How-to: Gradient Nails

I like to get my nails done…but some of the places where I go don’t do cool stuff.

If you ask for a design, you get a weird flower or some fancy swirls circa 1987.

SO I decided to take matters into my own hands…literally.

I have seen some really cool nail stuff on pinterest, but usually it doesn’t give you a step-by-step…or it gives you really vague steps.

So when I saw this tutorial using a make-up sponge as the main tool I knew that I needed to give it a try.

I have to say that I didn’t have high hopes.

BUT…I was surprised.  Not only did it work, it was totally easy.

Here’s what I used:

I started with a base coat/ridge filler. And I used two colors…these are Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Orange Impulse and Flashy Fuschia with my Essie No Chips Ahead top coat.

Also I used a make-up sponge for the blending.


Start by applying your base coat and base color.  You have to let it dry COMPLETELY before sponging the other color on.  I found that blending in the top color was easier, at least for me.

When your nails are dry go ahead and paint some polish onto your sponge.  I painted on the bottom color first and then the top.  Don’t use to much.  You can always add more.

Then lightly bounce the sponge on top of your nail.  You will most likely get color on your skin..I did.  I suppose you could tape your finger to prevent this…

Continue on each nail, adding more polish to your sponge when necessary.

Finish with a top coat to smooth it out and add shine.

That’s it.


I can’t wait to play around with more color combinations…and glittery polish too!

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    Diana says:

    Awesome :) As a nail polish lover and soon to be blogger, I love seeing nail fun pop up on other blogs (especially one like this, since I love you guys!) Taping off the sides will help with the extra polish, but remover (especially 100% acetone) takes it off super fast anyways.

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    Hayley says:

    This is so rad! I love it!
    Yeah, when I wanted hot pink leopard nails for my birthday, I decided to take matters to a professional so they’d look really good. However, when I got to the salon, they apparently had no idea what a leopard was and kept trying to convince me “zebra! zebra!” If it isn’t zebra print or acrylics, I’m afraid they’re totally lost. This looks so easy!

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    Becki D. says:

    You did awesome!!! I also tried this technique after being inspired by Pinterest…mine did not turn out so lovely. I have no patience and didn’t wait for the base coat to totally dry I think was the main problem….. **sigh**

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    Lacey says:

    I LOVE THIS!! How cute! Thanks for sharing! I’m going to have to try gradient nails this summer!

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    Rena says:


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    Whoa….that is so cool!

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    Kelly says:

    Love the look, and I might be able to even do it myself! You are dead on about the weird flowers/swirls design comment courtesy of top local nail salons. Currently I have a pedicure that I’ve affectionately renamed, ‘Miami vice shirt.’
    It took a lot of talent to do it, too, so I know the girls I go to could easily pull off the more modern (and much more simple) stuff I’ve been pinning lately.

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    Janet says:

    Love this! I currently have each one of my toes painted a different bright color – blue, green, dark pink, yellow, and orange. My toes look like a box of Crayolas and looking at them makes me happy. Thanks for your awesome blog!

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    Laynie says:

    Ooooh, this is a lovely combination of colors! I’m so glad the tutorial helped you! I love seeing people use a tutorial I made.

    Also, thanks for the link! :D

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    Debra Kapellakis says:

    very pretty color combo

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    Sage says:

    Best directions yet. Thank you! I want to try it with grey and black for the winter.

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