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French Manicure Ombre Nail Tutorial

French Manicure Gradient Nail Art Tutorial | HQhair Blog

French Ombre Nails

Time for a twist on the classic French manicure!

Everyone loves a good French mani – they’re elegant, sophisticated and they make your nails look beautifully healthy. But doing a traditional French manicure yourself is more than a little tricky, and they can get a bit boring after a while. So in typical HQhair style, we’ve decided to change it up and go for an ombre version. It’s super simple to do so we’ve got a little nail tutorial for you as well…

Want more of where this came from? Read our guide to the best nail polish.

How to do ombre french nails

Ombre nail art is so easy to do, but it looks really fancy, and you’re bound to get a few people asking you were you got your nails done!

For this French manicure style, you’ll need just two nail polishes, a pale pink and a white. We’ve used these two from the Rita Ora by Rimmel collection for a pearlescent end result: Lose Your Lingerie and White Hot Love. However, we’d recommend using the shades Caramel Cupcake and Ethereal Nude for a more polished and elegant end result. These polishes are perfect because they blend together really easily and they have a very subtle shimmer which helps hide any imperfections in your nails. Plus they have an amazing wide brush so they’re easy to use on their own as well!

French Manicure Gradient Nail Art Tutorial | HQhair Blog

The secret ingredient for creating that beautifully blended ombre nail look is a makeup sponge! Any kind will do, as long as it’s flat and big enough to cover the surface of your nails.

Make Up Sponge, french fade nails | HQhair Blog

The products you’ll need to create a french ombre manicure

  • Base coat
  • Top coat
  • Pink nail varnish
  • White nail varnish
  • Makeup sponge
  • Nail Varnish remover

Find our edit of the best products below

French Ombre Nail Art Tutorial

  1. Use a base coat

    Start off with clean, dry nails. Use a nail file to smooth any rough edges, and apply one layer of your favourite base coat - we like to use OPI Start to Finish.
  2. Apply nail varnish to your makeup sponge

    Take your makeup sponge and paint your pink and white polishes directly on to the flat surface. Paint a large stripe of pink and then a narrower white stripe above it, as in the picture.
  3. Apply nail varnish to your nail

    Then press the sponge on to your nail, almost like a stamp. Make sure you cover the whole nail with polish. Don’t worry if it seems really sheer, the colour will soon build up to create the perfect french ombre nails. Reapply the polish to the sponge and press it on to your next nail.
  4. Re-apply more coats of nail varnish

    Repeat the process on all your nails, and then go back and apply a second and third coat. Keep going until the colour is completely opaque and you are happy with the ombre french fade nails effect. Leave to dry.
  5. Clean up

    Now it’s time to clean up! Use a small brush (like a concealer brush) dipped in acetone or strong nail polish remover, sweep it around your nails to remove any polish on your skin. You can use the brush to create a smooth line around the cuticle for a super-professional finish to your french manicure ombre nails.
  6. Finish with a top coat

    Finish off with a generous layer of top coat to seal in your nail art and make it last longer – we recommend Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat. Apply some cuticle oil or balm to moisturise the skin, since the acetone will have dried it out – Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter is a great one. And you’ve mastered your first french ombre nails!

This simple ombre french nails manicure would be perfect for so many occasions, from the office to an evening out – it would even be beautiful for a wedding! You could always mix and match the colours for something more exciting, or keep it classic with pink and white.

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I'm often referred to as 'the nail girl' because I love nail art - I have over 200 bottles of nail polish at home! But I love all things beauty; especially anything neon bright or packed with glitter. Growing up, I was a bit of a nerdy kid, so playing with colourful makeup or wacky hairstyles became my creative outlet - so it's great that this has become my job! You'll spot me at the bar, probably wearing sequins, drinking a Singapore Sling.

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