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Saturday, August 18, 2012

diy quick & easy gradient nails.

 for the last few weeks, i haven't wanted to do anything on my nails other than this gradient technique. it's easier to do than it looks, always ends up really pretty, and i have enough polishes in my collection to pull together some perfect colour combos. i have been asked a few times how to do it, so i thought i would share a quick step by step for my new favourite nail treatment. i can see the options for fall now -- greys, browns, reds and pretty well whatever the hell you want.

how we do: gradient nails
you will need:
clear base coat
clear top coat
4 polishes in the same colour family
cosmetic sponge
q tips
nail polish remover

i start by shaping and filing my nails to prep them, for the 2 minutes it takes, this makes all the difference in the end. what's the point in having pretty nails, when they look like those stick on glow-in-the-dark beauties you wore with your witch costume for halloween when you were 8 years old. once your nails are prepped and ready to go, you can do two coats of your base colour, which would be the lightest shade of the polishes you are using. i went with purple, and used the lilac as my base. 2 coats was enough for even coverage, and was obvious enough that it was there.
 once your base coat dries, you can get your cosmetic sponge ready. i cut my sponges in half a) because i have some dutch in me, and this doubles my sponges and b) it creates a narrower width for applying, which means less polish ends up on the skin around your nails. add a line of your second lightest shade a bit above the base of the sponge, and layer it a few times so your polish soaks in. do the same with the third shade, and then the fourth at the top. i leave a space above and below the colours to avoid getting the polish on my fingers, and to ensure the base colour i did has the chance to shine through at the bottom. clear as mud? or am i speaking french right now?
now for the fun part. before you start to stamp the sponge on to your nail, blot it on a paper towel to remove any excess polish, and then starting at one edge of your nail, begin lightly pressing the sponge down. you are going to get the polish on the skin around your nails, so get over it now and make sure you get it all the way from one edge, working your way across the nail bed to the other side. try and keep the sponge in the same position, to ensure you have a clear definition of the shades you are using. do this in as little 'stamps' as you can -- the more you do, the less clear it is to see the number of shades you used.
once you have achieved the look you are going for, make sure you have applied the colour into the edges and corners of your nails. go over any areas you make have missed, or are lacking consistency, and then step away -- it's very easy to go ape shit with the sponge, and when you finally have the strength to stop yourself, you have basically blotted yourself a muddled, solid mess. if you find the polish has bubbled, a few layers of top coat will smooth everything out beautifully. i usually do one thick layer, allow it to dry, and then do one more thin layer to ensure it's smooth. once it's all dry, you can use a q tip dipped in nail polish remover to clean up any edges and tidy everything up.
now i have to admit, this purple variation is my least favourite of all the colour combos i have tried thus far, mainly because i don't really care for purple, and the shades i chose did not vary enough that the end result was as dramatic as i prefer. a few days ago i pulled out a coral number that ended up looking so good, it looked airbrushed. the key is to use a base colour that is as opposite from the darkest colour you use as possible. and although the technique is quick & easy, the more you practice, the better you will get, and the prettier the results will be. i have a few colour options i am excited to try, and want to give a matte coat option a whirl as well. i bet you won't be able to pay for something at the grocery store, or pick up your timmy's drive-thru without someone asking you about them at least once.
left: 'peach gradient' using pastel peach, melon, coral & red.
right: 'sunset gradient' using yellow, orange, coral & red.


  1. Oooh.. thanks for posting this. The thought of doing a 'stamp' to cover the entire nail never occurred to me. Durr. I'm definitely going to try it.

  2. Love this! So cute. I'm gong to have to give this tutorial a try.

  3. Cool! They turned out great and it seems easy enough :)



  4. It's super easy ladies. Give it a go, you will love it.


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