Cool Ombré Nail Art Insta-Inspo For Your Next Manicure Session

Plus: Tricks to get your talons in tip-top shape!


Here’s the deal: Ombré is omnipresent. French for "shaded", this word in fashion-speak has come to stand for pretty much anything that starts out one colour and morphs into another. Now, ombré coiffures and couture may be a bit much for some – think Nicki Minaj in her cartoonish Super Bass phase – but the trend is terrific for a discreet dose of drama on your nails.

And really, while ombré nails may look intimidating, they're actually pretty easy to pull off by yourself. A general rule of thumb (pardon the pun) is to use a lighter shade all over the nail bed, then brush and blend on a darker hue at the tips. The best thing about going ombré? Little boo-boos are perfectly fine – we're living in an age where imperfection is perfection.

ALSO READ: Hold Up, Are Gel Manicures Going To Give Me Skin Cancer?!

Ready to get down and dirty? As always, protect and prolong your nail art by applying your preferred base coat prior to getting arty. Done? Here are some tips to nailing the look:

Tip 1. Get your tools ready. Here's what you should have spread out in front of you: Your chosen polishes, a plastic sheet, toothpicks and a good foundation sponge.

Do note: Never re-use sponges for your nails, as tempting and cost-saving as that might be. We've found that old sponges will literally fall apart when dipped in strong acetone and alcohol. Bits of spongy material will clump off and stick to your nails – hellish to remove and incredibly frustrating. Save yourself the grief and use a fresh wedge-shaped sponge; the angled shape will give you precision control.

Tip 2. Select two or more nail polishes, then apply the lightest shade as your base colour. We prefer to be conservative: Wait until the base is bone-dry before you start sponging, so as to slash the chances of your sponge sticking and basically screwing up your wet nails.

Tip 3. Remember the plastic sheet we asked you to have on hand? Daub a generous amount of both colour swatches, side by side, onto the plastic sheet, so that both hues are almost touching.

Tip 4. Grab a toothpick and swirl the shades together where they meet. It's your call as to how steep the gradient is. For less of a "fade", lightly blend the edges; for a subtle graduation, bring both colours together so that you create a third, "in-between" hue.

Tip 5. Dab your sponge onto the polish on your plastic sheet. Angle your sponge and press it onto your nail – use less force if you're still iffy about the process. Using a feathery, stippling motion, dab again and repeat as many times as you want, making sure each layer is dry before re-applying.

Tip 6. Last lap! When you've dabbed to your heart and nails' content, seal all the swirly goodness in with a clear topcoat. All the sponging and multiple layers may leave your nail a tad bumpy, so you may have to apply more than one layer of topcoat for a flawless finish.

Bonus: For an extra-festive flourish, sprinkle on glitter in a contrasting shade. If you have black nails, go with navy or blood-red glitter. What you do is to press on a smidgen of gleaming goodness at the cuticle, then use the polish brush to smear the sparkly bits right down to the tips.

Scroll through the gallery slides above for some Insta-inspo, then go out there and paint the town ombré!

For more on beauty head here. Or check out Your Beauty Editor's Easy-Peasy Guide To Clear Skin In 7 Days and Treat Your Tresses To Some TLC With These Shine-Boosting Masks.

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