tutorial: gradient/ombre nails

Ah, such impatience the period of almost-summer and end-of-the-semester brings. Being stuck in limbo where you know your work is almost over, but you still have finals to finish. It's like waking up on a sunny morning, getting out of bed, and getting punched in the face. Yeah. Well, I'm in that period where I'll find anything to do besides study. Besides, why study now if you can study the day before the final? I retain information better that way, anyways. ;)
So when I saw a picture of a gradient manicure, I thought, "Wow! Looks time consuming! Challenge accepted!". And I did it. I've posted a lot of different color combinations of this mani on Instagram. But here's how I do it!
Gather up your cast and crew. Take the makeup sponge and run it under some water for a sec, then squeeze out the excess (preferably in a towel - it'll help it be more dry). Try to stick to 3 to 4 shades, and choose shades that will transition into one another easily. If you need help, think of ROYGBIV. And note: I like to have my lightest color be a jelly polish because I find it really blends in nicely with the natural nail. From here, apply base coat as usual.
Polishes used (L to R):
OPI Dutch Tulips
Essie Vermillionaire
Zoya Maya
China Glaze Pink Underground

Paint somewhat thin strips of each polish on the now damp sponge. Try to overlap each color slightly.

Bounce the sponge up and down on some paper. This will help take off the excess polish, and it also helps blend the colors a bit.

Then press the sponge on your nail (darkest color at the tip). Bounce it up and down a bit, like you did on the paper. It will be very sheer. If you want more a of 'stain', you could leave it at this, but I prefer bolder colors so I like to let the nail dry for a bit, and then take the sponge (without having added any more color) and continue dabbing it on my nail. So basically, I like to 'build up' the color.

Repeat steps 2-4 on all nails.

This is how your nails should look right now.

Clean up the cuticles with acetone.

Apply topcoat (it helps blend the colors even more) and you're done! Beautiful!

Thanks for looking. Check out my instagram (claralhotak) to see the other color combinations I've done!


  1. Looks gorgeous Clara! And such a smart way to do it! Thanks so much for sharing!! :) x

  2. Great tutorial, seems like the most effective gradient tutorial I've seen lately! I just wish you would write more, love your posts!

  3. Thanks for the tutorial, your result looks great!!

  4. Excellent tutorial! I am definitely going to do this!

  5. You're welcome for looking! :P

    I'll have to try that though. But with random colors and finishes. mwahahahaa

  6. great job. your nails looks really pretty!

  7. this is really intersting..

  8. This looks very pretty.Pretty color comb.

  9. pretty nails!!! i love your makeup looks--you're the queen of blending and you definitely know what looks good. you should show us more videos on how to achieve your looks :) also, i can't believe you're engaged to a marine! my bf is leaving for boot in june...

  10. Hello, you have a lovely blog and beautiful nails! I am one of your new followers. I like these kind of step by step tutorials and anything related with nail art so I will make your blog a favorite place to spend my free time :)

  11. OMG these are so pretty ! well done!
    thanks for sharing xx

  12. i love this patent this is look very easy diy...and look professional :)

  13. It's so cute. I love this tutorial:)

  14. Hi, I recognize your nickname, do you play any games like starcraft pris?