How To Do Ombre Nails Like A Pro: Tutorial With Pictures

Now learn how to create the best nail art designs like a pro from the comfort of your home.

Reviewed by Gabrielle Richens, Skin Therapist Gabrielle Richens Gabrielle RichensSkin Therapist facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (Mass Communication & Media Studies) Esha Saxena MA (Mass Communication & Media Studies) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) Joyce Joyson MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) linkedin_icon

Curious about how to do ombre nails? We have got you covered. The Instagram nail art videos are oddly satisfying and make you want those perfect nails and they are indeed such a beauty. The ombre effect is quite a tricky artwork, and you may want the assistance of an expert if you are a beginner. But did you know that you can master this art from the comfort of your home? We have compiled a list of uber-easy DIY nail art tutorials along with 5 beautiful designs. You can create them with or without sponges. So, indulge your inner artist and get ombre gradient nails at home. Swipe up!

protip_icon Keep In Mind
  • Sponge Wetness: Make sure that the sponge is neither too dry nor too wet. The former may lift and chip off the base coat while it may run down in case of the latter.
  • Colors: Pick colors that are adjacent on the color spectrum. It’s better to be subtle than stark.
  • Nail Length: Ombre nails can make your nails look small. Grow your nails a bit before you try this style.

How To Do Ombre Nails: Step-By-Step Tutorial (Pictures)

If you are a beginner, it is best to start with the original French ombre. The difference between a French manicure and a French ombre is that the white nail tips gradually diffuse into the flesh or a nude base instead of a stark distinction between the white nail tip and the nail base. This technique may sound intimidating, but you can easily do it with this step-by-step tutorial (with pictures). Swipe up!

What You Need

  • Base coat (clear nail polish)
  • White nail polish
  • Nude or flesh-toned nail polish
  • Liquid latex tape
  • Nail polish remover
  • A small brush or a Q-tip
  • Disposable makeup sponge
  • Top coat

Step 1: Apply The Base Coat

Apply the base coat as step 1 of ombre nails
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

Start with manicured nails. Apply the base coat to protect your nails and let them dry.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Give 5-10 minutes for your clear base coat to dry before applying nail polish on top of it.

Step 2: Apply The Nude Or Flesh-Toned Nail Polish

Step 2 of ombre nails process is applying a couple of coats of nude nail polish
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

Apply two coats of nude or flesh-toned nail polish and let it dry.

Step 3: Apply The Liquid Latex Tape To The Cuticles

Step 3 of the ombre nails process is applying liquid latex tape to cuticles
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

Apply the liquid latex tape around your nails. It protects the skin from the mess and peels off easily. Wait for it to dry before moving on to the next step.

Before applying the liquid latex tape to your cuticles, consider applying a nourishing cuticle oil to keep your cuticles healthy and hydrated. This extra step will not only protect your skin but also promote nail health and a cleaner nail application process, making the nail polish last longer and keeping the polish shinier as well.

Step 4: Apply The White Nail Polish To The Sponge

Step 4 of the ombre nails process is applying white nail polish to the sponge
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

Layer a generous amount of white nail polish on the tip of the disposable sponge.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Dip the sponge in water before painting the colors. Keep squeezing the sponge until 80% of the water is gone. This is because too much water can stop the sponge from absorbing much nail paint and cause the polish to dry on the sponge too quickly.

Step 5: Apply The Nude Or Flesh-Toned Nail Polish To The Sponge

Step 5 of the ombre nails process is applying the nude or flesh-toned nail polish to the sponge
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

Layer a generous amount of nude or flesh-toned nail polish below the sponge tip to create a gradient effect.

Step 6: Dab The Sponge Onto The Nail

Step 6 of the ombre nails process is dabbing the sponge onto the nail
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

Hold the sponge so that the white nail polish is at the nail tip and dab it onto your nails.

Step 7: Repeat Steps 5 And 6

Repeat the steps of applying the polish on the sponge and stamping on nails
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

Layer some more nail polish on the sponge and stamp it over your nails to get the desired color intensity. Let it dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 8: Remove The Liquid Latex Tape

Remove liquid latex tape to get ombre nails
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

Peel off the liquid latex tape using a brush or your fingers.

Step 9: Apply The Top Coat

apply the top coat
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

Apply the top coat to smooth out any texture and give your nails a shiny look.

Final Result

The final look of ombre nails
Image: YouTube @yanairbe

There you have it, your transition to beautiful French ombre nails. You can use multiple colors to create an ombre effect or glamorous glitter ombre nails. The following videos will help you understand how to create colorful ombre nails and glitter ombre. Scroll down to check them out.

How To Do Colorful Ombre Nails At Home (Video)

French ombre is classic. But if your heart reaches out for other colors and not just nude shades, go all-in with your color sense to create beautiful ombre nails at home. Check out the following video to get inspiration and a few tips for colorful gradient nails.
Ooh! That looks super good! But, if you do not want to create a glitter ombre without a sponge, we have a tutorial. Just keep scrolling!

5 Ways To Do Ombre Nails With And Without A Sponge (Video)

Using a sponge is a popular way to create ombre nails. But you can also use the polish brush tip to create ombre nails with regular nail polishes or glitter nail polishes. Check the following video out to get a 360 of all the options you have to create ombre nails at home.

Learn how to create a beautiful ombre nail look in minutes! Follow this video for an easy tutorial and you’ll be rocking this trendy style in no time.


Scroll down to explore a few ombre nail design ideas and how to do them easily at home.

5 Best Ombre Nail Design Ideas

1. Deep Red And Black Ombre Nails

Step-by-step process to do deep red and black ombre nails
Image: Shutterstock

Red and black ombre nails make for the perfect Halloween manicure. If you are not fond of this color combo, you can combine white and red for a more Valentine’s Day feel. The deep red looks extremely stylish and feminine. Here’s how you can recreate this design.

DIY Step-By-Step Process

Step 1: Apply a layer of base coat and allow it to dry.

Step 2: For your base color, apply deep red nail polish.

Step 3: Apply the same red and black nail polish on a sponge. Dab it onto your nails to create an ombre effect.

Step 4: Clean up around the nails.

Step 5: Apply a gel or a matte top coat.

2. Silver And Pink Glitter Ombre Nails

Step-by-step process to do silver and pink glitter ombre nails
Image: Shutterstock

This is one of the cutest ombre nail designs. Want to style your ombre nails with a glitter accent? This design does that perfectly with a subtle silver glitter nail polish on the accent fingernail. It is a breeze to recreate and can be done using a set of different colors.

DIY Step-By-Step Process

Step 1: Apply the white nail polish as the base coat.

Step 2: Apply the pastel pink and white nail paints on the sponge and dab it onto your nail.

Step 3: Repeat the step to intensify the ombre effect.

Step 4: Apply the silver glitter nail polish to your accent nail.

Step 5: Secure your manicure with a gel finish top coat.

3. Metallic Ombre Nail Design

Step-by-step process to do metallic ombre nail design
Image: YouTube @KelliMarissa

Want to glam up your outfit? This metallic ombre nail design will do the trick. It is not over-the-top but just the right amount of classy! Give this a shot if you have something special coming up.

DIY Step-By-Step Process

Step 1: Paint your nails with champagne or gold glitter nail polish and let them dry.

Step 2: Apply liquid latex around the nails.

Step 3: Apply some black and gold polish to your wedge sponge and gently dab it onto the nail edges.

Step 4: Once you are satisfied with the ombre effect, apply a layer of top coat to secure the manicure.

Step 5: Clean up the sides of your nails with a thin brush and some acetone.

4. Ombre Sunshine Nail Design

Step-by-step process to do ombre sunshine nail design
Image: YouTube @cutepolish

This ombre nail design is a must-try for your next beach holiday. The yellow, orange, and pink blend beautifully to give you this summer sunshine look.

DIY Step-By-Step Process

Step 1: Apply a base coat to protect your nails.

Step 2: Apply a white base color for the best gradient opacity and allow it to dry.

Step 3: Apply liquid latex around the nails.

Step 4: Apply three stripes of color to your makeup sponge, allowing the colors to overlap slightly.

Step 5: Dab it onto your nail and let the first layer dry. Reapply the colors onto the sponge and repeat the step.

Step 6: Finish off with a top coat to blend the gradient.

Step 7: Peel off the latex. Clear the edges around the cuticles with a brush and acetone.

5. Watercolor Ombre Nails

Step-by-step process to do watercolor ombre nails
Image: YouTube @NailCareerEducation

If you do not have a sponge or any other tools for your DIY nail art project, you can still do something very cool! These gorgeous watercolor ombre nails do not require any tools.

DIY Step-By-Step Process

Step 1: Apply a layer of base coat.

Step 2: Apply the first color to one half of your nail.

Step 3: Before the first color dries, apply the second color to the other half of your nail.

Step 4: Take the same two colors with a brush and blend them on a glass base.

Step 5: Apply the blended colors to your nails for a watercolor effect.

Step 6: Finish with a topcoat.

While single-color painted nails have their own charm, an ombre effect adds more pizzazz. You can dial up the effect or tone it down using muted or vibrant shades to reflect your current mood. Think of your nails as your canvas and let your creativity take over. Get your polishes out and create nail art that fades to nothing short of a masterpiece.

Key Takeaways

  • The effect in which two or more colors seamlessly blend into one another is called ombre.
  • In French ombre, the white nail tips gradually diffuse into a nude base.
  • You can create an ombre effect with different colors, metallic shades, and glitter as well.
  • You can also do ombre nails with or without a sponge.

Infographic: How To Do Ombre Nails Using Dip Powder

Ombre nails can take your nails from drab to fab. You can experiment with different shades of ombre according to your mood, the season, or the occasion. The good news is you can get these beautiful ombre nails done from the comfort of your home. We have given a detailed tutorial on how to get ombre nails using dip powder. Check out the infographic below to learn more.

how to do ombre nails using dip powder (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Ombre nails start light-hued at the top and bleed into a darker color at the bottom. However, you can also play around with vertical and diagonal ombre nail art. Experiment with color combinations and nail art accessories like glitter, rhinestones, stickers, etc. Don’t be shy to try out faux nails, especially if you have small or brittle nails. Faux nails allow you to experiment thoroughly without worrying about damaging your real nails. As you read up and practice how to do ombre nails, you will become a pro at acing this nail art trend. Then you can get more creative and design your unique nail art. So, get to painting your nails into masterpieces!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you do ombre on real nails?

Yes, you can do ombre on your real nails easily.

Can you do ombre with gel polish?

Yes, you can ombre with gel polish and a makeup sponge but it may take more time and requires practice.

Is ombre gel or acrylic?

While ombre nails are traditionally done using acrylic, ombre is also available in gel or dip powder. You can choose as per your preference.

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Gabrielle Richens

Gabrielle RichensSkin Therapist

Gabrielle Richens spent 20 years as a model with Elite Model Management. She is now a skin therapist, clean beauty blogger, and founder of The Rich Skin Club, an online anti-aging coaching service. She helps women understand the aging process and how to build routines that reverse the visible signs of premature aging. Gabrielle takes a holistic approach to full bio

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