The Ultimate Guide to Temperature Changing Nail Polish


Have you ever tried temperature-changing nail polish?

For regular gals, collecting different colored tubs of nail polish, trying out creative nail designs, and accessorizing with sparkles and diamonds are already the heights of nail art fun. But did you know that you can get nail polish that will change colors?

What is temperature changing nail polish?

As the name implies, temperature changing nail polish, also called thermal polishes, change color depending on a change of temperature. The normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees but our extremities, like our toes, fingers, and ears are cooler. Remember how these parts of our bodies get cold more easily?

When our body temperature changes or this nail polish is exposed to a different temperature, it undergoes a chemical change and the colors subsequently become different.


Because of this unique trait, some people playfully call this mood color changing nail polish. It’s really quite fun. Imagine your nail polish changing colors spontaneously.

Here’s are some common occasions when temperature changing nail polish will change colors:

  • running your hands under warm or cold water
  • holding an ice-cold drink
  • holding a hot cup of coffee
  • playing with snow
  • drying your hands under a hand dryer
  • taking food out of the freezer
  • cooking or baking

So, if you’re holding a snowball in your hand, your nails will change color. However, once you drop your snowball and your hand temperature goes back to normal, your nail color will go back to their original color too.

Can you imagine other people witnessing this neat little trick? If you’re with friends, they’re instant conversation starters. Strangers will also be chatting you up easily.

Watch it in action

If you are still having a hard time imagining how it works, check out this video. You can see how the colors change back and forth as the nails are dipped into both hot and cold saucers of water.


How does it work?

How does this type of nail polish changes color? Obviously not Hermione Granger magic but simply chemical magic.

Temperature changing nail polish are thermochromic, meaning they change color with the temperature. This technology is applied to other things too like shirts and mugs.

The main component that delivers the color change are leuco dyes. Leuco dyes consist of microcapsules so small that your naked eye can’t see them. Imagine one thousandth of a millimeter!

Inside these microcapsules are three important chemicals:

  • Dye – a colored chemical that can do a reversible reaction; attaches to H+ ion
  • Weak acid – a colorless chemical that can do a reversible reaction; attaches to H+ ion
  • Solvent – has a melting point around the temperature when you want the color to change

Now there isn’t enough H+ ion to go around so both dye and weak acid are fighting over who gets the H+ ion. To come up with a metaphor, think of two men fighting over one woman. (Nice!)

The solvent controls the situation. When the solvent is cold, the H+ prefers to stick to the weak acid (colored) and when the solvent is liquid (warm), the H+ will stick to the dye (colorless).

When warm or hot, because the dye is actually colorless, what you see is the real nail polish color — the original color. When cool, the leuco dye mixes with the regular pigment thus creating the color change. Again, it’s all a matter of chemical reaction.

How to apply

There’s no special way to apply thermal polish to make it work. All you need is a temperature change to see the change.

Apply as you would normal nail polish:

  1. Apply two coats to your nails.
  2. Use a topcoat to make it glossy and durable.

Where to buy

If you want to buy color changing nail polish, you can order from most nail polish stores, drugstores, and big outlet stores like Walmart. You can also buy it online from eBay or Amazon.

Top 6 Color Changing Nail Polish from Amazon

6 Kleancolor Nail Polish HOLO set (Lot of 6)


5 Chameleon Temperature Changing Color Nail Lacquers


4 Aimeili Soak Off UV LED Temperature Color Changing Chameleon Gel Nail Polish


3 Shade Shifter Multichrome Nail Polish


2 Best Temperature Color Changing UV Soak Off Gel Nail Polish


1 LECHAT Perfect Match Mood Gel Polish


This is one of the most popular and highly rated color changing nail polishes in Amazon. Check out how they look in realsies. Don’t they look great?!


How to make mood changing nail polish

Mood-changing nail polish is a lot of fun. It depends on the manufacturer, but a common example is that nail color turns blue when you’re happy and red when you’re sad or angry. As you know by now, the nail polish is not reacting to your mood, rather to your body temperature. The relationship though is that body temperature changes as we cycle through different moods all throughout the day.

You can easily buy thermal polish from beauty bars or the drugstore (depending on your country). But, guess what? You can also make mood changing nail polish!

Watch this video to learn how:



You will need:

  • leuco dye or color changing ink
  • clear or colorless nail polish
  • funnel


  1. Order the color changing ink or leuco dye

This is the most challenging part. You can get this ingredient from Matsui, or your local craft shop.

2. Pour out a small amount of the dye

Approximately 1/8 of a teaspoon is sufficient. If you’re using a new bottle of clear nail polish, take out some from the bottle so it won’t overflow. Add the dye to the nail polish bottle using a funnel to avoid spillage.

3. Mix

Using the nail polish brush, mix the dye and the clear nail polish. Or, close the bottle tightly and give it a shake until thoroughly blended.

4. Customize

Add more ink or dye until you have the color you want. To avoid mistakes, add only a little at a time so you can control the colors.

It’s as easy as that! Now it’s time to try your brand new color changing nail polish.