Ombré nail art tutorial

Wednesday, August 12th 2015 Nails

Collection nail polishes ombre

Ombré, or gradient, nails, have been popular for a while now. I’ve always thought that they looked really cool, and my Pinterest nail board is full of tutorials and inspiration.  I’m sure some of you will be asking ‘what on earth is ombré?!’ – ombré is when you have a gradient of colour, from light to dark. I first became aware of it when it was a popular trend for hair colour, dark at the roots and light at the bottom (I called my hair an unintentional ombré when I was too broke to go and get the regrowth done!). I’ve had a couple of unsuccessful attempts at ombré nails, but I knew I had to have another go at it. I watched a tutorial by Nailed it NZ, gathered the equipment necessary and sat down to do it!

This wasn’t the best nail art I’ve ever done, which is why I’m saying how (not) to do Ombré nails – so you can learn from the mistakes that I made. I was going to not post this at all but my friends said they thought it would be helpful, so I hope it is 🙂

How to do ombre nail art

Here are (almost) all of the things that I needed to make my dream of Ombré nails come true – there were a couple more items I had to get during the process of this.

My plans for tonight – any guesses what the result is going to look like? 💅

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  • Collection Work The Colour nail polishes – Purplicious (12) and Lilac Daze* (22)
  • Sally Hansen XTreme Wear – White On
  • Zoya Color Lock system* (base coat, top coat, quick dry drops)
  • sponge
  • dotting tool (toothpick would easily work)
  • Plastic lid or plate
  • basic mani equipment for prep like cuticle remover, cuticle oil, nail file, nail polish remover

Zoya Color lock system

I filed my nails and used cuticle remover to get them in tip top condition before stating on the manicure. I applied the Zoya Anchor base coat (you could use any base coat, but I was testing out the Zoya Color Lock system), and then Sally Hansen White On, followed by the Zoya fast drops.

Sally Hansen White on polish

Now the hard part begins! I painted some of each colour on this plastic lid, and used my dotting tool to blend them together a bit.

Collection polishes on palette

I quickly realised that the pink sponge left little bits on my nails – I think it was the latex. Being the resourceful person I am, I remembered seeing someone online do this with the little sponge applicators that come with some eyeshadows, so I grabbed some of the ones I had lying around and used those. My strategy was to use one side for the light purple, one for the dark, and then blend it together in the middle.

Collection nail polishes ombre

This is how they looked – not quite as good as I had hoped, but not terrible. My nail art friends told me that applying a top coat really makes it all blend together and look much nicer. First, I had to clean up around the edges with acetone and a small brush – I do this with all my manicures since it makes it look 100x nicer, but since this was so messy it was particularly neccessary.

sponge gradient nails

Pre-clean up

Definite improvement with clean up done and Zoya Armor and fast drops applied. This is a great topcoat, it gives a glossy finish kind of like a gel manicure. I’ve used the Zoya Color Lock system previously, and while it doesn’t last quite as long as a proper gel manicure it’s one of the best top and base coats that I’ve used!

Sponge gradient ombre nails

The final product

Overall I’m pretty proud of my effort, but I know there’s room for improvement at the art of Ombré nail art,! I bought some non-latex sponges at Kmart over the weekend and I’m planning to try sponge gradient nails again. This was a time consuming project though, I watched several episodes of The Office while I was doing this, so it’ll have to wait for the weekend.

collection purplicious and lilac daze ombre nails

Where can I buy…

  • Collection nail polishes? Countdown supermarket, in New Zealand. For UK stockists visit their website
  • Zoya nail polishes? from Zoya New Zealand here, selected nail salons, and Kirkaldie & Stains (Wellington). For international stockists visit
  • Sally Hansen nail polishes? Farmers, Kmart. For international stockists visit their website.

This post is part of a link up! In 2015 #brunchclub and #NZBloggers came together to create #BlogGreatness; a weekly prompt or suggestion to blog about – no matter your blogging genre. This week, the theme is Ombré. To see how other #nzbloggers took on the challenge of Ombré check out the Brunch Club website.



*Product provided for review by the brand



  • Ayla Zantarra Bargh

    Very cool read ☺ and another reason I do not attempt anything but my toes nails at home hehe


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