favorite polymer for an easy-to-do granite-inspired design. 

Get a tutorial here.

6. Handpainted Nail Art 

You can always charge more for nail art, especially if it’s done by hand. From an easy ombre to a detailed negative space design, pressed pigments allow you to get creative with a dry medium. 

Get a tutorial here.