The gradient is not going away. Not to be confused with ombré (a design that features a single color in different shades, say, sky blue to navy), a gradient is a shift from one color to another, for example, pink to orange. While the look seems easy enough to create, mastering the technique takes some practice. The good news? There’s more than one way to create the perfect polish gradient. Here, five nail artists from across the country share their favorite tool and technique for executing a seamless shade shift.
The Tool: Pigments
The Tech: Tera Wyatt, Bellevue, NE @wyatt.tera
The Tutorial: Recreate this look in five easy steps.
The Tip: Don’t share your tools. To keep pigment from contaminating your polish, be sure to designate an oval gel brush specifically for pigments.
The Tool: Bottle Brush
The Tech: Chaun Peth, Beverly Hills, CA @chaunlegend
The Tip: Use colors with similar undertones and apply in thin layers.
The Tool: Detail Brush
The Tech: Sabella Snyder, Los Angeles @sweetbcreations
The Tip: Avoid using colors on opposite sides of the color wheel in a gradient, as the finished result will be muddled.
The Tool: Airbrush
The Tech: Robert Nguyen, Los Angeles @nailguytv
The Tip: To ensure proper cleanup of the surrounding skin, it’s important to know the base of the airbrush paint: Gel and oil-based airbrush paints should be cleaned with alcohol, while urethane-based airbrushed paints should be cleaned with acetone.
The Tool: Makeup Sponge
The Tech: Jeannette Vazquez-Alfaro, Bay Shore, NY @iluvurnailz
The Tutorial: Recreate this whimsical shade shift in three easy steps.
The Tip: A latex-free makeup sponge is less porous and won’t absorb polish as quickly, giving you more time to transfer color to the nail.
What’s your favorite way to achieve a gradient nail design? Let us know in the comments below!
-Sigourney Nuñez, photography by Jason Bennett