Gradient/Ombre Nail Tutorial

Hey everyone,

I decided to go a bit of a different route this time and give you guys a nail tutorial. I used to be really into nail art, but over time I’ve had less and less time to spend on it. I thought it would be fun for me to go back to something I used to love so much, and put together a tutorial for one of my favorite techniques: ombre nails! All you need is some nail polish and an eyeshadow applicator (the cheap sponge kind). You can either search your stash for one that came with a drugstore palette, or buy a pack at the drugstore for super cheap.

If you’re a visual learner, check out my video to see me do this technique. Otherwise, scroll down for written instructions.


How to: Gradient/Ombre Nails

  1. Paint on your base coat and let it dry.
  2. Paint your nails normally using the lighter of your two nail polish colors. Make sure it dries completely so you don’t ruin this layer when you use the sponge!
  3. Put a few drops of each nail color onto a flat surface (be prepared to add more as you go along).
  4. Dip one side of your eyeshadow applicator into the darker color, dab off any excess, and begin tapping the color onto the top half to two-thirds of your nail. Make sure you’re tapping and not rubbing.
  5. Dip the other side of the eyeshadow applicator into the lighter color, and begin tapping this over where the two colors meet.
  6. Keep layering the two colors over one another in the middle until you’re happy with the gradient. Sometimes it’s better to let the sponged-on color dry in between coats so you’re getting a truly layered look and not just moving the colors around. I also like to tap the darker color heavily onto the tips of my nails for a more dramatic and authentic ombre.
  7. Once everything is dry, you’ll notice the texture of the nail polish is a little lumpy from the sponge. Seal it all in with a good topcoat, and let it dry! The topcoat will smooth out the texture of your nails and blur the gradient a little bit (i.e. it will look less sponged on and more natural), so don’t skip this step!

You can use more than two colors if you’d like, or do the gradient bottom-top or side-to-side. You can also add nail art on top of this. The options are endless!

I hope you liked this tutorial! Feel free to send over or tag me in some photos if you try this look.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 10.46.54 AM

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