As a nail blogger, I’ve seen tons of tutorials where the nail artist uses a liquid she paints around her nails before she water marbles, does a smooshie manicure, or any messy nail stamping requiring lots of cleanup. The liquid is a latex type product and dries into a solid mass she can peel right off and get rid of the polish mess leaving her nails with an almost finished look – with very little cleanup needed. It’s like magic. For anyone who has ever attempted a water marble, you know how long cleanup can take if you don’t mask off your nails beforehand. Even the process of taping up your fingers can be very time consuming and leave you feeling like you can’t bend your nails or pick up a bottle of polish. So – of course as soon as I found a link to buy some of this magic pink liquid, I clicked on it with intent to buy. And then I saw the price and I stopped dead in my tracks. Are you kidding me? They charge THAT much for the tiny little mascara-sized bottle of sparkly pink liquid latex? No way. My inner cheapskate would not allow me to proceed.
So I told my husband about it and even showed him a few videos. I even bemoaned the fact that I could never do a water marble again without this stuff – and that it was simply too expensive and I wasn’t going to buy it. What did he do? He researched liquid latex himself and surprised me on Christmas with this little bottle of latex from Graftobian. Along with three empty nail polish bottles. I was skeptical, but excited.
A week or so later I had my first opportunity to use the latex. The bottle I have is the two ounce clear one. (Graftobian offeres a variety of liquid latex colors too.) The directions on back say nothing about nail art. They warn to keep out of eyes, mouth, hair, clothing and to never use on lace. Here’s what their website has to say about it:
Our clear liquid latex formula is white when wet and crystal clear when dried. It’s good for everything from adhering lightweight facial applications to the creation of scars, blisters, and wrinkled skin, to coating appliance and wax edges or surfaces prior to applying make-up.You won’t find another high quality liquid latex like this one. This quantity is obviously for the latex appliance makers out there. This latex is tremendous for making latex pieces.
Gross. Obviously this stuff is intended to be used with stage makeup – in fact, the website is peppered with tutorials on how to use this liquid latex so you look like a member of the Walking Dead zombie cast.
I also checked the safety of this product on their website. Here’s what they had to say:
Graftobian takes pride in the fact that we manufacture our products here in the United States. In these times of uncertainty regarding certain foreign products and their ingredients, you can rest assured that Graftobian Makeup Company produces Safe, Professional cosmetics which comply with the U.S. FDA regulations for ingredients and labeling. The FDA works tirelessly to test and categorize various cosmetic ingredients as safe. When the FDA rules that an ingredient is to be “delisted” that is the law as far as Graftobian is concerned. Our product ingredients are top quality, cosmetic grade, FDA approved ingredients – ONLY! Our cosmetics do not contain Lead, are fragrance free and formaldehyde free! Our cosmetics are not tested on animals, other than humans of course. 😉
Okay! This sounds like a high quality American product, I thought to myself – let’s see if it actually works. So I opened up the bottle and got a whiff of the stuff and about gagged. It smells awful! Like I’m in a rubber balloon making factory. After a few remarks on the smell to my husband who was nearby, I forged ahead, pushing the open bottle as far away from me as possible so as to not have to breathe the vile stuff any more than possible. I grabbed a small brush from my collection and dabbed it right into the bottle and started painting around my cuticles, just like I’d seen a hundred other times on countless Youtube and Instagram videos.
You know what – it worked! It went on easy and was mess free. I was pretty impressed at how fast it dried too. Within two minutes all of my work was dry and I was ready to proceed. I could tell it was dry because as mentioned in the description it does dry crystal clear. And the stink went away when it dried which was a relief. I absolutely did not need more than one coat – but one certainly could add more if they thought it was necessary. I proceeded thru my manicure and when I went to peel off the latex – BOOM! – it came off cleanly all in one piece leaving my nail in almost perfect condition with next to no cleanup needed!! I was instantly in love. Considering the price difference I can deal with the smell. This stuff is absolutely, undeniably a fantastic alternative for the expensive stuff out there. It might even be better. And I’ve used it countless time since with the same results. I truly love this stuff.
The popular liquid tape runs anywhere from $12-$22 for about .34 oz. My two ounce bottle was less than $9. That is a huge price difference and absolutely worth every penny. Last week I finally had my husband transfer some from the big bottle into the little empty nail polish bottles he bought for me. We took out the little metal mixing beads in the bottom before adding the latex. The nail polish bottle is completely full and only used a scant quarter of the big two ounce bottle of latex. (See the photo above.) And guess what else I found out by doing this? It doesn’t smell as bad since the opening is a little smaller letting out less of the fumes. It also keeps the brush from getting all gunked up. Yes, gunky brushes are an issue here. Click on the image below to see a large variety of empty bottles from Amazon:
The first time I used the liquid latex, I used a small eyeliner brush I had lying around to apply it. It worked great – but the latex quickly molded the brush into something unusable in about the same amount of time it took for the latex to dry. I did some YouTube research and found this there is a big problem with liquid latex ruining brushes, but there are ways to salvage them. It took me fifteen minutes to get that little brush free of the dried latex!! Not good. What I’ve found since, is that by adding the latex to the nail polish bottle, it greatly reduces the gunky brush issue as well as keeping the latex from drying out any faster than it needs to – keeping the product fresh and lasting longer.
Some additional thoughts and things I’ve learned:
Graftobian makes eight different colors of the liquid latex, should you want something a little different. Although I haven’t tried them, I bet each one works as well as the clear I own, should you want a little color in your latex. You say you want glitter in yours like the fancy brand has? I see no reason you couldn’t add a touch of powdered glitter to the bottle and shake it up before applying to your cuticles.
While your latex is drying on your fingers, you should sit really still and do nothing. It doesn’t take long to dry, but if you bump your nails together the latex acts like magnets and sticks together, pulling off your work and you have to start all over again. And do one hand at a time. It’s nearly impossible to paint all ten fingers and try to work with one that has the latex on it for the exact same reason – the stuff will stick together and you’ll end up with a mess on your hands – literally. Be methodical, slow and steady and you will have no problems.
I know this stuff stinks but do NOT add any kind of essential oil to it or you will ruin it. Oil is one of the recommended methods of cleaning the brushes to help break down the dried latex. If you add latex it will break down your latex. And really ladies – is it truly that much worse than our beloved Seche Vite with it’s overpowering chemical smell?
It goes without saying but I’m going to say it anyway; if you have a latex allergy do not use this product. It’s latex. You will be allergic to it. Allergic reactions are no fun. Don’t do it.
That’s about it. I do want to mention this is absolutely NOT a paid review. It’s just a product I think every nail artist should know about because it’s simply amazing and makes cleanup so much easier, and is worth every penny to nail artists of all levels of experience.