manic[ure] monday: gradient effect

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!

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You’ll need:

– 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…

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… 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

What Do You Think?

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  1. gina4star wrote:

    Oh I really like it! What a great idea!! :)

    Posted 6.4.13 Reply
  2. I like the pics with the tutorial. Very cool. If you have more to share, we’d love to see what you have to show us about nails at

    Posted 4.29.12 Reply
  3. Betrose Given wrote:

    Newport Beach Opening – Bellacures

    The Bellacures Newport Beach grand opening is Jan. 12. Stop in and get $10 off your service (301 Marine Ave. Suite B – Newport Beach) ! You can also like Bellacures on FB to win a free manicure a month for a year! .

    Posted 1.6.12 Reply
  4. Betrose Given wrote:

    Studio City Promotion – Bellacures

    You can win a $500 gift card to Bellacures Nail Salon by visiting their Studio City Location! See their Facebook page for more details:

    Posted 1.6.12 Reply
  5. Bellacures wrote:

    Wow that is awesome!I I just love fashion nails and I love this post! I’m sure you’ll like this too. Bellacures Nail Salon is offering a $15 coupon for liking them on Facebook. Check it out here:

    Posted 11.17.11 Reply
  6. What a fantastic idea! I like the subtley of it. I don’t paint my nails often, but I might try this on my toenails!

    Posted 11.14.11 Reply
  7. CiCi wrote:

    So cute! Gonna try it this weekend :-)

    Posted 11.11.11 Reply
  8. Very cool! I love this and will definitely have to try it sometime soon!

    Posted 11.8.11 Reply
  9. So cool ! I loved your idea !

    Xoxo from Japan

    Posted 11.8.11 Reply
  10. laura wrote:

    awesome tutorial. such a fun, versatile look!

    Posted 11.8.11 Reply
  11. Cute and Creative !


    Posted 11.7.11 Reply
  12. Melina wrote:

    Ahh, I always wondered how to do this without getting several very similar colors! Such a great tutorial, thanks for sharing!!

    xx Melina

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply
  13. Stefanie wrote:

    This idea is so creative but so easy! Love it!

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply
  14. Sarah wrote:

    I really like this, so different but still classy!

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply
  15. Loren wrote:

    Love this! Great idea. Looks lovely.

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply
  16. soanthro wrote:

    Such a cute idea, will have to try this!!

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply
  17. This is fantastic! I will be giving this a go, thanks!

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply
  18. Looks cute! Nice twist from the usual all red or pink, but still subtle!

    Cess O. <3 The Outfit Diaries

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply