It’s no secret that when it comes to makeup, I am as clueless as they come. It all comes from my dislike of performance makeup from my colorguard days. Being forced to apply mounds of it on a nearly biweekly basis does not a makeup lover make.
Nonetheless, I have always loved nail polish— it doesn’t seem like makeup: it doesn’t go anywhere near your face, applying it is like painting mini-walls, and it serves a functional purpose in that it keeps me from my voracious nail-biting habit. What with my recent discovery of nail polish blogs and some polishing tips from Nancy, and I am once again hooked on the smelly stuff!
One of my favorite nail polish looks right now are gradiated nails. Yes, I know, the ombre trend is all but dead and gone now, but gradiated nails still look fresh and interesting. I did mine with various shades of purple and while the colors do not transition as smoothly as I had hoped, it still does look pretty cool, non?
There are several ways to achieve this very unique look, some being easier than others.
1) Use 5 different shades of approximately the same color. This is what I did, and I would not recommend this unless you really like this particular color anyways. It is somewhat costly and difficult to find so many shades that go together. I cheated a little and used black on my pinkies, since I couldn’t find enough purples for 5 fingers. Okay, and I also didn’t want to buy that many purples.
The colors I used are, from darkest to lightest: Random Urban Outfitters black nail polish, OPI (You Don’t Know Jacques), Sephora for OPI (Metro Chic), OPI (Parlez-Vouz OPI?), Orly (Bon Bon).
As you can kind of see, the difference between my 4th finger and middle finger isn’t very significant (alas) and the difference between my 2nd finger and thumb is a bit too great for my liking, but overall, I do like the effect quite a bit.
2) Use two colors and mix the 3 middle ones yourself. This is probably the easiest way to accomplish this look, and is infinitely customizable too! Think of the possibilities, especially with nail polish colors that are more different from each other! (Red + yellow? Purple + blue? Eeeep!) I would have done it this way except I am way too clumsy to be trusted with mixing nail polish. Michelle from All Lacquered Up did this to great success.
I have one word of advice for this which my art teacher imparted to me: always mix the dark color into the light color. It’s much easier to control the darkening of a light color than the lightening of a dark color, and you will avoid wasting polish this way.
3) Take one color and mix with black and white polish for darker and lighter shades. This works well if you don’t have two polishes of the same color and different shades. You’ll probably get similar results as with method 2. Once again, always mix dark into light and not the other way around. Trust.
Overall, if you are going to do gradiated nails, I would recommend doing it with creme nail polishes (ones without any shimmer or what-have-you) since different finishes mixing together could get weird. And as with every pseudo DIY, I’d love to see your results!