A Cheap way of achieving Gradient Nails

I really need to get back into doing some nice nail tutorials so I thought this would be a nice simple one that most people like the look of and that's gradient nails or colour changing nails. 

I do promise to do the tutorial on the Alexander McQueen Tribute nails next week though! 

 So a gradient manicure normally consist of using 5 different nail polishes that range from light to dark in a specific colour. However that actually means owning 5 different shades of one colour. Which of course can be quite costly and you may not want to own numerous shades of one colour!
But hopefully this will show you how to save money and how you can create gradient nails in any colour you own. However be warned this is not the quickest of manicures.

Barry M Mushroom Gradient Nails

What you will need -  
  • Your main nail polish that you want to create the gradient with.
  • A white nail polish.
  •    A grey or black nail polish. 
  • A cheap or old top coat - This will be used for the brush not the polish.
  • A small pot or container - I just use a old lid from a beauty product.
  • Also nail polish remover and tissue to clean out the container. 

1. Paint both middle finger nails with your main polish - In my case it's Mushroom by Barry M.

2.  First create the lighter shades by dropping in quite afew drops of your main nail polish. Then next to the nail polish in the pot drop in only afew drops of white nail polish. 

3. Mix together using the brush from the top coat nail polish - there is no need to clean the brush of the clear nail polish as it won't affect the colour. Mix until both polishes are blended in and look a shade lighter than the original nail polish. If it's looking too light or dark just add afew drops of the colour you need and mix.  

4. Paint the index fingers with the nail polish from the pot using the top coat brush that you mixed it with. Apply a thick enough coat so that it is opaque as you will find the polish in the container can go tacky quite quickly. So you won't have enough time to apply two coats. 

5. Next add more white nail polish to the container and mix. This will be the shade for the thumb nails.

6. This is the part where you can be lazy if you want and use another container if you don't want to risk getting nail polish remover on your nails. However I personally pour a little remover into it then stuff tissue into the pot and twirl it around removing most of the polish. If there is still some in the container it's no big deal. Then just wipe the top coat brush with a tissue that has abit of nail polish remover on it. 

7. Next to create the dark shades mix quite afew drops of your main nail polish with the grey or black nail polish (if you are using black you will need less ofcourse). This will create the shade for your ring fingers. 

8. After painting the ring fingers add afew more drops of the grey polish to create a darker shade for your little finger. If it becomes too dark just add some of your main colour to lighten it slightly. 

9. Paint your little finger nails and then your done!

So as long as you have a white and a grey (or black) you can create gradient nails in any colour you wish- as you can see from the image above!

As for cleaning everything up you can either throw away the container or clean it the same way as in step 6. As for the top coat brush - just soak it in abit of nail polish remover or use a tissue with some remover to clean it. It probably won't look that clean but you can still pop it back into the bottle of top coat for future gradient nails so the brush won't dry out. 

  Hopefully you have found this slightly helpful & also given you an idea on how you can lighten (or darken) any nail polish.



  1. What a fab tutorial! Thanks so much for doing it, I'm going to have a go :) x

  2. GReat tutorial :D x

  3. Great post, thanks! I'll have to give this a try!

  4. too cool! I must try this out!


  5. Wow what a unique manicure! Must try this out sometime soon!

  6. Posts like this make me wish I could wear nail polish all the time. It just isn't allowed in my workplace! Extremely sadface! :(

  7. Awesome idea, I will be trying this out! Thanks for sharing!!

    Love J.

  8. gorge what colour is the main purple one? x p.s and please do more nail tutorials x

  9. How creative :) They look beautiful x

  10. great tutorial, fee!

    have a great weekend x


  11. Fantastic tutorial Fee :D
    Yknow, I haven't done a Free Love Friday blog post in months but I think I'll do one next week just for this! x

  12. @Jessica - It's by Mavala...I know that, but I have forgot the shade as the writing have come off abit..however I will try to find out for you if I can! :)

    Fee x

  13. I've just spent all night reading your blog lol creepy. This is one of the best blogs I've come across in a while. Really informative, great pictures, useful tips and advice. Really great. Google friends connect isn't letting me become a follower at the moment though, grrr.

    I also love these nails!

  14. Looks great, shall have to try it!

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