I Tried Glow-In-The-Dark Nail Polish and This is What Happened

A few weeks ago, I spotted on social media that Sally Hansen released a new collection of glow-in-the-dark Insta-Dri nail colors. They launched four colors this September in the spirit of Halloween, aka spooky szn, for a little over $4 a piece. The colors are Boooo-tiful (a warm pumpkin orange,) Hallo-green (a dark green,) Glowing Night (a pale pink,) and Happy Hollow-een (a light yellow.) I was skeptical about whether these would really work, so I stalked the aisles of the University Town Center Target until I found one and tested it out. 

My bottle of polish soaking up the afternoon sun so she can be nice and spooky at night. 

My color, Happy Hollow-een, looks like a lime-yellow color that isn't quite opaque. It's pretty much what you'd expect to see if glow-in-the-dark material was turned into a nail polish. Surprisingly, the polish applied almost completely clear. The little powder particles in the color gave it a slightly rough, matte texture.

Here’s what my hand looked like once I put the polish over a white base. Please excuse the shaky application, I was just so spooked by the Halloween spirit appearing on my nails.

I made the mistake of applying this without a base color and that made my nails look like it had a weird yellow-ish film over it, so I would not recommend using this on its own. But I later fixed it by popping it on over a white base. This made the color of the glow-in-the-dark polish almost disappear. At first glance, you wouldn’t even be able to tell that I’m wearing a special color over the white. I went to bed thinking "There's no way this is going to work," but I turned my dorm lights out and saw that I underestimated the power of Sally Hansen. 

Here are my digits glowing in void. And yes, my watch’s hands are also glow-in-the-dark. And so are stickers all over my possessions and walls. Do I have a glow-in-the-dark obsession? Perhaps. 

These nails were brighter than I expected. I couldn’t capture it well on my iPhone camera, but just imagine you’re in pitch black darkness and see ten little disembodied fluorescent blobs floating in front of you, because that’s exactly what I saw that night. 

My final verdict: Though I was slightly shook by the glowing power of this polish, it wasn’t as bright as I wanted it to be. I’d say that you should try it out if you’re looking for a fun, cheap way to get in the mood for spooky szn. But if you’re looking for a really strong glow on those fingertips, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.  


All photos are courtesy of the author, Reiko Inoue.