The gradient remains a go-to for nail art; visually, it’s stunning in all of its endless color combinations. Technically, it’s one of the easier nail art designs to achieve. Backstage at Tanya Taylor, a rust-hued nail darkens beautifully into black—and no matter how many times we’ve seen it, this design impresses. “Tanya wanted a nice, deep color, and so we matched it to a rust in her collection,” says Morgan Taylor Nail Lead Danielle Candido. After painting the base in one coat of burgundy Morgan Taylor From Paris With Love and one coat of Orange You Glad, she sponges on Little Black Dress at the tip. Candido then goes back in and sponges lightly overtop with From Paris With Love; “this marries the black and rust,” she explains. She then cuts the length of the nail down so that just a peep of the black gradient appears; “it now looks barely dipped,” she says.
Of course, as we mentioned, technically, gradients can be achieved easily at home. However, Candido has loads of tips for making the process as seamless as possible. One, “if you want a heavy application, choose a sponge with larger pores, like a dish sponge,” she says. The larger pores pick up more polish as well as deposit more polish. “If you want a mistier, softer fade, choose a sponge with finer pores, like a cosmetics sponge,” Candido explains.
No matter what sponge you choose, always apply your color directly to the sponge and then blot the sponge on a paper towel to rid it of excess polish. Candido recommends having both types of sponges handy; you’ll want to use the wider pore sponge first to lay down the initial color fade and then the finer pore sponge to help blend and refine the gradient. And, hold the sponge at a 45-degree angle at the free edge; “work flatter to the nail to get the best application,” she says. —Karie L. Frost
Images: Courtesy of Morgan Taylor