Ombré—the gradual fade from one color into another—is a technique that works so well with nail art. It allows us to wear multiple colors in a stunningly cohesive way and create visual interest with minimal effort. It's especially fun for Christmas when we're drawn to festive colors and designs.
"An ombré nail design comes in all shapes, shades, textures, colors, and themes and can look like a fade in or out from light to dark," says nail artist Lise Pavich. "An ombré can be the background or the entire design."
Nail artist Sharon Ladokun adds that there are lots of ways to achieve the look. "You can ombré vertically, horizontally, or even with more than two shades of the same color family," she says. In order to do an ombré look on your own, you can use a makeup sponge or nail art brush to blend the colors where they meet to create a blurred look instead of a stark line.
Meet Our Expert
Lise Pavich is a nail artist and CND education ambassador.
Sharon Ladokun is a nail artist and brand ambassador at Aprés Nail.
If you're considering an ombré design for Christmas, explore the 20 looks below to get some inspiration.
“My client wanted a deep brown/red ombré nail, which looks absolutely perfect for Christmas,” says Ladokun. “For this look, I used Aprés Nail Gel Color in Vintage Carnation ($15). Then, I used the Aer Gel Color in Maroon and Cinnamon to get that perfect deep dark brownish red.”
Glitter Drip Tips
Bold and bright, this ombré look features a sheer base and varying sizes of silver glitter cascading down the nail.
Using two shades of the same hue is a really easy way to achieve an ombré. This design features a deep berry shade flowing into a bright red. Both hues also have a shimmery finish, which makes them perfect for Christmas.
Milky nails are perfect for Christmas because they have a snowy vibe. This design uses milky white as a base for a gradient of silver glitter that flows down from the bottom of the nail.
"One thing that pops in the center of an ombré fade is chrome," says Pavich. "I use this technique to provide a background."
Pale blue, white, and silver come together to create this frosty nail design. Because the white used has blue undertones, the ombré has a super subtle fade.
When the glitter you use has small and medium flakes, it adds a lot of depth to a nail look. This mesmerizing design features gold glitter over a milky white base.
Jelly shades make for extra fun ombré designs because they're meant to be sheer. This design features a deep purple hue that fades into cranberry. It's topped with chunky silver flakes for another layer of dimension.
The ever-popular aura design is a take on the ombré. It features one shade in the middle of the nail that fades into another shade along the outer edges.
Skin-like shades like this peach look really pretty in ombré designs that fade to sheer. This look also features a whisper of matching shimmer for added interest.
Put a Bow on It
Using After Party ($18) from Nail Bunny, this design takes the glazed donut look we love and puts an ombré spin on it. To add even more interest, the ring finger gets a pretty white bow and a pearl accent.
Let it Snow
This nail features a matte ombré base of pale blue, which fades into purple to look like the sky on a snowy day. For accents, a thick white-and-silver glitter is used to create snow and icicles.
Keep it Neutral
With a nude sheer base that fades into white at the tip, this ombré design mimics an American manicure (a softer take on the crisp French). To make it festive, there is also a pretty gradient of iridescent glitter.
Snow is Falling
White polish, silver glitter, and snowflake designs are the main elements of this ombré design. Most of the nails feature a white-to-nude ombré topped with fine silver glitter, and one nail per hand also has a few snowflakes.
While Christmas looks tend to be bright and cheery, this design takes a moodier approach to the holiday with lots of black and deep crimson shading.
White to blue is the perfect winter ombré combination. This design is topped with some silver squiggle lines for added whimsy.
Instead of ombré being the main focus of this look, it's used as an accent in a mix-and-match style.
"When I’m playing around with glitter ombré and different texture techniques I use CND Shellac No Wipe Top Coat ($25) and CND Shellac Matte Top Coat ($16)," says Pavich. "If I’m doing dry pigments or glitters, I use a dry brush, as I’m pressing into wet polish."
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