I fell in love with gradient manis last year, when photos of Lauren Conrad sporting them started popping up all over the style interwebs. The good news: you don’t need five different bottles of polish to pull this look off. Keep reading for a simple how-to!
– one nail polish in the color of your choice (I used O.P.I.’s Malaga Wine)
– white nail polish (I picked up a little bottle of nail art polish for $1.99 at the drugstore)
– a good base/top coat
– nail polish remover
– a clean polish brush (use one from an old bottle of polish or a sample, and clean with nail polish remover)
– a small orange stick or toothpick
– parchment paper
Step 1: Start with clean nails, and a thin coat of base. When the base is dry, paint both of your thumb nails with the original color.
Step 2: Drop a few large drops of the original color onto parchment paper…
… And slowly add drops of white polish until you reach your desired gradient effect. The first color you make will be the color for your pointer fingers. For a more subtle gradient, use less white; for a more drastic gradient, add more white.
Step 3: Using a small orange stick or toothpick, carefully mix the white into the original color. Do this gently, or you’ll get a lot of air bubbles in the polish.
Step 4: Using a clean polish brush (I used one from an old sample bottle of O.P.I. top coat, and cleaned it with nail polish remover before I got started) apply the new color to both of your pointer fingers. While they dry, soak the polish brush in a capful of nail polish remover to remove the color and get it clean and ready for the next finger.
Repeat steps 2-4 three more times for each set of fingers (left and right), adding more white each time to make lighter and lighter shades. Seal the entire manicure with a good top coat.