9 Best Liquid Latex for Nails: Your Buyer’s Guide (2018)

liquid latex for nails

I absolutely didn’t think I needed liquid latex for nails. When I was first getting into nail art, I was on a budget and figured I’d just use nail polish remover. It couldn’t be that much of a hassle to clean up my nail art.

I was incredibly wrong. The first time I tried to clean up a sponge-on gradient with nail polish remover, I about gave up nail art. It took forever, it smudged my nail art, and did I mention it took forever?

That day I ordered my first liquid latex for nails and I am never going back.

How does it work?

Liquid nail barrier tapes work by covering up the parts of your finger that you don’t want nail polish on. You paint the barrier liquid all around your nails and underneath your finger tip (depending on how messy your nail art technique is) and then, once it’s dry, do your nail art magic.

After you’ve applied your polish, you pull off the barrier tape before the polish is dry and you suddenly have pristine fingers. If you wait until the polish has dried to remove your tape, you’re going to have ragged, uneven edges.

This kind of protection works for any messes related to nail stamping, water marbling, dry marbling, gradient sponging, glitter sponging, nail chrome powder, and even just applying nail polish to make slips a breeze to clean up which can be especially nice for younger kids who want to paint their own nails.

(If you’re hooked on nail art hacks, DIY & Crafts has a great list of easy hacks with stuff probably already in your home.)

Manicure saving nail tape tips from personal experience.

Do not, under any circumstances apply liquid nail barrier to all of your fingers at once unless someone else is doing your nails. They will stick to each other, get pulled off prematurely, and smudge your polish.

Don’t wait to have all your nails done before pulling up the tape. Apply your messy layer of polish or stamping to one finger and remove the barrier right way before moving on.

Can’t you just buy bulk liquid latex?

Sure, you can pick up a big jug of latex but liquid latex has a shelf-life of one to two years. So you can buy in bulk and have to throw a ton of unused latex away or buy a convenient little bottle with ready applicator brush.

What Are the Best Liquid Latex for Nails Options?

Pink liquid latex nail barrier bottle with box and orange sticks Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Color indicator
  • Long-lasting
  • Good peel
Price: $11.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
White bottle of nail latex with red kiss logo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Glitter shows when it's dry
  • Easy to work with
  • Trusted brand
Price: $12.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Green bottle of latex free barrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No latex
  • Less smell
  • Affordable
Price: $8.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Bottle of pink sparkle & co nail latex with rainbow glitter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • There's rainbow glitter
  • Good peel
  • Nice brush
Price: $12.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Four pastel nail latex guard bottles Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Cheap
  • Color indicator
  • Many colors to choose from
Price: $3.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Bottle of clear unt peel off base coat with black cap Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Also a peel off base coat
  • No latex
  • No strong smell
Price: $14.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pink bottle of pueen nail latex with box and orange stick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to work with
  • Color indicator
  • Known brand
Price: $8.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
5 sets of brightly colored nail tape Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No wait time
  • No latex
  • No bad smell
Price: $11.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Photo of six bottles of white nail latex on purjoi logo background Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Smell isn't as strong
  • Color indicator
  • Good peel
Price: $9.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. Second Skin by Magique

    Pros:
    • Great consistancy
    • Color indicates when dry
    • Not too strong smelling
    • Easy to apply
    • Comes off in one peice
    Cons:
    • Doesn’t smell great
    • Not for those with latex allergies
    • Can get gritty over time

    Second Skin is my personal liquid nail tape of choice at the moment. I find it has a good medium formula–not so thin that it drips and runs everywhere but not so thick that it’s hard to spread onto your fingers.

    It goes on light baby pink and dries to a dark fuchsia so it’s easy to tell when you’re ready to go. It’s a latex base and while it isn’t sticky when dry, it will stick to itself so don’t try to do too many fingers at once and try to keep your fingers spread out away from each other.

    Second Skin always comes off in one piece for me and I’ve never had issues with tearing or flaking. It would probably be even easier to remove if I used tweezers, but I tend to use orange sticks–and this bottle comes with two of them.

    As far as smell, it’s latex. It’s never going to smell great. That said, Second Skin isn’t that bad.

    It says it’s rose infused. I didn’t get any of that. But I’ve also worked with straight liquid latex and this one isn’t nearly as strong smelling.

    I’ve had mine for over a year and while it’s the tiniest bit gritty (my fault for letting it get too cold) it’s still working great.

  2. Simply Peel by Bliss Kiss

    Pros:
    • Glitter!
    • Great consistency
    • Color indicates when dry
    • Comes off in one peice
    Cons:
    • Does not smell great
    • Not for people with latex allergies
    • Needs a good shaking before use

    Simply Peel is one of the most popular liquid nail barriers on the market, possibly because of how you can tell when the barrier is dry: glitter.

    There is actual holographic glitter mixed into the creamy white base of Simply Peel and when the base dries clear, the sparkles are revealed and it’s time to polish.

    That’s charming and fun but the best part is that it’s a great product in general. It has a nice formula that’s easy to use and pulls off well in one piece with only one coat.

    Like all barriers, it will stick to itself when dry so keep your fingers spread out. It doesn’t smell good, but that’s all latex.

    My only issue with this one is that it has a tendency to thicken up over time and gunk up the applicator brush. Latex doesn’t have a long lifespan to begin with but thick, chunky barrier tape is a pain to deal with.

  3. Mani Mask by Maniology

    Pros:
    • Safe for people with latex allergies
    • No nasty smell
    • Color indicates when dry
    • Cheaper
    • Not as susceptible to thickening with temperature changes
    Cons:
    • May need two coats
    • Not as easy to peel off
    • Not as easy to work with

    For those with latex allergies, Maniology (formally Bundle Monster) created their latex-free Mani Mask. It works just like the other latex nail barriers but skips the latex.

    This also means that it skips the strong, nasty latex smell so if you’re very sensitive to smells, you may want to go with a latex-free one like this.

    It goes on much thinner than the products above and depending on how thin or thick you apply it, you may want to give it two coats to make sure it all comes off easy and in one piece.

    Mani Mask goes on greenish and dries translucent green. Not the most appealing color but hey if it works. And it does work, just not quite as well as a latex barrier.

    This barrier is more prone to breaking up or adhering to your skin compared to latex tapes, but it does get the job done.

    If you’re a fan of the Bundle Monster brand, they also make Poli-Peel, a latex-based cuticle barrier.

  4. Unicorn Confetti by Sparkle & Co

    Pros:
    • Glowing rainbow glitter!
    • Color indicates when dry
    • Peels off in one peice
    Cons:
    • Nasty latex smell
    • Not for people with latex allergies
    • Needs a good shake before use

    So functionality is great and all and yes, we want the cuticle barrier to work but–glitter.

    Unicorn Confetti is an adorable pastel pink latex-based barrier with matte rainbow glitter. It goes on creamy pink but dries clear to reveal all these great circular confetti pieces.

    This is particularly awesome if you do gel nails because the confetti glows under LED light so when you cure your polish, the glitter lights up which is too fun.

    For a barrier that has a gimmick, Unicorn Confetti peels wonderfully in once piece with no trouble at all.

    This is on the top of my wish list of nail barriers to try.

  5. Cuticle Guard by Born Pretty

    Pros:
    • Trusted nail art brand
    • Color indicates when dry
    • Affordable
    • Lots of colors to choose from
    Cons:
    • Shipping can be slow
    • Bottles are smaller
    • Nasty latex smell
    • Not for people with latex allergies

    Born Pretty is known for their nail stamping products and they make a great, cheap nail barrier option for those of us on a budget.

    It’s a smaller bottle at six milliliters but for the price it’s not bad considering it will still last you a long while and latex doesn’t have a super long shelf-life anyway.

    This barrier has a nice consistency that doesn’t go on too thin. It goes on bright and dries to a slightly duller color.

    Plus, it comes in seven fun colors: purple, clear, yellow, green, orange, pink, and peach.

    You can also buy the seven color set which brings the price down to $2.57 per bottle instead of $3.99.

  6. Ready For Takeoff by Unt

    Pros:
    • Multi-tasks as nail barrier and peel off base coat
    • No nasty smell
    • Latex free
    Cons:
    • Takes a long time to dry
    • No color indicator for when it’s dry
    • Doesn’t always come off in one piece

    If you’d really rather not pick up a whole new product just to protect your cuticles from the mess of your water marbling, you do have the option of using your favorite peel off base coat. Ready For Takeoff from Unt is the top choice for peel off base coats.

    Ready For Takeoff is a clear barrier that you can use under your nail polish or around your cuticles. It goes on thinly, but the formula isn’t so liquidy that it’s hard to apply.

    It’s not latex-based or glue-based and uses an odorless water-soluable polymer to form the barrier.

    It goes on clear and it dries clear so you really have to touch it to tell if it’s dry. And it dries slowly.

    I just timed my Ready For Takeoff as a cuticle barrier and it took almost seven minutes. It’s certainly much slower than the other barriers to dry but if you don’t often need nail tape, this is a good multi-tasker.

  7. Mess Free Nails Latex Tape by Pueen

    Pros:
    • Great consistency
    • Color indicates when dry
    • Comes with nail tool
    Cons:
    • Nasty latex smell
    • Doesn’t always come off in one piece
    • Not for people with latex allergies

    Pueen is another trusted brand in nail art and their latex nail barrier has that perfect in the middle formula that is not too thick and not too thin. It goes on pink and dries to a dark pink so it’s easy to tell when it’s ready.

    It’s latex so it’s going to have that nasty latex smell. Nothing to be done. But it’s easy to work with dries fairly quickly.

    You want to make sure you’re applying a nice thick but not goopy layer. If it’s too thin, Mess Free Nails is prone to tearing and leaving little bits of latex behind but that can be prevented with solid application.

  8. Latex-Free Cuticle Protecting Adhesive Nail Tape by Bundle Monster

    Pros:
    • Safe for people with latex allergies
    • No nasty smell
    • No need to wait for it to dry
    • No spills
    Cons:
    • Finicky to put on
    • Good for five manicures, not a year’s worth like with liquid latex
    • Not as customizable to nail shape

    Okay, it’s not liquid but I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that there are some non-liquid cuticle barrier options out there.

    They’re less mess, can’t be tipped or spilled, and these have the benefit of being latex-free so there’s no nasty smell.

    Because of their thin and clingy nature, they can be a little tricky to get on and a good pair of tweezers goes a long way to getting these where you want them.

    This set comes with five sheets of ten guards, in five different colors.

  9. Peel Away Liquid Nail Tape by Purjoi Nail Studio

    Pros:
    • No ammonia
    • Color indicates when dry
    • Apple scented which is a little dubious
    Cons:
    • Still latex-y but doesn’t smell as bad
    • Shorter shelf-life
    • Not for people with latex allergies

    This latex-based cuticle barrier is interesting because its ingredients don’t include the ammonia, the chemical typically added that helps give latex its nasty smell. Without the ammonia, this nail tape still doesn’t smell fantastic but it’s a huge step up from other latex tapes.

    It instead contains apple fragrance so you’re trading gross fishy smells for a vague latex-y fruity scent. I’ll take it.

    Peel Away goes on opaque white and dries completely clear making it easy to tell when it’s ready. It has a nice constancy and peels off well.

    Ammonia is added to most liquid latex products because it’s a preservative, so without it this nail tape may have a shorter shelf-life than others.

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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