Aerosil as a suspension agent in clear nail polish – R972 vs. 300

Hey beauties (or should I say chemists) 😀

first of all I would really love to thank you all for your support, your several e-mails, suggestions and comments. I really seem to have found a topic that is of great interest right now – worldwide. This is really exciting for me as I can finally see that I’m not the only crazy one here. Especially outside the USA it seems to be almost impossible to get a glitter suspension base for your frankening, but also in the US it has been becoming somewhat of a struggle. I’m glad that all the lovely indie sellers and frankeners seem to have found a way to deal with it though.

So after my last experiment, where I threw Aerosil 200 in clear nail polish, the swatches revealed a somewhat rough surface when dry. A possible explanation for this was that I can only shake the bottle with my hands and this is not enough to disperse the Aerosil in the clear base. But then a couple of readers said that it could also be because I used a hydrophilic Aerosil instead of a hydrophobic one. Hydrophilic means it loves to bond with water, while hydrophobic means you can’t disperse it in water at all. Since nail polish in its nature is also hydrophobic we figured it might work out much better with hydrophobic Aerosil in nail polish!

I tried to get samples of hydrophobic Aerosil suitable for this purpose, but I never heard anything back from the chemical company, probably because I can’t say I’m affiliated with a company. But then the lovely Chiro from Nailofthisweek was able to send me a “sample from her sample” lol. Thank you again girl, this posting would have never been possible without you! ❤

So today I’ll show you two more “kinds” of Aerosil: The hydrophobic Aerosil R972 and the hydrophilic Aerosil 300 which is just a finer grade (even smaller particles) than Aerosil 200. Here are the three versions in comparison, and as you can see, I added a drip of water to each of them to show you the hydrophobic behaviour of R 972:

Let’s see what I did with the nail polish! First, I filled some (pretty thin) clear nail polish from Catrice in two bottles, and added small and large glitter particles. See how it sinks to the bottom right away!

Even after shaking, it settles at the bottom within minutes. Frustrating for every frankener!

Next, I added Aerosil bit by bit until I was satisfied with the suspension of the glitters. I always added one more “spoon”, and by that I mean tip of a straw like this:

I ended up with 11 of these spoons for each bottle, which contained around 2,5 ml of clear base each. This sounds a little too much and I think I was a little impatient because now I have a feeling that it still expands a little after a while and makes the suspension even thicker. Anyways, I was really happy with the result. This is what it looked like after 24 hours: Still nicely suspended, also the big chunky ones. The base is still clear, no signs of mattification due to the powder. The R972 as well as the 300 keep glitter suspended in nail polish:

Now to the swatches: The Aerosil 300 showed the same rough surface like the 200 – this means that the particle size has not been the problem in the Aerosil 200 of my first experiment. The hydrophobic Aerosil shows a slightly rough surface, but not nearly as bad as the hydrophilic one. Can you see the difference?

Conclusion 🙂

The problem I had in my first posting with the roughness of clear polish with Aerosil seems to be solved by picking a hydrophobic fumed silica. So if you need something to suspend glitter in thin clear nail polish, hydrophobic fumed silica is what you need! For me, it is not easy to get though. The only thing I can order in pharmacies here is hydrophilic Aerosil 200. But I heard that there are hydrophobic fumed silicas sold on ebay – usually as fishing equipment. I still have to figure out the right amount of Aerosil per ml – if the dosis is reduced it might end up as a perfectly clear nail polish with no signs of a rough surface at all!

One last thing: Please be careful if you wish to use any of these fine grained pulvers: Use a breathing protection, the particles are so small, you can’t even see them. They float through the air and you really don’t want to get them into your lungs!

I hope my posting was useful, I will keep you updated while I try to use it in frankening. Have a great sunday everyone!

Check out my sum up posting, where I tried to conclude everything I learned about suspension agents in nail polish!


33 thoughts on “Aerosil as a suspension agent in clear nail polish – R972 vs. 300

  1. Great post, great conclusion and I’m happy at least one of them helped you 😉 I had no time to try myself until now but I really have to!!
    Super dankeeeeeeeee 😀


    • Thank you so much! This posting was long overdue and I’m so happy I finally had time for it! I will now try to mix together a franken with all kinds of glitter and try to used it in there. Can’t wait 😀


  2. I was looking at the aerosil website, the recommended products section, and I noticed that R972 isn’t suggested for nail polish, but R974 is, and its hydrophobic too. I don’t know what the difference is, but maybe R974 would be better?


    • Hey Michelle, thanks for this!
      It is interesting, because the girl I got the R972 from explained to the chemical company what she needs it for and they sent her the 972. I think the only differences, and I can’t explain them because I’m not a chemist, are the surface area (bigger in 974), the pH (smaller range in 974) and the carbon content (slightly more in 974). So maybe you’re right – I guess I’ll never be done with testing!


  3. Does the hydrophobic fumed silica from that ebay-seller work fine? I’m searching since ever for a solution >.< But 25€ just for trial and error…

    Have you done some more science so far?


    • Sorry, I don’t know if it works – maybe one of my readers can help?
      I’m going to test Aerosil R974 next, but it will take some weeks because I’ll have a busy month ahead of me!


      • Hi, I bought some from the eBay seller but my initial attempt had 10 tons of glitter so I can’t really say how gritty it is. I am going to mix up some here in a bit with a smaller amount of glitter and will report back.


      • Reply v.2.0. – Okay, I tried again, using a much smaller amount of glitter, and made what I would guess was about a 2:1 mix of polish (LA Nails clear topcoat I had gotten on sale) to the silica. Initially it appeared a little gritty but after a couple of minutes mixing, it seemed to settle down.

        I can’t take polish pics worth a flip and wouldn’t know how to upload them here BUT, a couple of notes – less definitely appears to be more with the silica. As I said, I had mixed my initial batch with a ton of glitter in it. I added silica until it seemed to be the right consistency but after it sat for about a week it was almost a gel and very gloppy to apply. I thinned it (a lot) with polish thinner and it appears to be more manageable. I would suggest if you are wanting to go this route, add a small amount of silica to your polish and let it sit for at least a couple of days to see how thick it gets before you commit to your mix.

        The eBay seller was not forthcoming as to the R-type, although I did ask him. I ran a few swatches on the bottom of a white coffee cup of the fresh mix I just made and examined it under a magnifying glass. There is very little graininess visible to the naked eye, but for some reason it seems to have taken all of the gloss out of the polish. I let it dry and then applied some Seche Vite topcoat, which I would do anyway, and the only grain of any kind I am seeing in the swatches is that from the glitter. My understanding from something I saw on the web is that the silica sets up into a kind of matrix, so it would make sense to use less and wait. But I’m usually all about the overkill and tend to be rather impatient. I want it NOW!!!!! LOL!!

        So, there’s AN answer to your “eBay seller” question. Definitely DO be extremely careful when handling this stuff, as even opening the inside bag in which I received it released a cloud of it. I put the first bag into a second, larger bag, and opened it just enough to stick my straw into it. It has a very smooth powdery feel to it between the fingers (NOT that I am recommending anyone else test that!!) and looks like it might just work well for this purpose.


      • Hey Luvablois,

        thank you so much for your very valuable comment! It’s so great to see others experimenting and reporting back positive results. I will have a follow-up posting up soon, I will try to sum up all the great stuff my readers reported and some new information I got from an anonymous tip that I would love to share with all of you!


      • I need to get some more clear polish to try the mixing process again. I own an Ultrasonic unit so can see if that helps any with the mixing. Looking forward to that blog posting.,,,,,,


      • That’s interesting! I think that ultrasonic force might be able to break up the particles as well as high-speed mixing would. Please report back! And please be careful while experimenting, so that the cap of the nail polish bottle doesn’t come off while placing it in the ultrasound!


  4. I love this search you have going on.
    I just decided I wanted to make my own polish, but then found out that I can’t get the suspension base. What a bummer. This seems to be a great way though, so I might try it some time.
    I think I will follow along, and see if you find something that works better.

    This is truly really interesting, I think 😀

    Btw, is that a real dragonfly on the picture in your header! :O


    • Hey coewless,

      thanks so much for your support 🙂 I’m actually planning an update post for august, so stay tuned 😉
      The dragonfly on my hand was indeed real – it was a little traumatized when I rescued it from being caught by my cat – that’s why it rested on my hand! Poor thing. But later on it flew away, so I guess it wasn’t harmed so badly!


  5. Okay, so I finally managed to get organized enough to try doing this in the ultrasound.
    I started with about half a bottle of clear polish, mixed in an equivalent amount of aerosil by volume, dropped in a few mixing beads and shook it by hand long enough to mix the two. It was about a 1:1 by volume amount aerosil:polish if I remember correctly. I then put in an equivalent amount of approx .050 glitter (guessing on the size, it’s roughly “regular glitter” sized), shook it again for a few seconds to mix and then put it into the ultrasound bath.
    I did a sample swatch before and after having zapped it for about 30 minutes. Although it did appear there was a finer dispersal on the aerosil, it still appeared gritty under a magnifying glass – admittedly a “finer grit” after the ultrasonic, and the “after” product did seem be slightly more glossy.
    I have let it sit undisturbed for about 3 weeks now and it settled out to a large extent, however a few seconds’ shaking puts it nicely back into suspension. I am guessing at this point that I would need to use just a little bit more of the aerosil to keep it permanently in suspension, Maybe 1.5:1 or 2:1 ratio.
    I had put a couple of test layers on my toenails – without any topcoat – when I orignially ran the test and it has held up well. The amount of aerosil involved was not sufficient to cause any perceptible dimming of the glitter (still seeing the disco-ball flash of this particular glitter) although upon close examination I am noticing an obvious (albeit fine) graininess on the nail area which the glitter did not cover. It is likely a good topcoat would eliminate this.
    If someone else would like to try this without spending the $150-plus for the ultrasonic, please be advised that there are smaller-version units marketed as jewelry cleaners that would no doubt work for small amounts (single bottles) of polish.
    A quick search of eBay just now found several available for about $33 US, and then you have a jewelry cleaner. 😉 (Side note – these work really, really well for items such as engagement rings and others with large transparent stones. The soap scum and other such grunge that you can never seem to clean from around the prongs comes right off, but be aware there are some stones tht will be damaged in an ultrasonic. )
    I avoid the exploding bottle problem by tightening the bottle cap and then backing it off by about a quarter turn, just enough to allow a slight pressure release during the ultrasonic bath. This can be slightly messy around the threads because a very small amount of the polish can escape (However, I have been using the ultrasonic for all of the polish I mix and have not noticed any water influx into the polish.) I usually also wrap it in a paper towel and open the polish (keeping the lid in place) about every five minutes or so to release any built-up pressure, as I almost always run my ultrasonic unit with the heater on.
    As to whether it’s worth it to go through all of this, I don’t know. The hand-shaking process seemed to be at least 80-85 percent as effective as the ultrasonic in dispersing. Granted, it is considerably less wear and tear on YOU to use the machine, but as to any additional effectiveness, I would say visibly it is minimal aside from the slight additional glossiness. I believe that it is definitely going to be a case of the more aerosil you add, the more matte the polish base will become, but that is just my opinion. I do agree, though, that if you can’t get your hands on suspension polish base, this is probably a viable alternative for starting your frankening process from scratch.
    For the record, I was using the Unidentified hydrophobic aerosil from the eBay seller listed earlier in this thread. I live in the U.S. so it wasn’t too expensive for me to get some from him for testing purposes.


  6. addendum – I would guess the eBay Aerosil is the finer grained one – I just put a little of the polish I mixed on my thumbnail and compared with the pictures above it is similar or even finer-grained than the R972. Also, (and this MAY just be wishful thinking) it is appearing a lot smoother (less grainy-looking) when compared to the initial toenail swatches.
    and the experiments continue….


  7. I just got my R972 “Samples” in the mail! They are huge! I ordered four thinking they were gonna be in small containers but they are pretty big and I think im set for a while. You should have just made up a name for a fake company. lol Thats what I did.


  8. Hello Ladies 🙂 I was one of the very sad international puppies to discover that TKB Trading can’t ship to South Africa 😦 and this I found out AFTER ordering solvent resistant glitter! Oops 🙂

    The good news – I found a company in SA that is willing to send me a sample of the Aerosil 972. And I also found a sheet comparing 972 with 974 and apparently the 974 has mattifying properties which 972 does not and I can’t think that youd want those mattifying properties? So 972 does look like the better option. Any thoughts???


    • Hey there!
      Thanks so much for your comment – I love to hear that you found some Aerosil. It sounds interesting that there is a mattifying property to 974. I know from a frankener that she uses the 974 in her line of polishes. I’m still working on that sum up posting (man, I really have to finish it!!) and I will mention some more of what secrets she shared with me. I agreed not to mention her company though. Stay tuned and have fun with your Aerosil! 🙂


  9. Pingback: Ultimate nail polish suspension agent sum-up posting « From head to foot

  10. Pingback: Aerosil Update and Swatches :) « From head to foot

  11. Pingback: Frankening: How to suspend glitter in clear nail polish? « From head to foot

  12. You are a life saver! I am so so so glad I found your post! After ruining my Seche Vite topcoat by applying it over loose glitter all the glitter got on the brush, then into the bottle. I then decided to make it into a glitter topcoat as I didn’t want to waste a whole brand new bottle. I then woke up the next day to it being completely settled at the bottom of the bottle. After researching suspension base I found I wouldn’t be able to get it as I live in the UK. Now (thank god) I found your post and I’ve ordered some of hydrophobic fumed silica from the guy on eBay and luckily enough he ships to the UK! I shall be adding this to my Seche Vite topcoat as soon as it arrives on my doorstep!

    I am truly thankful. Honestly, you are awesome. 🙂


    • Hey Lauren,

      aaw, thanks so much for your sweet words <3<3
      You could really help me out by returning here and giving feedback once you've received the fumed silica from the ebay guy and tried it in your polish! That would be great!
      Thanks again,


      • Hi, I’m back!

        I received my little pot of this awesome formula today and had to try it out as soon as I opened the box! I added approx 6/7 spoonfuls first of all to my Seche vite glitter topcoat and left it for an hour and the fine glitter was suspended, however the hexagon glitter wasn’t. So I began to add a few more spoonfuls and ended up with another 9 spoonfuls so that would be 16 spoonfuls in total. I’m going to leave it overnight and see if the big glitter holds up, if not, ill just add some more lol!

        This is really great stuff and for 12 or something pound it will last you a lifetime if you don’t make a lot of polishes! I would highly recommend it!

        Lauren x


  13. Pingback: » Frankening

  14. Hi lady’s doing a little research today and saw your site. I’m a urethane product developer who uses fumed silica and thought I’d lend a hand.

    high shear is needed to properly deagglomerate and deaggregate the fumed silica powder. Its necessary to do this to optimize the rheological contribution and for solution stability. If the material is not properly dispersed, it can settle or give instability over time to the entire formulation.

    Sheering will increase your transparency and give better end results.

    Hydophilic is much cheaper than hydrophobic, all you need to do is put the fumed silica in the over at 300 degrees for a couple of hours before adding it to your base clear. Hydophobic silica is used when the base compounds react negitivly to mositure. Finger nail clear does not have this problem.

    The problem your having is that your not sheering the fumed silica for proper dispersion. I would suggest a simple and fairly inexpensive soloution would be to buy a cheap or used blender after shaking the base clear and silica together to wet it out put the mix in the blender at low to med speed and sheer the product for serveral minutes, using a spatula to push it back down and mix again.

    You can mix a quart batch of clear and add different flake as needed per bottle.

    You can over mix so a trial and error is needed. After sheering pour into your bottles (Small funnel) and add the flake then shake. Clean the blender with paint thinner (turpintine) and keep the blender around for just this purpose.

    Aerosil 200 is a great choice. but is sold by the bag of 10 kg. Should any one need some contact me as I used tons of this stuff and could ship out qt. cans for $30.00 per can plus S&H.

    Hydrophobic fumed silica is treated with Silanes and Soloxanes that I really don’t think I’d want on my body if given the choice. if you want to buy in bulk below is a supplier.

    When working with fumed silica, add powder in a non windy condition out doors and wear a dust mask.

    I can be contacted at or 301-262-6012 (Maryland USA)

    Distributor is EM Sullivan. Here is their contact info:
    EM Sullivan Associates, INC.
    600 Reed Rd
    Broomall, PA 19008

    (p) 610-725-8717
    (f) 610-725-9415

    Good luck with your projects…Paul


  15. This is a very great article! I am currently researching on how to make my own nail polish, own clear nail polish if can and with my own preferred nail colors as well. This really helped me a lot. I just hope I can get to find these ingredients in my country, unless I buy from other country and have it ship here =D Thanks for sharing your experiments by the way =)


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