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How to Get Ombre Nails (and 19 Stunning Ways to Rock Them)

These monochromatic manis are anything but boring
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In all the their gradient glory, ombre nails are a unique way to elevate a basic manicure without an elaborate nail design. From monochromatic fades to sunset explosions, ombre nails appeal to the colorphile in all of us -- and are surprisingly easy execute. All you need is nail polish, a small sheet of paper, a nail sponge and a little confidence.

Already know how to ombre? Skip ahead too see our ombre nail inspiration gallery now >>

Ombre Nails How-To:

1. Prep your nails with a base coat (we like Butter London Nail Foundation Priming Basecoat, $18). This will lengthen the lifespan of your manicure.

2. Once dry, apply the lightest shade of your nail polish colors as your base. Pro tip: If you want a more vibrant ombre design, use a white nail polish as your base (using your lightest nail polish color creates a softer and more whimsical look).

3. To avoid getting polish on your fingertips during the next step (and having to ruthlessly scrub your fingers later), apply Vaseline to the cuticles and around your nails.

4. Next, create your gradient by painting your ombre nail colors in straight, horizontal lines side by side, slightly overlapping each other on a small piece of paper. You'll want to start with the lightest polish color at the top and descend into darker shades as you implement more polish colors (or vice versa, depending on the look you're going for). Two or three colors are the perfect number to create ombre nails.

5. Next, take your nail sponge and lightly press it down on your polish-painted paper. Then, take your polish-infused sponge and carefully stamp the polish onto your nails.

6. To ensure you have a blended gradient, gently roll the polish onto your nails by slowly rolling the sponge from left to right on your nail repeatedly until you reach your desired hue. In between presses, you can assess whether or not the ombre is dark enough.

7. Finish your ombre nails with a swipe of top coat to lock in your colors.

If you're more of a visual person, you can also watch this ombre nails tutorial.

Now that you know how to create ombre nails yourself (yeah, you fancy girl), it's time to get inspired with our favorite ombre nail looks. Here, 19 ombre nails to copy immediately (because now you totally can).

Image via @rubiknails

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Amp Up the Sexy
Just like the classic red lip, red nails will always slay in our books. Transform your traditional red manicure and channel your inner vixen by combining your favorite red nail polishes like these ombre nails.

Image via @paintboxnails

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Midnight Skies
In case you still associate black nail polish with goth or heavy metal music, this ombre nails look that pays homage to the Milky Way should change your mind. Simply paint on the gradient with grey and black polish, leaving room at the cuticles for a bare nail, then swipe on a colorful glitter polish like Essie Nail Polish, $9, in Set in Stones for your take on a starry night.

Image via @sparrownails

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Matte Mountains
If you're feeling particularly artsy and want to reach new heights with your ombre nails, try this chevron-esque spin. Nail artist Cambria Proskine recreates the hazy hues of misty mountains using OPI Nail Lacquer in Alpine Snow and Matte Top Coat, along with black and white acrylic paint (though any matte black and white nail polish will do).

Image via @nailsbycambria

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De-Stressor at Your Fingertips
Superstressed at work? These glitter ombre nails are here for you. The color purple is attributed with being calming, and inspires peace and relaxation. Simply swipe on your three favorite purple polishes, and create ombre nails that are your instant antidote for anxiety.

Image via @mikasnails

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