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9 Ombré Nail Designs to Upgrade Your Manicure

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If you’re like us, you spend way too long contemplating your nail designs, so we’re here to offer your next source of nail inspo. Two words: ombré nails! This fun gradient look can spice up any manicure and elevate your look while leaving tons of room for personalization and creativity. Rather than choosing just one shade, ombré nails allow you to create a gradual transition from a light shade to a darker hue for a stylish gradient that’s the best of both worlds.

Whether you prefer a minimal, less-is-more manicure, or view your nails as a canvas for self expression and endless nail designs, ombré nails (also known as gradient nails) are a great way to showcase your personal style. They add an unexpected flair to more traditional styles, and they work on all nail shapes—whether you like your nails square, rounded, oval, almond, or stiletto.

Ready to discover which eye-catching ombré nail design is best for you? We’ve rounded up the best ombré nails for you to recommend to your nail tech or to give a DIY try at home.

1. French Ombré

Close-up of woman's hands with French ombré nail art

The French manicure has long been a nail art staple, so it’s only right that the French ombré actually started this popular nail trend. Once known as pink ombré nails, this gradient style has now erupted into practically every color combination imaginable—but you can’t go wrong with this no fuss option. Use a universally flattering pink like CONTEXT SKIN Nail Lacquer in Aint Love Strange as your base, and blot on a true white like TINCT COSMETICS Nail Polish in Bilbao to gradually fade into your french tip.

2. Gold Foil Ombré

Close-up of a woman's hand with gold foil ombré nail art

Adding a hint of gold foil is a great way to elevate any manicure, and it especially pops on ombré nail designs. By starting with a clear or solid base, you can gradually apply more flicks of gold as you reach the tips to create a gold gradient design. This especially looks great with acrylic nails or clear gel nail extensions.

3. Rainbow Ombré

Close-up of a woman's rainbow ombré nail art
Mikroman6/Getty Images

Why choose one nail color when you can have them all? Rainbow ombré nails are a fun way to incorporate all your favorite colors. A perfect choice for warmer weather or a vacation, these nails are anything but boring. Feel free to add whatever colors you want to this look, but remember—ROYGBIV. Following the shades of the rainbow will surely give you a more seamless look.

4. Black Ombré

Close-up of woman's hand with black ombré nail art against denim sleeve

The black ombré might just be the sexiest of them all—and maybe even the hardest to execute at home. While blending nude with black into a seamless slope takes serious attention to detail, these results are totally worth it. Black nails can be a bit intimidating on their own, but by adding the nude contrast, this manicure is equal parts classic and edgy.

5. Sunset Ombré

Close-up of woman's nails with sunset ombré nail art
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Channel the vibes of a tropical island sunset—no vacation time necessary. The pink, orange, and yellow colors in this design are a fun way to usher in the warmth of summer and play with vibrant colors. The key to getting a flawless ombré? Be sure to blend the colors into a subtle gradient as you apply the polish to a makeup sponge. This gradient can then be easily applied to your nails, allowing them to dry between each coat.

6. Holographic Ombré

Close-up of woman's holographic ombré nail art

While “the future” we imagined as kids has under-delivered on hoverboards and flying cars, at least we have holographic ombré nails to get excited about. Choose a complimentary solid color and a glitter holographic shade to complete this look, like the COLOR CLUB Polish Duo in Teal for Two and You Snooze You Lose!.

7. Glitter Ombré

Close-up of a woman's hands with glitter ombré nail art

Glitter is the perfect way to make a statement without saying a word, and you’re missing out if you think that this sparkling nail art is reserved for accent nails only. They’re ideal for holiday or even just everyday glam (no glam-shaming over here!), and a glitter gradient look allows you to enjoy the sparkle and shine without overwhelming your entire nail. COLOR CLUB Nail Polish Duo in Get a Mauve on It and Oh Hail, No! takes the guesswork away from you and provides the perfect glitter combo.

8. Matte Ombré

Close-up of a woman's hands with matte orange ombré nail art

Edgy, versatile, and unique. Matte polish is a great addition to any look, but it’s super eye-catching with ombré nail designs. The JULIEG Matte Top Coat turns any of your favorite polishes into the perfect matte, so feel free to play with any polish you’d like.

9. Marble Ombré

Close-up of woman's hand with blue marble ombré nail art

You’re sure to stand out from the crowd of nail designs with this unique look. Bringing two trends into one, marble ombré nails are an eye-catching style that’s sure to draw plenty of complements. Use a blue shade for a cloudy ombré look or bring together yellow and red/orange to turn up the heat with flame-inspired nails.

Want to continue discovering the latest trends in beauty? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get in on the IPSY Glam Bag fun. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Kindra Moné
Kindra Moné is a writer and content creator who works with brands and magazines to create culturally relevant fashion and beauty content. She is also the founder of The Moné Edit: a community and podcast at the intersection of style and wellness.
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Article Last Updated April 28, 2021 12:00 AM