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How to DIY Ombr Nails At Home

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest


To help you bring your own ombr mani to life, we chatted with Lauren Dunne, the Co-Founder of DC-based waterless nail studio Varnish Lane. Below, she breaks it down into seven easy-to-replicate steps.

ishonest No.111 - Purge Impurities

No.111 - Purge Impurities

Meet the Expert

Lauren Dunne is the co-founder and CEO of Varnish Lane, a luxury nail salon in Washington, D.C. that specializes in hygienic, natural nail care.

How to DIY Ombr Nails

You'll need:

  • Basecoat
  • Topcoat
  • Nail polish remover
  • Three shades of the same color family (light to dark)
  • Clean up brush
  • Wedge makeup sponge
  • Scissors

Cut Your Custom Sponge

Varnish Lane

Cleanse and hydrate : why choose when you can have both?

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"Cut the wedge makeup sponge to make the flat edge more narrow (based on the size of your nail)," instructs Dunne. "The goal is to have the wedge only be as wide as your nail. This will minimize the amount of polish that will get on the skin around your nails."

Apply a Layer of Basecoat

Varnish Lane

"Apply basecoat to your nails," Dunne says. "Make sure the coat is fully dried before proceeding to the next step!."

TIP: Even if a nail polish claims to have basecoat built in, it never hurts to go the extra step with a classic base if your goal is to create a mani that lasts for days (if not weeks) on end.

Pick Out Your Ombr Colors

ishonest No.313 - Prevent Acne

No.313 - Prevent Acne

Varnish Lane

"Brush the three colors in straight lines on the wedge makeup sponge," Dunne says. "Start with the lightest color at the base of the wedge. The colors can slightly overlap as you brush them onto the makeup sponge [this will help create the seamless fade]."

Blot Your Ombr to Life

Varnish Lane

"Gently blot the sponge onto your nail to transfer the polish," Dunne says. "Make sure all three colors get onto the nail." Once you've finished your first nail, repeat steps three and four on your other nine nails (or the accent nails that you want to be ombr).

Redness due to imperfections?

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You may need to blot the sponge several times to transfer the polish evenly onto the nail. Keep going until you're happy with the result.

Apply Topcoat

According to Dunne, it's important to apply top coat to your nails immediately after sponging since it will not only help prevent chips but help enhance the fade, as well. So, while you might be hesitant to brush another layer of polish over your picture-perfect DIY nail look, we promise it won't mess it up. "The topcoat can help to blur the polishes together," Dunne explains.

Read more on: nails, daily

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