Dar…Dar, WTF is That Thing?

Let me ask you; Is your polish color all consistent when you apply it, or did you give up trying to get it mixed properly after two shakes because your arm started to hurt again for the hundredth time?

Personally I have better things to do than shake up pigment, and I’m sure you do too…who honestly gets more followers on Instagram or Snapchat making posts, videos, and so on about mixing up gels or lacquers? Ok yeah, I know one or two that make it all artsy, but for practical purposes no, people don’t care.

Instead of following instructions we roll it in our hands a couple times, throw it across the room so it mixes our polish up proper and wakes up the salon, you know, whatever. You know damn well none of us mix it up how we’re supposed to where we work. We do the stupid slap it against one hand technique, shaky shaky like we just burned our finger, curse when we lay out bubbles and see swirls of color that shouldn’t be there on our chosen canvas, wipe it off and try rolling it in our palms to mix it more.


But up until now, what else could we do? Not a whole lot. I met a tech once a couple years ago that paid $75 to have a mini paint can mixer mix hers, and it literally sounded like a paint can mixer. People turned to look at it in alarm when it was used.

Well apparently instead of breaking our arms or buying construction equipment, we can go buy a little pigment mixer that fits right into our polish and gel bottles, then buy something from the grocery store to make it even better. Time for some Nail Tech Lifehacks yo. Clients, you could even use this for your craft paints or your polishes at home if you don’t want to break out a palette to mix your colors into consistency.


This strange little object is called a tattoo ink mixer, and it’s used in tattoo parlors to mix up their pigments. Apparently they have the same problem that we do regarding their liquid medium colors separating within its’ bottle, needing to be mixed up before application. Their bottles look similar to ours in that they are small with even smaller long necks to them. So they have these things, and you should have one too! On Ebay or Google or whatever your online go to place is, you can buy one for under $10. It’s the best hack for us that would rather spend our spare time practicing some new nail art, or learning how to use hashtags for your portfolio page (I still totally suck at hashtags).

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These tattoo ink mixers works off of a single AA battery. To use it, all you have to do it stick the pointy end into your bottle and press the little tab. I like to scrape at the sides too like how I do with a mixer in my kitchen.

It’s really quiet too, the whirring noise it makes reminds me very much of those little coffee frothers you can get at the store. It’s about as big as two regular sharpie markers side by side.

The mixer comes with stirring sticks to help you avoid getting colors you just mixed into other bottles, but I found that the sticks are too short to really do the job for our bottles of lacquer or gel. So leave it to me to find something to make it work instead of returning the damn thing. Online shopping returns are undoubtedly the almost worst returns to deal with, right?


Coffee stirrer on left, regular drink stirrer on right

To fix this stick length issue, I bought a pack of 50 regular drink stirrers for about $1 at the grocery store. Usually they are by alcohol drink mixers or garnishes for drinks that are in short glasses. I do want to warn you though, do not get coffee stirrers, and here’s why:

The coffee stirrer has a vertical piece down the middle that will make it unusable as a peg extension for your mixer. It’s because the straw is actually two smaller straws stuck together. Make sure before you order your intended stirrer that you can see down the barrel and check that there’s no vertical piece there. The straw will fit onto the peg snugly, so don’t worry about it flying off. I stick it into the bottle until it touches the bottom and then let it rip.

Oh, just as an FYI, the straws and mixer are not damaging to my skin or anything, my hands were just not camera ready during my blog photography streak at the moment, so I just put a glove on *lulz*.


I wouldn’t use this to mix your extension gels or anything else that’s thick, because you’ll get overworked bubbles in it and gels don’t need that type of mixing to begin with; a couple gentle stirs with a stick mixes up those thicker gels just fine, and most of the color ones stay suspended well to the point that they shouldn’t need stirring. Unless I suppose, you bought a piece of crap color gel to use.

The tattoo ink mixer is so easy to use and doesn’t take hardly any space in my drawer. My clients always comment about it in wonder, and then get one for themselves because they know a couple bottles of stuff they have at home that they could use the mixer for. You could get really ridiculous and stir up cocktails with it if you wanted to be a show off, but personally I will be keeping mine in my workstation. Sometimes I press it on to scare my cat off of the table, but that’s pushing it. I read about this in a nail tech forum and really enjoy this little gadget. Let me know if it’s helped you too!

Are there any other tools you like using for nail work that are also outside of the box like this mixer? Let me know in the comments below please!