Every now and again, a nail art trend comes along that really sticks around, and gradient nails seem to be 2020’s version of ‘the chosen one’. Gradient nails are, put simply, ‘a twist on a regular one colour manicure that uses various shades of a colour,’ explains Marissa Marsh, senior nail artist at Still London. You’ll no doubt have seen the look all over Instagram, be it on your favourite salon’s feed, or the coolest influencers’ stories.
Essentially, the look comprises five different shades on each nail, and unsurprisingly, it has hailed from social media. An updated take on the ombre nail art trend, gradient nails were a hit in the ‘90s, as are they with younger generations looking to have more fun with nail polish.
However, the modern take on gradient nails is undoubtedly more sophisticated and grown up than those we’ve seen before. Muted nudes and tonal hues are most popular, meaning the manicure ends up looking chic and stylish, and never juvenile.
It’s also the easy, at-home nail art alternative we all need right now, during these unsettling times. They also suit everyone, no matter what your style is or how long your nail beds are. Abbi Ingram, Nail Technician at Blush + Blow, calls gradient nails ‘the perfect alternative to expensive nail art.’
‘They suit women of all ages and styles,’ she continues. ‘You might feel out of your comfort zone to choose nail art, so gradient nails are a great alternative whilst still keeping your manicure elegant and super chic.’
As mentioned, this is an easy look to try from the comfort of your own home, but one which will still make an impact. The process of choosing the colours can also be a great distraction, and really rather fun. One thing that’s important to do when picking, however, is to know the difference between ‘shades,’ and ‘colours,’ says Marsh.
‘It’s up to you how you want to play with colour. It’s ideal to choose one colour and have different shades of it ranging from light to dark; ideally 5 shades.’ So, for example, you may want to stick with neutral tones, in which case you pick a nude, and then build your other shades around that core colour.
Want something even more daring? ‘You can do many alternative nail art versions of this trend, like gradient french tips or coloured dots across the nails,’ explains Marsh.
Wondering how to get the look while stuck at home? We scoured Instagram for the ultimate inspiration:
Feature by Rebecca Fearn