Sunday, 15 April 2012

How to: ombré nail polish

Ombré seems to be all the rage at the moment. From dip-dyed clothes to ombré hair colour, faded is the fashion right now.

Inspired by a picture I'd seen on the 'net, I went in search of tips to create my own ombré nails. After reading a few sites, I compiled the tips from several sites into the following steps that seemed likely to give the best results.

You will need:

  • Some fingernails
  • 2-4 nail polishes from the same tonal range (I used shades of grey from almost-black to pale grey, shading into a natural pale pink)
  • A cosmetic sponge (I used the triangular wedge kind which seemed to work well)
  • Topcoat
  • Some cotton buds/Q tips
  • Nail polish remover

And it goes a little something like this:

  • Clean your nails and put on base coat and a foundation layer of your chosen colour. This could be the palest of your chosen polish shades or something different. For mine I used a pale pink intended for French manicure.
  • Once your base coat and foundation are completely dry - and I can emphasise enough how important it is for the final result that it is completely dry - open up your pots of nail polish ready for speedy painting.
  • Soak your cosmetic sponge in water and squeeze out. You want it to be damp rather than soaking wet.
  • Paint a stripe of your darkest shade close to the edge of the sponge. Overlap that with the next shade down and repeat as many times as you want for the effect you're going for. For mine, I used three shades, and my fingernails are currently about 2cm long (about 3cm for my thumbnail). 
  • Once you've painted your shades on the sponge, blot it a couple of times on a piece of scrap paper. This will remove the excess polish and help to blend the colours together.

  • Once blotted, dab the sponge on your fingernail, lining up the darkest shade with the tip of your nail. You may need to dab the sponge on a few times to get the effect you're looking for. That's fine. You don't need to be dead-on with your lining-up. Provided you're in roughly the same area, it'll all be fine. In fact, it also helps to blend the colours together a bit more.
  • Of course, you can reverse it so that the darkest shade is closest to your cuticle. This would probably work well as, in my experience, the main problem with dark shades is the fade at the tips as the polish wears. For my  money, I prefer dark tips, though. It's a bit of a departure from the norm.
  • Once you've stamped your Ombré onto your fingertips you'll have swanky nails... and one hell of a mess on your fingertips! This is where your cotton buds and nail polish remover come in. Dip the cotton buds in nail polish remover and clean up around the nails. The other way to do this is to wait til you next have a bath or shower and peel off the excess polish around your fingers.
  • Once the ombré is dry, finish it off with a topcoat. Not only will it help to prolong your manicure, it'll further blur the lines between the colours and improve the finish.

And that's it. The finished result is pretty classy and much easier to achieve than anyone might think. So just keep it to yourself, yeah? ;)