How to Ombre Nail Polish

Have you always wanted to learn how to do Ombre nail polish? Have you been too scared to try? Well, you don't have to be anymore, because with our guide you'll be doing Ombre nail polish like a pro in no time.

Learning how to Ombre gel nail polish lets you save money, bring old, stagnant nail polish back to life, and have fun creating new nail polish looks all in the comfort of your own home. Did we forget to mention how great Ombre nails look? I think we did. 

Ombre nails are super easy and endlessly versatile. Is there anything better than this? The only thing better than DIY Ombre nail art we can think of is our vegan, cruelty-free nail polish

What This Article Covers

How To Ombre Using Nail Polish

Step 1: Base Coat

The perfect Ombre look starts with a good base coat. Apply your chosen basecoat and wait until it is fully dried. We recommend ORLY Bonder, our number one best-selling base coat. It's a rubberized base coat with a “double-sided sticky tape” formula for longer-lasting pedicures and manicures. 

can you do ombre nails with gel polish

Even if your chosen nail polish has a built-in base coat, using a separate base coat will give you extra hold for a longer-lasting manicure.

Step 2: Ombre Colors

Choose your Ombre colors. These can be any colors your heart desires but for the best contrasting look, choose colors that go from light to dark or bright to muted. 

Applying glitter nail polish is also another great addition to an Ombre nail look. Bright colors and sparkles never go wrong. If you avoid using glitter nail polish because of the notoriously difficult removal process, don’t stress. We have the best method for removing glitter nail polish.

If you aren’t sure which colors to use, check out our most popular nail polish colors or try our Mazz Hanna X ORLY Stress Relief Kit. This set isn’t just beautiful but also has a fun, stress-relieving element to it. This kit comes with Blue Lace Agate and Amazonite to help you feel peace of mind and tranquility. 

How You Can Ombre Nail Polish

Step 3: Makeup Sponge

Cut a small wedge off a makeup sponge and brush the nail polish in lines across it. 

When you apply the nail polish to the sponge, apply the darkest shade first and work toward the lightest nail polish shade. If the nail polish overlaps on the sponge, that’s great. The goal isn’t to have clean lines but rather nail polish shades that blend. 

Cutting the sponge to match the approximate width of your nail will save you a lot of cuticle clean-up later. You can also add Cuticle Oil around your nail to keep nail polish from drying on your skin.  

can you do perfect ombre nails with gel polish

Step 4: Blot Nails

Blot your nail polish-covered makeup sponge gently on your nail. Make sure all the colors get space on the nail and be patient with the color transfer. 

The first round of blotting won’t have great color transfer and that’s perfectly fine. Oftentimes, it will require a lot of blotting for the color to stand out. 

Just repeat the blotting on all your nails and let them dry completely. If you aren’t satisfied with the opacity, do another layer of nail polish. 

Refill the nail polish on your makeup sponge and check to see if your nails have dried. Always wait for the previous layer to completely dry. If the bottom layer is not dried, it will create a clumpy mess that never completely sets. 

If the colors didn’t blend as well as you had hoped, try some other methods on how to blend nail polish

Elevate your look with an accent nail and one of our gorgeous Breathable Nail Polish colors and add some nail art to your Ombre nail look. 

Step 5: Top Coat

Add a top coat to your completely dried Ombre nail look. A top coat won’t only act as a barrier against everyday wear and tear but also enhance the Ombre colors. A top coat can also help blend the colors together as a final touch. 

Use ORLY Glosser for lasting protection and a high shine all the time. Glosser is perfect for nail art looks and vivid colors. 

how to do perfect ombre nails with gel polish

Or use ORLY Matte for all-day protection and a finishing velvety touch to your Ombre nail look. 

How You Can Ombre Nail Polish at Home

Bonus Method

This next method is a faster alternative that uses a makeup applicator or a short detailer brush. 

Step 1: Base Coat

As before, start with a base coat and let it dry. Every nail polish look needs a great foundation to build on. 

Step 2: Base Color

Lay down a base color.  Whatever color combination you are going to use, you want to lay down the lightest color as your base. This could be white or some other color. Make sure it has dried down completely before starting with the next step. 

Step 3: Second Color

After the base color has dried, apply nail polish to a makeup applicator. This method is great because of how small and precise makeup applicators can be. Stipple the nail polish on the tip of your nail and blend it with the already dried base color. 

Wait for the nail polish to dry and add another layer if you aren’t satisfied with the opacity.

Or use a short detailer brush.

Using our Short Detailer Brush works best with a glitter base color. 

can you do ombre nails with gel polish yourself

Add nail polish to the tip of the nail with the nail polish applicator and wait for it to dry. Use the detailer brush to add and drag glitter nail polish onto the dried tip color and blend it. 

A detailer brush is also great for picking up glitter particles and packing them to create a more opaque border between the glitter nail polish color and the base color. 

Step 4: Top Coat

After the nail polish has dried, add a top coat to seal in your Ombre nail look. 

Using a detailer brush is a great way to clean up your Ombre look and blend the borders between two colors. 

Makeup applicators are also great to use for smaller surface areas, like pedicures. A makeup applicator can be a huge help when doing an Ombre on toenails because of the smaller and more precise blotting area you create.

If you’re considering an Ombre pedicure, find the best nail polish colors for toes to create the perfect Ombre color combination that lasts.

Can You Do Ombre Nails With Gel Polish?

Yes, you can do Ombre nails with gel polish. We have a simple guide on how to do French Ombre nails with gel polish for the perfect Ombre look.

Creating an Ombre look with gel polish is very similar to creating an Ombre look with regular nail polish but can feel trickier because of the gel and the extra tools required to work with gel. Luckily, ORLY offers Gel Essentials that will make the whole process feel effortless. 

You might be wondering can you put regular polish over gel, to save a little on buying all new gel products. Good news. You can. But nothing can truly replace the great feel of strong and flexible gel nails.  

Let’s be honest. Who wouldn’t want a gorgeous Ombre look that lasts for weeks on end? With the right gel nail polish and our guide on how to apply gel nail polish perfectly, you’ll be good to go. 

can you do perfect ombre nails with gel polish or not


Ombre nails are super versatile and let you flex those creative muscles with tons of possible color combinations. You can use two colors, three colors, and even four or more on long nails. Whatever color combination you can think of, you can make with our guide on how to Ombre nail polish.

Did you enjoy reading our blog? Then consider checking other guides: