How to create Ombre Nails

Ombre can be one of the more challenging nail art techniques to master. The reason for the technique being more of a challenge is that there are many variables that can go wrong.

Quite often the wrong sponge can result in the Ombre failing or the polish might not be suitable. Everyone has a slightly different method to create an Ombre. It may take a few goes to work out the best method for you.

I use two methods which follow the same technique but have a different way in which to start.

Technique one:

  1. Apply a base colour. The colour should be light. I generally use the same colour for the lightest colour of the Ombre.
  2. Move onto the general technique.

Technique Two:

  1. Don’t apply any base colour and move onto the General Technique.

General Technique

  1. Get your sponge and apply the colour. Wait around a minute and then apply more colour. This will ensure you have plenty on the sponge before applying it to the nail. If you followed technique 1 you may only need 1-2 colours. If you followed technique 2 you will need a minimum of two colours.
  2. Fairly quickly after completing step 2 begin to apply the colour to your nail try to press down more at the top so that the colour is darker. Try to not dab the colour too much. If the sponge drys out too much it may damage the result. If you need to apply more polish add more colour to the sponge before reapplying it to the nail.
  3. Apply a top coat. If you have a top coat that you know will smudge slightly this can work  in your favour as it may enhance the Ombre effect.


Sometimes the sponge may not suit Ombre’s. I’ve had a few that just wouldn’t work. If you are struggling try using a different sponge.

There is no need to use expensive sponges. I just use the ones from the $2 shop, particularly as I generally throw them out after use.

Sometimes it may be easier to start with only two shades depending on the gradient.

If you think the gradient is close but not quite there, try adding the clear anyway. Sometimes this is all the gradient needs to be effective.

To make clean up easy either use some liquid latex around the nail or masking tape can work just as well.

I hope this helps with your nail design endeavors.


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