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15 Best Color Changing Gel Nail Polish

Deep down we’re all wishing for a little magic in our lives and color-changing gel nail polish delivers. If you’re not into gel polish, there are tons of non-gel color changing nail polish.

If you’re curious about how color-changing polish works, check out the bottom of the article where I nerd out about the science–but for now, let’s get straight to the polish.

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What Is Thermochromatic Nail Polish?

This nail polish is often called mood nail polish since thermochromatic ink first hit the scene in the 1970's and was famously used in mood rings.

If the science of this kind of thing doesn't intrigue you, go ahead and skip right down to the best color changing gel nail polish, but if you've ever wondered how it works, I'm going to break it down for you.

Thermochromatic nail polish contains two dyes--one is a normal nail polish pigment and the other is a leuco dye. Leuco dyes are usually transparent at warmer temperatures and opaque when cold, appearing either on top of or mixing with the regular polish pigment.

This all works because within the nail polish there are leuco dyes, a weak organic acid (nothing that would hurt your nail), and a solvent.

The solvent is in charge and is either a solid in cold temperatures or a liquid when warm. When the solvent is a solid, it holds the acid and the dye close together and the color is visible, but when the solvent melts, the acid and dye are able to flow away from each other and the dye becomes transparent. Neat, right?

How Does Duo-Chrome Work?

Duo-chrome nail polish looks like one color from one angle and a completely different color from a different angle. It's also called multi-chrome and chameleon polish. It works by having reflective pigments set at different angles and depths within a layer of polish so light reflects one color when the light hits it one way and a second color from other angles.