You are here

An Ombre Look for Your Nails

Carly Herbst's picture

We've been seeing the ombre hair trend for sometime now so it was just a matter of time for the gradient look to make it to our nails. Follow this tutorial to learn how to use a simple makeup sponge to make your nails go from one color to another seamlessly. I saw an amazing fellow blogger, The Nailsaurus, do a gradient manicure recently and knew I had to help bring the idea to all of you!

First, make sure you have all of your items for the manicure ready to go.  For this manicure, you will need a piece of wax paper (or any paper you don’t mind getting nail polish all over), a toothpick or something with a sharp point to mix nail polish together (I used a dotting tool which you can find on amazon for cheap if you want to try more nail art), a makeup sponge and 2-3 polishes.  I like to do my hands in different colors so I chose three polishes, all from the new NARS Thakoon Collection in Amchoor, Ratin Jot and Lal Mirchi for a summery feel!

Start by painting your base color.  Your base color should be the lighter of the colors you are using.  For this manicure I decided I wanted the orange to be the gradient color on each so I painted my left hand mostly with Amchoor which is a bright yellow and my right hand mostly with Ratin Jot which is a pink with an alternating accent nail.

Once your base coat is mostly dry, it’s time to prepare the gradient effect.  On the wax paper, make two lines of polish with the two colors you want to use.  Make sure it’s big enough so that it will cover most of your nail.  It’s ok if it’s too wide because you can clean that up later but you need it to be tall enough to get the effect!  Make sure your lines of polish are touching.

Now take your toothpick or whatever you are using to mix the colors and gently swirl the polishes together in the middle.  Depending on how large you make the swirled section will dictate how large your gradient is!  Make sure to leave some room at each end of the solid colors.

This is approximately what the polish will look like before you use the makeup sponge to pick up the polish.

Gently dab the flat end of the makeup sponge into the polish.  It doesn’t have to be perfect so don’t worry about being too careful, just make up you soak up the polish!

Now it’s time to sponge it onto your nails!  Start by dabbing it on and just a tiny bit move the sponge up and down as you go!  Only dab a few times otherwise you run the risk of ruining the effect.  If it’s not as dramatic as you like, once it’s dry you can always repeat steps 4-6!  Repeat steps 4-6 for each nail you want this effect on!

At this point, your sponge, wax paper and nails will look like this.  Manicure carnage!  That’s what a bit of nail polish remover and an angled eyeliner brush are for!  Dip the brush into the remover and clean up your fingers before adding top coat!


Once you’re all cleaned up, add your favorite top coat and you are done!  You now have a gorgeous gradient manicure!  As you can see, the effect is much more subtle the closer the colors are to each other so choose contrasting colors for more of a pop or closer colors for a more subtle look!  Happy polishing!


Loading comments...