How To

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How to: Tropical Ombré Nail Art

Mon, 7 January 2013 4:06PM

Although we’ve come back feeling refreshed from our break, here at PRIMPED HQ we’re still dreaming of lazy summer days by the beach.

Especially after having seen this seaside snap of Constance Jablonski in Vogue Brazil … sigh.

Not surprisingly, I was inspired to get a little creative with my nail art…

Image: Fashion Gone Rogue/Vogue Brazil/Henrique Gendre

I’ve officially coined these nails Tropical Tips, but the technical term would be better known as ombré nail art, or even sponged nails, which you have probably seen before.

The tropical component, however, is all in the colour selection, Primpers, so we’re turning to summery, sea-inspired hues like a beautiful bright yellow – we love Maybelline Color Show in Fierce N Tangy, $5.95, from pharmacies – and a vivid ocean blue – in this case, OPI Nail Lacquer in Can’t Find My Czechbook, $19.95, David Jones.

Let’s get started. Here’s what you’ll need …

  • Two nail polishes – one blue, one yellow
  • Base and top coat
  • A latex makeup sponge

Step 1:

Working on clean, dry nails, slick on a coat of base coat and wait for it to dry thoroughly.

Step 2:

Grab your piece of sponge and paint a strip of yellow polish, and then a strip of blue nail polish a little bit thicker above it. Try not to leave a gap in between the strokes.

Step 3:

Press the sponge down onto a scrap piece of paper so that the colours can merge together.

Step 4:

Working quickly to ensure that the nail polish remains wet, place the sponge over your nail as close to the base as possible (so you don’t have to clean up too much spillage on your nail bed). Press it down in the same spot a few times and don’t worry if the colours smudge – this will actually make it look more realistic. Then, use a cotton tip dipped in remover or a Revitanail Precision Corrector, $12.95, Priceline, to clean up any spillage around your edges and underneath the nail.

Step 5:

Repeat Steps 2 – 4 on each nail, ensuring you tidy around your nail beds after each finger so the polish doesn’t dry onto your cuticles.

Step 6:

Add a slick of top coat on each nail, and wait around 10 minutes until it your polish is thoroughly dry. Here’s the finished product!

However if you still want to try summery nails but aren’t a fan of getting too technical with your nail art, try the limited edition Kit Cosmetics Nail Strips, $9.95, Kit Cosmetics, which come in three tropical-inspired prints. Like all other nail strips, the application process is super-simple – stick them down, smooth them on, a trim off any excess – voilà!

Tell me, Primpers, have you ever tried ombré nails?

What colour combination would you use?

Or would you rather try the nail strips?

Hayley x

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Share How to: Tropical Ombré Nail Art



  • Posted by: PrettyPrincess Master Fan // Mon, 7 January 2013 09:03pm

    I’d give this a go when I have a bit of free time for experimenting.

  • Posted by: anitas.artistry Master Fan // Tue, 8 January 2013 08:57am

    Cool idea.
    I’d try pink and purple.

  • Posted by: lovefashionangel Master Fan // Tue, 8 January 2013 10:14am

    It reminds me of the beach and the sun and skies! Btw the new primped banner is looking good :)

  • Posted by: loopylexy Master Fan // Tue, 8 January 2013 12:28pm

    I’ve tried this to no success, my sponge soaked up all my nail polish. I read somewhere afterwards that you’re meant to soak the sponge in water so it doesn’t absorb the nail polish. Maybe next time :(

  • Posted by: Hayley Bennett Enthusiast // Tue, 8 January 2013 01:45pm

    Hi loopylexy! I didn’t soak mine in water; in fact quite the opposite as I had to dab the sponge a few times for the colour to be pigmented enough. Maybe try a different nail polish and see how you go? Let me know if you need any more help xH

  • Posted by: anitas.artistry Master Fan // Tue, 8 January 2013 04:45pm

    Or maybe a different sponge loopylexy. Some are more porous than others.

  • Posted by: Sparkles17 Master Fan // Mon, 14 January 2013 12:00pm

    Cute and summery! Will experiment soon!

  • Posted by: Jessielyn Master Fan // Fri, 18 January 2013 07:21pm

    I had the same issue, loopylexy. Were yours the cheaper makeup sponges? I got mine from Woolies and they just sucked up the polish like it was going out of fashion. Wahhhh :(

  • Posted by: GorgeousEmeralds Master Fan // Wed, 23 January 2013 09:21pm

    I think I need to put some time aside for experimentation…love your nails!

  • Posted by: crystal Enthusiast // Wed, 6 February 2013 10:15pm

    This is so clever. So summery.

  • Posted by: Snezana-1319445104 Enthusiast // Fri, 15 March 2013 05:39pm

    Great tips!

  • Posted by: jo77 Master Fan // Wed, 17 April 2013 06:32pm

    The perfect accompaniment to a Pina Colada!!

  • Posted by: cookiesandcream Devotee // Wed, 24 April 2013 09:54am

    one of the prettiest, yet oh so simple nail art tutorials ive seen

  • Posted by: Claire88 Master Fan // Sun, 2 June 2013 10:08pm

    I love this look , might give it a go this week end, maybe a mauve and purple combination.

  • Posted by: jessica88 Newbie // Mon, 3 June 2013 12:02pm

    I like the colour combos here.

  • Posted by: thecatwhosawstars Master Fan // Wed, 5 June 2013 10:49am

    Love this and love the colours used. I think it would look great with a wide variety of colours. I’d like to see it in red and orange.

  • Posted by: diva89 Master Fan // Sun, 9 June 2013 04:02pm

    great tips! i havent tried the ombre mails yet, but i do have fing’rs ombre nail polishes and i’ll try it soon

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Tue, 25 June 2013 07:25pm

    The Kit Cosmetics Nail Strips look right up my ally, something relatively easy to do.

  • Posted by: diva89 Master Fan // Thu, 18 July 2013 12:50pm

    love ombre nails!

  • Posted by: Sandi // Fri, 20 September 2013 07:34am

    Tried sponging..damp, dry, striping the sponge..etc. what I found was this. I used 3 colors. Base coated the lightest shade on entire nail. Striped 3 colors on paper, blended with a toothpick,then dipped a shadow wand into the color,picking up all the shades. This I rolled onto the nail gently, and built up the color in about 2 coats. Add some glitter, top coat it and done! NO cleanup, because there is no color transfer to the skin with this method!

  • Posted by: brinsley Master Fan // Sun, 20 July 2014 10:27am

    I love this look! I think a bright red and deep green would be fantastic @ Christmas! I just think this would take me too long to do though, I pretty much stick to a simple application of one colour because I don’t have the time to spend doing my nails for long —- but I love the look! Maybe for next Christmas 😀

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Fri, 17 July 2015 05:37pm

    Love nail art this looks good and would be fun to do.

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