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How-To: Nail Art Gradient without a sponge

Finally I'm getting to do this post I've planned for a few weeks now :D

Doing a nail art gradient is reallly easy, it just takes a very long time to dry because of all the layers you have to pile on top (you'll see what I mean...) but the end result is totally worth it. Usually I do this while I watch a movie / watch multiple episodes of gossip girl so that it gives plenty of time for my nails to dry.

First, you need to have one shade as your 'main' shade. I would suggest something semi-opaque, sparkle/shimmer-free jelly type. Essie hi-maintenance, OPI bubble bath would be some ideas, although they don't have to be pink based, they can be beige based too.

The second shade you would need is the bottom colour. This can be anything but I find lighter/shimmery/sparkly semi-opaque colours work better than really dark ones, which require a lot more practice. I used Lipmann Collection 'Believe' in this tutorial but you can see from my past posts I've used Lavender Chanel, and multiple others.

So let us...begin!

First you take clean nails and apply a base to inhibit yellowing of nails.

Unscrew the tops of the nailpolish. You have to work rather quickly and so you don't want to waste time screwing and unscrewing caps.

Refer to the following the Diagram, where the pink shaded area is ESSIE, and the yellow shaded area is our LIPMANN colour:

By Step 11, your left hand should be finished and you could then start with your right hand (the harder side...if your right handed :p)

Do each step per hand, i.e. for step 2, start from your thumb and colour your left hand with ESSIE, then start step 3 from your thumb again and so on.

The time between each step will be just enough to prevent the colours from mixing BUT still be malleable enough for them to blend nicely.

I added extra pictures on the bottom to help you visualize each step better:

2. Colour all the nails on your left hand with Essie starting with your thumb

3. Colour 3/4 of your nails with Lipmann starting from your thumb

4. Colour the full nail with ESSIE fully over the whole nail

Keep repeating this until step 11!
11. After colouring with Lipmann for the last time, 1/4 end of the nail, let dry for a few minutes, then add a top coat. I used OPI


perfect nails for a conservative office :D once you get the hang of it you can try doing funkier colours too!

Please don't hesitate to leave a message if you have aaany questions or if something went wrong! I want to help :D GOOD LUCK!


  1. Wow these look great! i am so trying it this weekend. I just need to make sure I have time to let them dry. Do you always use the same shade as your bottom color and switch up the main color?

  2. Hey Marisol,

    I usually use milky pink Essie or a milky colour often used for doing french manicures :D

    I've tried the same milky pink Essie with Lavender here and I tried it with a sparkly blue polish Here .

    If you want to use a different colour than a clear milky white, then I would suggest the sponge method.

    The nail art I did Here has a yellow base, with pink and red as gradation.

    I'm going to post about the sponge method next :D

    Tell me how it goes marisol I'm dying to know! <3

  3. I really like the final result,it's pretty amazing! :) I must try it sometimes :)

  4. Hey Tavia! Thanks :D yeah for sure and when you do make sure you tell me so that I can seeee!

  5. You have beautiful nails! Thanks for the tutorial, I've always wondering about gradient nails, someday I need to try this!

  6. Thank you so much for the great details on making a gradient. I have been admiring them and had no idea. Very appreciated! :)

  7. These are great!! I used OPI bubble bath as the base then OPI pros & bronze for the Main colour. Live it! Thank you :D


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