This Easy Nail Art Trend Solves Your Biggest Manicure Struggle


If you have to arrive at the nail salon 15 minutes before your appointment because you’re the most indecisive person on the planet when it comes to picking your manicure color, then this nail art trend will speak to you.

Instead of choosing one shade from the salon’s nail polish wall, whole-hand gradient nails lets you pick five. The manicure trend is a natural progression from the ring finger accent nail that you and your friends probably thought was the coolest way to switch up your regular paint job during the nail art explosion of the early 2000s. “Accent nails were the first step into nail art,” says Sarah Gibson Tuttle, founder/CEO of LA’s Olive & June Salon. “Now people are excited to go bigger, bolder, and painting your nails different colors is a really fun way to change up your nail look.”

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There’s two ways to try this easy, multicolored nail art trend. The first is painting your nails five different shades to create a left-to-right light-to-dark ombré effect:

Daydreamin' of these shades for a #ManiMonday ❤️ #nails using @essiepolish #karengnails

A post shared by Karen Gutierrez (@karengnails) on Mar 7, 2016 at 1:33pm PST

The other take is choosing five complementary polishes that are in the same color family or contrast one another:

fake spring 🙂

A post shared by Katie Merchant (@thankyou_ok) on Jan 28, 2018 at 7:44am PST

A post shared by Katie Merchant (@thankyou_ok) on Jan 21, 2018 at 7:57am PST

Whatever approach you take, selecting the right nail polish colors for your manicure is key. Tuttle suggests not worrying about what’s trendy right now, but picking colors that you’re comfortable with. If you usually paint your nails in neutral shades, try a gradient effect with nudes or pinks. For a bolder look, experiment with mixing and matching your favorite bright polishes.

Aside from the nail polish selection, this trend involves little skill aside from just knowing simply how to paint your nails. But, once you do master a whole-hand gradient manicure, you’ve still got options if you want to really get fancy.

The next level is painting two contrasting colors on each nail like this design by AKIKO Nails in New York:

Just in time for #NYFW ? Opposing Views ? from one of our chicest clients @alyssainthecity ✨〰 – design by Tahsiyn @thenailphilosophy

A post shared by AKIKO Nails ✨ (@akikonails_nyc) on Feb 6, 2018 at 6:40pm PST

Divide your nail bed in half by placing a piece of Scotch tape on one side, and paint the tape-free side of the nail with the first color. Once it’s dry, remove the tape and paint the other half of the nail with the opposing shade.

Expect your barista to be impressed on your expertise at wearing multiple nail polish shades at once the next time you hand them your credit card to pay for your coffee.


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