Today I felt like summer nails, so I decided to try out the gradient manicure nail polish trend. My inspiration for the color palette I used in this manicure were the many shades of greens and blues you see when looking out into the ocean. I used four water based nail polishes for the gradient: 30 Love by Acquarella (yellow green), Sea-quin by Piggy Paint (turquoise), Mahalo by Acquarealla (bright blue), and Dream Car by Acquarella (metallic blue-green).
This was my first time attempting a sponge gradient manicure. I was happy with how the colors looked together, but I wish I could have achieved a smoother texture.
If you would like to try this look, here is how to do a gradient manicure.
Supplies for a gradient manicure with water based nail polish:
- 2-6 colors of water based nail polish,
- Clear base coat and clear top coat,
- Make-up sponges,
- Q-tips, and
Steps for a gradient manicure:
Apply a layer of clear base coat and allow it to dry.
Paint your nails with the lightest color of water based nail polish in your gradient and allow them to dry.
There are a few methods for using a sponge to make a gradient on your nails.
The method that sounded the easiest is to paint a line of each color of nail polish directly onto the sponge. Then dab the sponge onto your nail. Re-apply nail polish to the sponge for each nail. I tried this method first, but was not happy with the results. It created too many bubbles in the nail polish. If you use this method, start by trimming the sponge to a little more than the width of your thumbnail.
I was not happy with the bubbly texture of the nail polish, so I decided to try another approach. I re-painted my nails with 30 Love and started over again.
You can also achieve a gradient by applying one color of water based nail polish at a time. For this method, start by painting your nails with base coat and the lightest color of polish in your gradient.
Tear off a small piece of sponge. Paint your second color of nail polish onto the sponge. Starting at the tip of your nail, dab the polish down your nail, leaving some of the base color exposed. Re-apply nail polish to the sponge for each nail. Allow your nails to dry.
Use another piece of sponge for the third color of polish. This time dab from the tip of your nail to the middle of your nail. Re-apply nail polish to the sponge for each nail. Allow your nails to dry.
Finally, use another piece of sponge for the fourth color of water based nail polish. Dab this color only onto the tips of your nails. Re-apply nail polish to the sponge for each nail. Allow your nails to dry.
Remove excess water based nail polish from your skin and cuticles with Q-tips and toothpicks dipped in water. If water is not enough to remove the polish, use a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover intended for water based nail polish.
Apply one or two generous coats of clear top coat. This helps to even out the texture of the nail polish. I used Acquarella Conditioner as the base and top coats for this manicure.
Allow the nail polish to dry thoroughly. This is especially important for water based nail polish, which can take 4-6 hours to fully dry. Avoid taking a warm shower or washing dishes.
I went to the beach to take photos of my summer nails, but the sun was not very bright and the water looked more grey than green and blue. I meant for my manicure to match the ocean, but I inadvertently made it match the shorts I was wearing. I’m one of those matchy-matchy people and like my nails to match my clothes.
What do you think of the gradient manicure trend? Do you know how to eliminate bubbles from the manicure?