12 Reasons Why Nail Polish Turns Black (Answered)

There’s not much worse than damaging a brand-new manicure but what to do when your nails become stained? Don’t worry, we have you covered. This article will go over the 12 reasons why nail polish turns black, how to fix it, and ways you can prevent the color change in the future. 

why does my nail polish turn black

Nail polish turns black for several reasons, including under or over-curing, contact with chemicals, infections, exposure to cigarette smoke, skin care products, inferior nail products, and cooking with certain spices. 

12 Reasons Why Nail Polish Turns Black 

Having your nail polish turn black after a manicure is unpleasant, and you’re likely wondering what happened.

Unfortunately, various circumstances could have occurred to change the color of your nails. Without further ado, here are the 12 reasons why nail polish turns black. 

1. Incorrect Curing Length  

Curing is the process after a gel manicure to solidify your nails. If the curing lasts too short or long, your nail polish turns black. 

Unfortunately, an inexperienced nail technician may make a mistake and damage your nails. In general, nails should cure for 30 seconds after application. 

2. Contact with Chemicals 

If you’ve recently gotten your nails done, you want to avoid contact with any cleaning agents with harsh chemicals. 

The chemicals can cause your nail polish to change color, especially if you have gel nails. Ensure you wear cleaning gloves to keep your nails protected. 

3. Inferior Nail Products 

While saving money is always a plus, you’ll likely be able to tell the difference regarding your nail polish. 

Cheaper nail polishes aren’t always the best quality and therefore are more likely to turn nail polish black. 

In addition, you are more likely to chip your nail color, and you’ll probably need a new manicure sooner rather than later. 

4. Skin Care Products  

Products like make-up, sunscreen, and acne treatment can turn your nail polish black. While sunscreen is vital, especially on sunny days, you want to be mindful of how you apply it to your skin. 

In addition, make-up can cause spotted discoloration if it comes into contact with your nails. 

5. Cooking with Spices 

Several ingredients can cause discoloration of your nails. Turmeric, tamarind juice, and ghee can all cause your nail polish to turn black or brown. 

So, if you’ve recently been cooking your favorite dishes, you probably have found the reason behind your discolored nails. 

6. Exposure to Cigarette Smoke 

Holding a cigarette or cigar can cause damage to your nail color. If you are a smoker, you’ll probably notice your dominant hand is more prone to change color. 

Nicotine and tar can cause your nails to change color and stain your fingers—another reason to kick the habit. 

7. Infections Around Your Nails 

Any fungus around your nails can cause discoloration, ruining a good manicure. Unfortunately, you can severely damage your nails if you don’t immediately treat an infection. 

Infections can also alter your nail thickness and cause rough edges. 

8. Self-Tanners 

Self-tanners change the color of your skin, but they can also change the color of your nails if you aren’t careful. 

For example, if applying the tanner, ensure you wear gloves, although it doesn’t guarantee the solution won’t seep through. 

Instead, it would help if you avoided self-tanners spraying your body, as it will be challenging to protect your nails. 

9. Exposure to Sunlight 

Excessive exposure to sunlight can damage your nails, causing them to turn black. The best thing you can do after a manicure is to cover your hands as much as possible if you are going to be out in the sun. 

While you probably don’t want to wear gloves on a hot summer day, keeping them protected can help preserve the life of your manicure. 

10. Contact With Hair Dye 

If you’ve recently colored your hair, the culprit behind your black nails is likely your dye. Even if you wore gloves while applying the color, it can still make its way in and discolor your nails. 

Also, remember not to run your fingers through your hair after a dye job, as the color can still transfer onto your nail. 

11. Dark Colored Jeans 

Your dark-colored jeans could be the reason your nail polish turns black. Unfortunately, jeans can easily stain surfaces, and that includes nails. 

If you have a new pair of jeans, ensure you leave them on the shelf until your nail color has time to settle. 

12. Medical Conditions 

While it’s not extremely common, your nail polish can turn black because of a medical condition. 

Certain conditions like diabetes, liver infections, and thyroid disorders can cause discoloration in your nails. If you are concerned about a medical condition, always consult your doctor. 

How To Remove Black Stains From Nail Polish 

How To Remove Black Stains From Nail Polish 

There is hope if your nail polish, or your nails, for that matter, have turned black.

Here are a few remedies to bring life back to your nails:

Apply a baking soda and lemon mixture to your nails

Add one tablespoon of baking soda and the juice from one lemon into a bowl. Soak your fingers for 15 minutes, and then rinse off the mixture. 

Spray hairspray onto your fingernails

To start, spray your nails with hairspray until they are wet, and gently scrub the stained areas. Afterward, ensure you wash your hands with soap and water. 

Soak your nails in tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is plant-based and can help significantly with nail discoloration. To receive full benefits, add two tablespoons of the oil to warm water and soak your nails for 10 minutes. 

Use nail polish remover

If used in small doses, you can successfully remove the black stains without removing the nail polish color. You want to use a nose swab to ensure you only remove the intended areas. 

Grab a bottle of shaving cream

Hydrogen peroxide is an active ingredient in shaving cream and will serve as a bleaching agent on your stained nails.

You want to put a small amount on a cotton ball and gently rub the damaged area. 

Remove the nail polish

While you may not want to get rid of your manicure, cleaning the nail polish will help give your nails some air.

You can now start over, but remember why your nail polish turned black and avoid doing those activities. 

How To Prevent Nail Polish From Turning Black 

How To Prevent Nail Polish From Turning Black 

Prevention is key when keeping your nail polish from turning black. Here are a few simple ways to keep your manicure looking fresh and beautiful for days to come. 

Visit a Reputable Salon 

A professional knows how much UV light to use on newly painted nails, so it’s vital to visit a reputable salon when getting a manicure. 

A trained technician will know the appropriate length for curing and advise on making your nail polish last longer. 

Keep the Curing Process to a Minimum

One of the most critical parts of getting a manicure is ensuring the curing process stays at the recommended length. 

Under and over-curing your nails isn’t suitable for the process and can cause permanent damage. 

Apply a Top Coat to Your Nails 

After applying your nail polish, ensure you finish with a top coat. 

A quality top coat can be a barrier between your nail polish and outside elements. For a long-lasting manicure, find a chip-resisting top coat. 

Keep Your Hands Protected

Always wear gloves if you are handling any harsh chemicals, like cleaning solutions. Also, ensure you carefully open detergent or make-up bottles to prevent spills on your hands. 

In addition, choose fragrance-free lotions, as the chemicals added can stain your nails. 

Disinfect Manicure Tools 

To prevent infections, ensure you regularly disinfect your nail tools before use. Nail files and other products can hold on to bacteria and dirt, which you want to keep away from your nails and cuticles. 

Practice cleaning your tools immediately after use and storing them in a safe and secure place. 

Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQs)

What causes toenail discoloration?

A toenail discoloration can be as simple as leaving your nail polish on too long. While we all want our nails to look their best as long as possible, removing color is vital after a certain amount of time. 

What does a black streak mean on my nails?

Sometimes we get black marks on our nails if we jam it, but other times it can mean something else. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, black streaks can signify, although rare, a type of skin cancer. So it’s always best to contact your dermatologist with any concerns.

Why is my nail polish bubbling?

Nail polish can bubble for several reasons, including using old nail polish, applying too much, and not waiting long enough between coats. In addition, an excessive amount of oil and moisture on your hands can cause bubbling.