Why Does White Nail Polish Turn Brown? 5 Reasons

Donning white nail polish is a fashion statement, an alluring contrast of pure simplicity against our skin tones. However, a common predicament faced by many is when their chic white nail polish unexpectedly transforms into an unflattering shade of brown. So, why does white nail polish turn brown?

Why Does White Nail Polish Turn Brown?

White nail polish turning brown is a common problem. Several factors contribute to this issue. Here we explain five of these factors in simplified terms.

Oxidation Process

The first factor is the oxidation process. Your nail polish comes into contact with oxygen all the time. This contact can lead to chemical changes. These changes may turn your white nail polish brown. The process is similar to how a cut apple turns brown after being left in the open air.

Health Issues

Health issues can also cause your white nail polish to turn brown. Your body’s health impacts your nails. Poor nutrition or certain conditions can discolor your nail polish. For example, iron deficiency can cause brown discoloration in both your nails and your nail polish. If you notice any changes, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor.

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Exposure to External Elements

External elements can discolor your white nail polish. Heat and sunlight are two common culprits. Just like how the sun can change your skin’s color, it can also color your nail polish. Heat can cause a similar effect. Certain chemicals found in cleaning products can also turn your white nail polish brown. It’s a good idea to protect your nails when you’re cleaning or out in the sun.

Natural Chemistry of the Polish

White nail polish turning brown can be due to the polish’s natural chemistry. The polish is made up of various chemicals. Over time, these can react with each other. This chemical reaction can lead to a change in color. The white can become brown. It may seem sudden, but it happens gradually. This is more common in older, outdated polishes. It’s best to use polishes within a year of purchase to avoid discoloration.

Aggressive Manicure

Secondly, discoloration can happen after an aggressive manicure. What does this mean? If the application is too vigorous, it can damage the nails and the polish. This damage can turn your white polish brown. To avoid this, apply the polish gently. Do not pull or drag your brush forcefully. Also, give each layer enough time to dry before adding another. By doing this, you can keep your nail polish white for a longer time.

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How Do You Get Brown Stains Out Of White Nails?

White nails stained brown can be a frustrating problem. But, don’t worry! Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to remove these stains.

Step 1: Gather the needed materials.
You’ll need baking soda, a toothbrush, and lemon juice.

Step 2: Make a paste.
Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of lemon juice. Aim for a paste-like consistency.

Step 3: Apply the paste.
Take your toothbrush and apply the paste to your nails.

Step 4: Brush your nails.
Gently brush the stained areas. Do this for a couple of minutes.

Step 5: Rinse.
Wash your nails with warm water. You should see the stain starting to lift.

Step 6: Repeat if necessary.
If the stain is stubborn, repeat the process.

Step 7: Moisturize.
Baking soda can dry out your nails. Apply some moisturizer after you’re done.

How Do You Keep White Nail Polish White?

Keep that trendy white nail polish white with the following easy steps:

Step 1: Purchase Good Polish
Start by choosing a good brand. High-quality polishes are less likely to turn brown.

Step 2: Base Coat Application
Before applying the white polish, use a base coat. It offers a smooth surface for your polish.

Step 3: Few, Thin Coats
Apply a few thin coats of your white polish instead of a thick one. Thin coats dry quicker helping to prevent discoloration.

Step 4: Dry Each Layer
Ensure each layer is dry before applying the next. This technique helps prevent discoloration caused by trapped moisture.

Step 5: Top Coat
After your layers are dry, seal the color with a top coat. It protects your polish from external elements.

Step 6: Avoid Heat
Try to keep your nails away from heat after polishing. Heat can discolor the white polish.

Step 7: Regular Reapplication
Reapply the top coat every few days. This regular touch-up can help keep your white nail polish white.

Step 8: Moisturize
Keep your hands and nails moisturized. It helps maintain a clean polish look longer.


White nail polish can turn brown due to various factors. The chemical reactions within the polish, an ungentle manicure, and exposure to certain elements can all contribute to this discoloration.

But don’t fret! Proper care and attention can prevent your white nail polish from turning brown. This means choosing a good quality polish, using gentle application methods, and protecting your nails from harsh external conditions.

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