Does Nail Polish Slow the Growth of Nails?

4.1 based on 94 ratings

Updated on Mar 20, 2013

Grade Level: 6th - 8th; Type: Health Science/ Biology


In this experiment, we will find out whether nail polish slows down the growth of nails. We will be comparing the growth rate of bare nails with it.


Nail polish is essentially “paint” that adheres to the nails for cosmetic purposes. They come in many different colors and finishes. The possibilities of decoration are endless. New trends show an increased amount of production of matte nail polishes. Matte nail polishes have a dull and non-coated finish. The traditional nail polish usually looks shiny and glossy.

Some users have speculated that matte nail polishes may not last as long because it is missing the “protective layer” that is the gloss on top.

Research Questions

  • What are the ingredients in most nail polishes?
  • What are fingernails and toenails made of?


  • Nail polish
  • Test subjects (the more the better)
  • A precision ruler
  • Pen/paper or notes

Experimental Procedure

  1. On the first day of testing, have your test subjects trim their nails to a short length. The nails should be bare.
  2. In weekly intervals, measure how much the nail has grown from the last week for your test subjects. Do this for one month.
  3. At the one month mark, have your test subject trim their nails again to the same length it was on step 1.
  4. Apply some nail polish on all the nails.
  5. In weekly intervals measure how much the nail has grown from the last week for your test subjects. Do this for one month.
  6. If the nail polish chips, then reapply. The nail polish should cover the nails from cuticle to tip.
  7. Repeat the above steps for two more months.
  8. Compare your data and evaluate your results.

Suggested Chart

Bare Nails- 1
Bare Nails- 2
Nail Polish- 1
Nail Polish-2
Test Subject #1





Sofia PC is currently a college student with a deep interest in science who is aspiring to become a writer. She writes about all sorts of things across all subjects including, but not limited to; science, crafts, and fashion. She hopes to become a good writer so she can share her thoughts and experiences with the world and future generations.

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