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How To: Gradient Nails

Gradient nails are a great way to ensure that your mani matches your outfit over a set period of days (depending on how many colours you use), and it also just looks pretty dang awesome.
You've seen a few of my own mani's where gradients have been used (these ones below, in example), especially those in more recent posts! So a tutorial is definitely long overdue- I hope you find it useful!

This look is so super simple to do! (I promise!) And it just looks amazing- it's perfection for any time of the year :D

All You Need Is...

  • A white nail polish- you'll see why in a sec!
  • A selection of nail polishes! (No crackles, but glitters are good! And *some* textured ones work too!)
  • A Sponge! (Make-up sponges work best, but any sponge that isn't too hole-y should be good!)
Sounds nice and easy so far, right? :D Good!

Step 1)
Clean off your old mani! Wave bye-bye!
Colour here is Leighton Denny "Your Planet or Mine?"

Bye Bye!

Step 2)
Paint your nails WHITE!
-This helps the colours to stand out on your nails without having to do multiple gradient-coats and make a blurgh colour. It's particularly useful if you're using paler or pastel colours in your gradient :)
I used a Barry M polish (nothing new there...) called "Matt White"

Step 3)
Set up your Nail Polish Bottles- Unscrew the caps, and make sure they're easily accessible :)
From left to right: OPI Happy Anniversary; Rimmel Metal Rush 'Royal Blue'; Rimmel Lasting Polish 'Azure'; Nails Inc 'Haymarket'

Left to Right: Rimmel Cocktail Colour 'Shirley Temple'; Nails Inc 'The Boltons'; Leighton Denny 'High Maintenance'; Barry M 'Crystal Glaze'

Step 4)
Sponges and nails at the ready girls! If your sponge is a big one, make sure you cut it to the size of your nail so it will 'roll' over it nicely without getting polish everywhere! 
So, what you need to do now, is think about where you want each colour to go and how you're going to align your sponge.
Then, paint on a 'line' of each colour- like this:

Make sure there is plenty of polish on the sponge!
Ready? OKAY!

Step 5)
Gently, ROLL the sponge over your nail (from side to side, not top to bottom!), then without reapplying the polish onto the sponge, dab it on and off the nail, going slightly up and down it in the same motion. So that's ON and OFF the nail, and then TOWARDS and AWAY from the tip. This part's important to get the colours to blend nicely together. Following these steps should get you a nice gradient, that will look like this!

Now, do not be afraid! You will get a fair bit of polish on your actual skin, and cuticle etc- but because it's such a thin layer. it'll come off nice and easily with a cotton bud and a bit of nail polish remover!

Step 6)
Now, even if I'm going to develop this mani further, I always stop for a moment to put a topcoat on after my gradient- I don't want all my hard work going to shame! 

Ta'daaaa, that's all you gotta do!
If you have any questions, leave them in a comment below or Contact Me using another method, which can be found on my Contact Me page.

So to finish off this mani, I added a coat of the 'Crystal Glaze' Barry M polish that was released a couple of weeks back to the purple/pink/orange nails- but nothing showed up... So I then added their Limited Edition Confetti-like polish that's bronze and gold strips :) Over the blue nails I added a coat of 'Happy Anniversary' which is a pearly shimmer (mostly shimmery over blue's-yay!) so the overall effect is nice and icy! 

Kind of like Autumn vs. Winter isn't it? Or Fire vs. Ice? What do you think? :)

See you's all soon!
~Rachel xxx

Why should I come back soon...?
*How To: Water Marble!
*Mon 21st-Fri 25th Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness (with the BNB girls!)


  1. Loved this post!!
    Such great tips, thank you.


    1. I'm glad you liked it! And found it useful! :D Thanks for the read (& love) :)

  2. Nice idea. Thanks for the information.

    Rachel Craig

  3. Love this post, I had no idea how messy people had to get to get such fab nails.... makes sense really I just never thought that much in detail before lol!

    1. Hehe thanks- getting messy is one of the best parts :P


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