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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 3 days for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found at a department store
Safety concerns:

Do not let the nail polish get into your eyes or mouth.


This science fair project was conducted to compare the durability of different types of nail polish. The tests were done on ordinary nail polish, long-lasting nail polish (most salon quality nail polishes are long lasting - avoid the quick dry types), and Teflon-infused nail polish.


Teflon-infused nail polish lasts the longest before any chipping or fading appears.


Fingernail care

One of the problems with keeping long beautiful fingernails is that they tend to chip. The chipping of fingernails is normally caused by accidents such as cuts, knocks or scratches. The oils secreted from our bodies also help cause our fingernails to become soft and prone to chipping/tears

To "protect" our nails from natural body oils, our nails need to be kept clean by regular washing and by regularly applying nail polish. This helps to keep our fingernails free from these oils. However, it is a necessity for us to wash our hands properly after applying nail polish remover, as leaving the remover on our nails might also damage them.

Scientific Terms

Natural body oil, nail polish remover, base coat, top coat


The materials required for this science fair project:
- 10 female participants of the same age with long, healthy fingernails
- 1 bottle of ordinary nail polish
- 1 bottle of long lasting nail polish
- 1 bottle of Teflon-infused nail polish
- 1 bottle of nail polish remover
- 1 bottle nail polish base-coat
- 1 bottle nail polish top-coat
- 1 magnifying glass
- tap water
- 1 basin
- 1 towel


1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the type of  nail polish used on the participants – normal nail polish, long lasting nail polish and Teflon-infused nail polish. The dependent variable is the chipping of the nail polish over time. This is determined by inspecting the nails with a magnifying glass every 12 hours. The constants (control variables) are the gender and age of the participants and the method of applying the nail polish, as well as the brand of nail polish (this means that you need to pick a brand that comes in all 3 forms (ordinary, long-lasting and teflon-infused).

2. The 10 female participants’ fingernails are inspected to find out if they are healthy,  broken or not or whether they already have many scratch marks/cracks/tears.

3.  Nail polish remover is used to remove any residue of old nail polish remaining on the participants’ finger nails. Their hands are next washed in a basin of tap water for 5 minutes. After that, wipe their hands dry with a towel.

4. The base coat is next applied and allowed to dry. The ordinary nail polish is then applied to the index fingernail. The long-lasting nail polish is applied to the middle finger nail and the Teflon-infused nail polish is applied on the ring fingernail.

5. After the nail polish has dried, the top coat is applied over the finger nails. The participant’s finger nails are observed every 12 hours for signs of chipping. The results of our observations are averaged and recorded in the table below.


It  was observed that the Teflon-infused nail polish lasted more than 60 hours before starting to chip. The normal nail polish  lasted for only 24 hours and the long lasting nail polish lasted for about 48 hours.

Nail polish type

Results of average durability of different types of nail polish

12 hours

24 hours

36 hours

48 hours

60 hours

72 hours








Long lasting














Y - nail polish not chipping, X – nail polish started to chip off


The hypothesis that  Teflon-infused nail polish  lasts the longest before any chipping occurs, had been proven to be true.

A balanced diet is important in keeping our nails looking good and healthy. Our diet needs to contain enough vitamins, minerals, calcium and water. Food that is rich in vitamins and minerals are very important to help maintain the strength of our nails.

Also consider

Involve more participants for more dependable results. Also, consider repeating this  science fair project to study the durability of nail polish when exposed to extreme temperatures, or when exposed to water or soap?


How to keep nail polish from chipping -

Teflon tuff not tuff enough -