The Easiest Glitter Gradient Manicure Ever

Indulge your love of crisp summer whites (and glitter!) with this awesomely easy nail art.
Avatar:
Alle
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
110
Indulge your love of crisp summer whites (and glitter!) with this awesomely easy nail art.

Summer begs for bright colors, but there comes a point where I get tired of rainbow everything and crave the cool simplicity of white. And while I can't wear white jeans without immediately getting them covered in dog hair, I can most certainly wear white on my nails. 

A totally white manicure gives me flashbacks to high school, when I'd paint my nails with liquid paper, so I’ve come up with this fun, sparkly look that’s more Wimbledon than White-Out.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

Nail file, clear base coat, white nail polish, glitter nail polish, nude/pale pink nail polish (optional), mixing surface (not pictured but I used a plastic lid), orange stick or safety pin, top coat. 

Nail file, clear base coat, white nail polish, glitter nail polish, nude/pale pink nail polish (optional), mixing surface (not pictured but I used a plastic lid), orange stick or safety pin, top coat. 

First, shape your nails. Avoid really squared-off shapes, as the combination of square nails with white at the top can look unavoidably suburban prom acrylics in 2001.

Apply a really good base coat. My nails are fragile and prone to splitting, so the fact that they’ve been able to get this long is a testament to how amazing NutraNail Green Tea Strengthener truly is.

Is it weird to wolf-whistle at my own nails?

Is it weird to wolf-whistle at my own nails?

If you’re happy with the color of your naked nails--as I am--you can leave them bare with just the base coat. If not, a sheer nude or pale pink polish applied all over your nail will give you a clean, shiny base upon which to work on.

Next, take your white polish and apply it about halfway down the nail. White polishes in general often require a couple coats to reach full opacity; Blanc by Essie, which I love, required two. Be sure to let the polish fully dry between coats.

Don’t worry if your lines aren't totally straight; we’re going to hide them in a minute.

Don’t worry if your lines aren't totally straight; we’re going to hide them in a minute.

Now we’re going to hide the dividing line with GLITTER! When you pick your glitter polish for this, make sure it has a variety of glitter sizes: The silver that I’m using (Essie, Set in Stones) has tiny square glitter, medium-size circles AND large hexagonal sequins. This gives more dimension to the completed look.

Variety!

Variety!

The first step here is to paint a wide, wavy line of glitter across the dividing line. Make it uneven. This will create the width of the gradient.

If your nails are shorter, make this more narrow.)

If your nails are shorter, make this more narrow.)

Once dry, apply a thinner, straighter line of glitter directly across the line where the white and nude meets. This makes the sparkle more intense across the middle and hides the seam!

It's vanishing...

It's vanishing...

Finally, drop a blob of the glitter polish on something you don’t mind getting messy and spread it out so that you can see the individual pieces of glitter. Using an orange stick or the pointy tip of a safety pin, fish out a few of the large sequins and use them to fill in any gaps in your gradient where you can still see the dividing polish line. This sounds fiddly, but I did both of my hands (including my right, which I’m never as dextrous at) in under five minutes.

Get as type-A with this as you like.

Get as type-A with this as you like.

Once everything is dry, finish it up with an excellent top coat. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat is the best forever, as it gives great shine and makes all my manicures last for a full week--but most importantly for this look, it totally covers the glitter and makes my nails perfectly smooth. I cannot STAND rough textures on my fingernails, so I did two coats to be sure that wouldn’t be an issue.

Perfectly smooth and shiny! No tip-wear here.

Perfectly smooth and shiny! No tip-wear here.

The finished look is summer minimalism at its best: crisp, cool, and fun.

Be sure to pretend that the glitter that you couldn't get off your hands is part of the look!

Be sure to pretend that the glitter that you couldn't get off your hands is part of the look!

I’d go play tennis, if I were any good at it.

I'll just have to settle for having fantastic nails instead. GAME, SET, MATCH.

I'll just have to settle for having fantastic nails instead. GAME, SET, MATCH.

Are you going to try this out? What’s your favorite summer manicure? Did anyone else used to paint their nails with White-Out in high school, or was that just me?