Gradient Manicure

Where on earth did April go? I feel like I've been pretty out of the loop lately, but one thing that I've loved seeing is the Gradient Manicure, popular on Pinterest and among bloggers. I have yet to see this hit mainstream America (magazines etc), and a friend even said that she asked a nail tech if she could get this look, and was told "No, I don't know what that is or how it's done." To quote Scrangie:

You know what I'm not disappointed in?  The Nailasaurus.  Not only has she had amazing nail art since, oh forever, but she did this gradient nail tutorial (with tons of pictures) that had even me saying "I can do this."

Then I was reading Twitter when I came across this from The PolishAholic:

I knew that I had to try this NOW.

I decided to use Zoya Zuza and Carly from the Summer 2012 "Surf" Collection.  I didn't have any makeup sponges but I had eyeshadow brushes which are the perfect width of my nail.  I had a plastic paper sheet protector (like the one from the Nailasaurus tutorial).

I learned some quick lessons.
1:  Don't skip steps.  I tried to just sponge on Carly and I ended up with this weird LINE of polish.  Then I put the colors side by side and swirled with a toothpick and all was right in the world.
2:  When in doubt, add Spectraflair.  More on this later, but let's just say it took my manicure from awesome to AWESOME.
3:  Get photographs next time.  (oops)

Here are some iPhone snaps that I did get of my experience!

Now with Spectraflair!

And in horrible light!

I ended up wearing this manicure for 4 days before it started to show tip wear on my right hand so I removed it.  I used Poshe base coat, 2 coats of Zuza, sponged Carly, and 2 coats of SpectraFlair mixed with Seche Vite.  I did have a little bit of blue staining from Zuza, but a quick scrub under soapy water and a nail brush fixed me up.  I can't wait to try this again!

Disclosure: The product[s] in this post was [were] provided to me by the company for consideration.  For more information, please read this post.


  1. It's so pretty, Krystal!! I just love it!

  2. Gorgeous! I absolutely love the gradient trend!

    And hearing that another nail tech said that they flat out didn't know what it was or how to do it is damn shameful. As a blogger and an apprenticing nail tech I feel like nail tech professionals should be on top of the trends. This crazy backwards world I tells ya. :p

    1. Thank you! I'm right there with you... I hated hearing that from her. She always has plain white french tipped nails, so to hear she was excited about trying something new had me giddy! Then to be told "I don't know what that is and we can't do it." Sad panda.

  3. That looks awesome! Great job! I think I may be inspired to try this look someday. :-)

  4. Looks gorgeous! I love this style and have been trying to perfect it after seeing so many great tutorials! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Have you see the yet? Holy crap her vertical gradient pastels have me so excited!

  5. Stunning gradient! I love this!

  6. I know, it's so weird how out of touch some nail techs can be... But now I'm definitely going to have to try a bolder ombre. I did a neon one last year and a pastel one this year...but I need some shimmer ones now..