Perfect for any season, occasion, and lifestyle, ombre nails are taking the beauty industry by storm, and are therefore an integral part of any nail tech’s arsenal. In a world where we’re spoiled for choice in just about everything, ombre nails don’t force your clients to choose just one color.
Not only do they get options, but you also get the chance to create unique new looks with all sorts of different designs and finishes to choose from.
So, grab your ombre nail kits, more reliable base and top coats, and favorite polish colors as we give you the necessary tips and tricks to create ombre nails that would make any top manicurist swoon.
What Are Ombre Nails?
As you may already be well aware, ombre nails are composed of two (or sometimes more!) different color tones that you blend to create a gradient, ombre effect with a glossy finish.
Since you are incorporating more variables into this look than you would with just a single-colored manicure, it is easy to get creative with and inject personality into each individual design.
While these multiple parts and the glamorous final look may make ombre nails seem complicated to effortlessly recreate, we are happy to report that this manicure is easy to make as long as you have the tools you need and follow the proper steps.
Before you can let loose with the innovative ombre nail looks you may already be cooking up in your head, you first must make sure that you have all of the basic tools needed to get started.
For any ombre nail manicure, you will need:
- Different polish colors or tones: You will want to have many different nail polish shades on hand in order to be best prepared to create the look your client wants and to meet all of their demands.
- Base coat: A base coat is a necessary part of any high-quality nail job. Not only does it help the nail polish stick to your clients’ nails, but it also protects the nails from any of the polish’s potentially negative effects like peeling or staining.
- Top coat: Not to be confused with the base coat, the top coat goes atop the primer-like base coat to give the nails your client’s desired texture and finish. It also serves as an extra layer to harden and strengthen the manicure.
- Sponge makeup wedges: Sponge makeup wedges (which can be either latex or latex-free depending on your client’s preferences or allergies) are what will take this look to the next level. You can find them at any drugstore, so make sure to have them on hand.
- Nail polish remover: Having a reliable nail polish remover handy will help you to go big and bold with your polish application and design without fear.
- Tape (optional): For those who are extra meticulous about cleanliness and control. This will be used to keep the sponge fresh and free of debris.
- Scissors (optional): Scissors are optional for those of you who would like to further adjust sponge makeup wedges to better fit the nails of each individual client.
1. Begin With the Base
Apply one (or more) layer of base coat in order to prime your client’s nail for what is to come. Make sure to let this dry fully before moving on.
2. Prep the Sponge (Optional)
If you have tape and/or scissors on hand, use these to prep the sponge. First, you can use your scissors to cut the wedge to make a narrower flat edge that fits the width of your client’s nail for the most precise amount of protection and coverage.
Then, you can use your tape to dab the wedge, ensuring that it is both clean and rid of loose particles or other debris that could get stuck in your client’s nails.
3. Choose Colors and Apply to Sponge
As the base layer nears complete dryness, you can take the time to help your client decide what colors and style they would like to go for with their ombre nails.
Once the base coat is dry and the colors have been chosen, you can add each color directly onto the sponge in overlapping rows. It is important to make sure there are no gaps between the colors in order to give your client the sleek and professional finish they are looking for.
4. Dab Your Design
Gently dab the colored sponge onto one of your client’s nails, taking your time so that all of the polish fully transfers over.
When you see that all of the colors have made it from the sponge to the nail, you can move onto the next nail, repeating this same process until all fingernails have the desired ombre effect.
Pro Tip: You may want to dab the sponge on each nail between two to four times to ensure that each color, as well as the full ombre look, completely takes and sets.
5. Apply Top Coat
Finish off the newly-created ombre nails by applying the top coat onto each nail immediately after all have been thoroughly dabbed with the sponge. This will prevent the nails from chipping or breaking, and will also seal each nail with a strong and glossy finish.
6. Clean It All Up
Grab your nail polish remover and a cotton swab to gently clean up the area around the completed ombre nails to make sure that the skin is free of any rogue polish. This final step acts as the last touch-up and examination before your client’s pro-looking ombre nails are ready to be flaunted to the rest of the world (and social media, too).
Popular Design Options and Ideas
Due to the dynamic nature of this manicure, you practically have the world to choose from when it comes to designing ombre nails that would make any client jump for joy. Here are some of the most popular styles and looks now that you may want to familiarize yourself with and practice in order to properly satisfy any and every ombre nail need.
This slight twist on the classic and beloved French manicure nail creates a professional, polished, and effortlessly chic look that adds a whole new layer of depth to the original clean-lined French look. The French ombre nail works for any outfit, day, and occasion, and is, therefore, a must-know for any nail tech hoping to do ombre nails like a pro.
The glitter ombre nail is a great one to cater to your bolder clients hoping to add a little extra pizzazz and personality to their ombre look. While a glitter ombre look can be daring and eye-catching, it can also be a bit more subtle, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the whole spectrum of glitter nail possibilities in order to cater to each individual client’s needs.
With a whole broad spectrum of colors to mix and choose from, your clients may decide to narrow their focus by matching their nails to the season.
So feel free to stock up on your reds, yellows, and oranges during the fall, and pinks, yellows, and blues during the spring, so that you are ready for a potential influx of clients wishing to decorate their nails with the season's greeting.
Perhaps you are trying to cater to a client with a strict dress code or who works in a serious professional setting. You can give them a nude ombre nail to make sure that they don’t have to sacrifice stunning nails for the harsher demands of daily life.
The nude ombre creates a mature, sleek, and chic appearance that will blend well in just about any setting, while still helping your client feel effortlessly elegant.
The ombre coffin nail’s distinctive and eye-catching shape may seem a bit intimidating to both you and your clients at first, but trust us when we say that these fierce-looking nails are nothing to be feared.
The right palettes will elevate any regular coffin nail look to become beloved statement pieces that you will definitely want to have in your repertoire.
The matte nail design will give the ombre nails a shine-free and slightly muted finish that allows the colors and their smooth blending to pop. Muted does not have to mean boring, after all, so you will definitely want to know how to cater to clients clamoring for this modern and trendy look.
Perhaps you feel that you have mastered the ombre nail and you want a real challenge that will knock the socks out of nail and art lovers alike. Turn to the rainbow ombre nail to create a delightful and vibrant design that is full of personality and pride.
This higher-level ombre nail style will take more practice and patience to achieve and perfect than the other ones, so you may want to slowly work up to this one. When you feel that you are ready, however, by all means, do jump in.
While ombre nails may look difficult, with some time and effort, you, too, can easily replicate this gorgeous gradient design, and even be able to achieve all different kinds of looks and styles.
We at Valentino Beauty Pure are here to help cater to all of your biggest nail needs, so feel free to refer back to this article and our site to stay on the path to achieving professional manicurist-level ombre nails.