Have you ever heard of cornstarch nails?
This is a homespun idea where you basically make your own matte nail color and apply it so it’s a bit thick and protective of the nail.
The results probably won’t surprise you, but we believe that when the ingredients are as cheap as this, you won’t lose much of anything but time.
Do this when you have nothing else to do and you want something fun to do with friends at home.
How Long Do Cornstarch Nails Last?
Cornstarch nails will only last about a max of 3 weeks.
They are not meant to be a long-lasting, easy, or even good-looking option.
They are mostly used as a temporary fix because they can be more natural-looking than acrylic or dip powder.
How Do You Make A Cornstarch Nail Mixture?
Below, you’ll find a simple cornstarch mixture recipe with supplies that you can pick up from the drugstore or better yet, the dollar store.
Supplies for Cornstarch Nail Simple Recipe
- Nail polish color of your choice
- Painter’s tape (NOT duct tape because you’ll never get it off and it will destroy what you are trying to do. Use painter’s tape only.)
- Q-Tips that have a pointed end
- Nail Scissors
- Paper plate
- Something for mixing
Steps For The Simple Corn Starch Nail Recipe:
- Start by cleaning the nail, make sure it has no oil polish, even old clear polish is not good to have on the nail. Use nail polish remover, and remove nail polish, dust, dirt, and natural oils from the nail.
- File and buff the nail if you have a buffer. If you don’t, no worries; it’s not required.
- Clip away any little hangnails and clip nails if they are too long or ragged on the edges.
- Paint the first coat of base on the nails. Let them dry thoroughly for 15 minutes or more depending on how humid it is. By the way, the humidity factor is important for cornstarch nails. Cornstarch, like any powder or starch, will clump and may not dry once wet in high humidity. You may have to use a blow dryer.
- Pour the nail polish onto the paper plate. A disposable plastic plate would be better, come to think of it. Pour only a small amount at a time.
- Mix one part polish and one part cornstarch. You can add to it, but you can’t remove any once it’s in the nail polish, so start with one part each.
- Mix the cornstarch into the nail polish until you don’t see any more whitish-yellow of the cornstarch. If it’s being absorbed too much, then add more polish one part at a time.
- Use it before it dries and paint a coat of cornstarch color on the nails.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, cut the painter’s tape into quarter-inch strips and place across each dried nail in a straight across or diagonal shape and paint one half of the nail another color. Why not? You have nothing to lose!
- Once the paint has dried enough, paint the first of two to three topcoats. We do have one word of warning on this. Make them very thin coats, not so thin that the paint drags off the nail with the cornstarch, but not so thick that it dries and gets so gummy, it peels away. You may need some practice for this.
There you have it: Cornstarch nails.
If you’re looking at something that looks like you painted a stone wall or wet sand, well, you’ve got it.
No, there’s no accident.
It’s that bad.
However, if you play with it, you might actually make a nice textured design.
It’s really only bad if you were looking for a smooth finish.
Can You Do Acrylic Nails With Cornstarch?
Yes, you can, but it isn’t a replacement for acrylic or dip powder.
The one reason people get acrylics is so that they have a strong, long-lasting nail.
Cornstarch will not do that for you.
If you can’t get out to the nail salon to fill your nails and you don’t want to look weird or start ripping off your nails yourself, then a cornstarch filler may be the answer for about a week, but there’s a surefire guarantee that, unless you are sitting on the couch all day and touching nothing, they’ll break or melt.
How To Take Care Of Cornstarch Nails
If you were lucky enough to get cornstarch nails or cornstarch nail fill to work, you’ll want to make them last a long time.
We won’t guarantee how long they will last, but this is the way to keep them going as long as at all possible.
The reason there are no guarantees is that it depends on each individual and their skill, products, and practice creating cornstarch nails.
- Make sure you are keeping your hands clean and dry most of the time.
- Do your cleaning with gloves.
- Do anything that involves using your hands with gloves.
- Don’t use any detergents on your hands or skin and watch the soap you use.
- Check the cornstarch and if you need to re-apply the topcoat, it may help to keep the cornstarch stuck on better.
If you really want to continue to use cornstarch nails for a longer time, and you aren’t using cornstarch to avoid chemicals, you can do this.
Mix a decoupage mixture, such as Elmer’s glue clear dry (NOT the white), in with the cornstarch.
A chemical is a chemical, and the glue is not as harsh as the powder and glue and xylene that can be included in the acrylic or gel.
In fact, you can use vegetable glue as well if you really want to steer clear of chemicals.
The only warning here is that you need to use it in thin coats and let it dry in between coats before you apply a topcoat.
The glue will make the mix pliable, and you can kind of form it the way you want on the nail.
Then, when it hardens, you can file and buff the cornstarch covering or the nail fill better because of the way the glue hardens.
Still, don’t look for a totally smooth finish. That may be impossible with cornstarch because of the texture.
That won’t change.
How Do I Fill My Acrylics With Cornstarch?
This is the simplest way to use cornstarch.
It’s actually more complicated when you use it with your natural nails.
There’s no shape or extension to the nail when it’s natural.
With acrylic nail tips, you have a delicate shape to follow.
Also, there are some tips to make the most of that texture on an acrylic nail that isn’t too short.
First, just clean the nail as you would normally, or as you remember the technician cleaning the nail, and dry well.
Glue the nail on the natural nail as usual and cut to the length you want, or leave it as is.
Now, put a thin coat of base on the natural nail and the nail tip.
Mix the cornstarch as we directed in the earlier steps.
You could put the nail polish on afterward if you feel you want to shape the nail or file and buff them afterward if you use the glue option.
If you don’t, the cornstarch won’t be hard enough to shape well.
Here, make sure you are putting the cornstarch on in layers.
- Brush on the clear nail polish. Let dry.
- Brush on a thin layer of cornstarch. Let dry.
- Repeat the two steps several times until you reach the desired thickness.
Make sure you are not making them too thick because you risk cracking prematurely because the thickness is making them crumble.
Design Ideas For Cornstarch Nails
There is a way you can leverage the thickness, natural composition, and texture of cornstarch nails.
As we mentioned before, they are a waste of time, energy, and money unless you need emergency fills for your acrylics or you have a one-time event and need to do something temporary.
However, if your nail tips are at least a quarter-inch past the tips of your fingers, you’ll be able to create some embedded or embossed designs with the cornstarch before they dry all the way.
For this, you want to follow the method outlined in the first set of instructions and don’t use the glue method because you need to keep the cornstarch pliable.
Once the first thin layer of cornstarch is applied, wait until that layer dries completely.
Now, place another layer that is slightly thicker and start designing using some methods below.
Since the cornstarch is a texture, think about applying things like pieces of lace or some rhinestones and bling—just nothing expensive, please, because there is always a chance they will fall away from the nail.
This is for fun and fashion, done in a cheap yet effective way.
While the cornstarch is still pliable on the second coat, place the object on the cornstarch and press in gently.
Regardless of what it is, press it in and allow it to set.
Then, cover it with a layer of clear polish that is slightly thick.
After five or ten minutes of air drying, use a blow dryer to set it and wait until it’s dry completely.
Cornstarch may take several hours to dry completely through where crumbling won’t happen.
Another design thing you can do is to use the painter’s tape to paint the cornstarch different colors in a pattern.
Set in some of the bling or lace or any material on one half of the nail that is divided by the tape.
Cornstarch Is A Food, So Does It Go Bad On Your Nail?
It doesn’t go bad, but it can be a breeding ground for mold and fungus.
By nature, cornstarch is a replacement for talc, which has been linked with certain types of cancer.
People have been using cornstarch for its powerful moisture absorbing ability.
The only issue with that is anything that absorbs moisture is going to breed mold and fungus.
In saying that, cornstarch nails and fills don’t last very long, so it may not have enough time to develop mold or fungus.
However, if you get to liking this method and use it a lot, you may notice signs of fungus developing.
This can show up as dark or light spots on the nail.
You can see yellowing or off-white colors.
It may look like a shadow under the nail.
These are all warning signs that are telling you to give your nails a break from acrylics or any type of nail treatments for a few weeks or longer.
You must treat fungus as soon as you notice it.
Letting it go or trying to smother it with clear nail polish or glue will not work.
In fact, it will make it worse.
Fungus will grow deep into the recesses of your skin and nails.
It may look one way, maybe innocent on the surface, and already be on its way inside the skin.
This is an issue you may have to get treated professionally.
Avoid that by letting your nails breathe.