How to Do Fading Nail Polish

by Kimberly Caines ; Updated September 28, 2017

To many women, nail polish is the icing on the cake when it comes to personal grooming. Nail polish enhances your hands and fingers and gives you a polished appearance. Instead of applying one nail polish color, apply multiple colors and blend into each other. Gradually fading the colors into each other gives the impression that your nails were professionally done. You don't have to spend money to get a manicured look like this, as you can do it yourself at home.

Pick two nail polish colors you're going to use for your fading nail polish art. Choose one light shade and one medium or dark shade. For instance, use a light blue shade for your background color and a dark blue shade to create the fading effect.

Apply nail enamel remover to a cotton ball. Swipe the moistened cotton ball over your nails to get rid of any old nail polish residue. Your nails must be clean.

Apply one layer of a clear base coat on your nails. A base coat keeps your nails from getting stained by dark nail polishes, and it forms a surface for the nail polish to adhere to. Wait one minute so the base coat can dry.

Cover your nails in two coats of the lighter nail polish. Paint the nails all the way from the cuticles to the tips. Wait two minutes after applying each coat, so they can fully dry.

Pour several drops of the darker nail polish on a thick piece of paper.

Dip the edge of a small makeup sponge into the darker nail polish and apply it to your nails. Dab the sponge on the tip of the nail and gradually work toward the middle of the nail. Make the tips the darkest part of the nails and gradually use less polish to fade the color toward the middle of the nail. Avoid covering the entire nail; cover only half of it. The sponge gives you that gradual fading effect.

Use a cotton swab dipped in nail enamel remover to correct any mistakes. Swipe it along the edges of your nails to remove any spilled polish from your skin.

Apply a translucent top coat over your nails to protect and smooth your fading nail polish. Wait 30 minutes for your nails to dry.


  • For a glamorous effect, apply a glitter polish over the tips of your nails after applying the light and dark nail polish shades.

    Experiment with different color combinations to find out which ones you like best.

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