If there’s anything nice to be said about the lockdown, there’s no doubt that it unleashed your creative side! With a little more time to pamper yourself, try out new looks and share them on Insta, there’s been an explosion of fashion trends over the last couple of years. Tired of lounging around in sweatpants and shapeless tees, social media influencers are getting their kicks in amazing manis and pedis. One of the hottest items in nail art is black ombre nails. They’re fun to do, easy and great to show off in casual gestures during Zoom meetings. As the latest eye-grabbing, head-turning look, it’s a deft blend of dark vs light, cool vs somber, spicy yet sparkly.
What Is Ombre?
French speakers would immediately get what ombre means – but for the rest of us who need a translation, it means “shade” “shadow” or shaded. It is a process of blending light and dark colors, usually moving from light tints to darker hues, in a gradual flow. Today, ombre has become a hot trend in aesthetics, hair coloring, nail art, baking, home decoration, textiles, ceramics, and more.
Originally, ombre came from textile dyeing, where a color scheme moves progressively from light to dark. Each color blends into the next in a smooth transition, giving the impression of a gentle fade. It was a popular technique in the 19th century where textile dyeing in the ombre was all the rage. This trend continued into embroidery as well.
Manicure Trends: Black Ombre Nails
In 2000, pop icon Aaliyah created a sensation when she colored her hair in a graded fade from dark roots to light tips. Most of the celebs and A-listers soon followed suit, as the trend caught on and lasted for more than a decade. It was popular not just because it looked amazing, but also because it required minimum maintenance. Besides natural hair colors, fashionistas and hairstylists experimented with different palettes such as blue, mauve, pink, green, gray, and more.
With the advent of nail art, press-on kits, faux nails, and the French mani’s enduring popularity, creative nails have been in vogue for a while. The social media buzz around ombre nails coincided with the arrival of the pandemic, making it a great choice across age and skin tone. You’ll find millions of posts under #ombrenails on Instagram, with everyone from professional manicurists to home-grown nail artists displaying their best work.
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The French fade as it’s sometimes called is a new twist on the classic French manicure. Why pick one when you can have two?
The trend initially started with pink ombre, where your basic French manicure was given a tweak. The sharp line between light pink base and white tips was blurred so that the colors blended in gradually with a fade effect.
It didn’t take long for the concept to explode on Instagram, with creative minds bending the rules and playing the theme for all its worth.
You can try everything from green to purple, black to gold, white or silver, and still have more options left to choose from.
Ombre seamlessly blends two connected or unconnected shades together in a gradient effect that is both classy and timeless. You can pick two complementary colors or contrasting ones and still get a stunning effect.
Perks of Getting Black Ombre Nails
The best thing about the ombre look is that it:
- Adds the illusion of more length to your fingers
- It makes your nails look longer
- It is great if your nails grow fast because the bottom shade is closer to your natural nail color
- It lets you play with different color schemes
- Works with all lengths or shapes of nails
- Adds that Wow! Factor to plain nails
- It can be teamed with other types of nail art, glitter, beads, stickers, and more
How To Do Perfect Black Ombre Nails
Though it looks effortless and simple, getting the black ombre look takes some practice, patience, time, and skill.
But the rewards are plenty. You can stretch your imagination to the max, get different effects on individual nails, add accessories and bling to make your nails unique, just like you.
To start off, get your stuff together before you begin. Set aside a couple of hours at least, so tell your besties that you’re unable to take their calls for the duration.
What You Need:
- a few small wedge-cut make up sponges
- nail brush
- nail paint remover
- base and top coats
- three shades of nail paint: black, white, and gray
Step 1: Remove old nail polish. Wash and clean your hands and nails thoroughly
Step 2: Shape/file your nails to the look you want. You can choose from: natural, oval, rounded, coffin, square, wide, squoval, almond, edge, lipstick, ballerina, needle-point, stiletto, or mixed designs. Pick a shape that complements the shape and length of your fingers. Your lifestyle, occupation and hobbies also matter. Cut the sponge into the size of your nail to reduce the spread of polish outside the nail edge.
Step 3: Apply the base coat and let it dry thoroughly. This is important because you want your ombre look to last for a few weeks. It also protects your nails from getting stained. The base coat would be the lightest of your ombre shade, preferably white in this case.
Step 4: Dip the sponge in water and squeeze out most of the water. Paint it with the bands of color you want on the ombre nail, starting with the darkest on top and lightest at the bottom.
Step 5: Blot the nail with the painted sponge to transfer all the colors onto the nail. You may have to do this several times to ensure that you get the effect you want. Roll the sponge across the nail for best results. Do this separately for each nail with a fresh piece of sponge.
Step 6: Wait for at least 10 minutes till the polish is completely dry on all the nails. Apply the clear top coat smoothly in one movement across the nails.
Step 7: Use a fine paintbrush dipped in nail polish remover and gently clean up the edges around the painted nail so that it looks neat and tidy. Apply moisturizer, hand cream, or cuticle oil around the nails to rehydrate the delicate skin around your nails. Avoid using Q-tips because they could smudge the body of the painted nails.
If you want to add more accessories or bling, wait till the topcoat dries thoroughly, and then have fun!
Trendy Black Ombre Nail Looks This Season
Squared Off: Shape your nails to get a sharp-edged square tip. The black shade on top gives them a neat finish.
Cruella de Ville: File your long nails to pointed ovals and get the ombre effect in equal parts of black and white to get that merciless magic.
Accents, Glitter, and Bling: You can do each nail differently, with glitter, beads, sequins, and other sparkly stuff.
Mix ‘n’ Match Shades: Add burgundy, blue, purple, or green fade-ins to the basic black, gray, and white theme.
Short Nails: If you prefer to keep it short and sweet, you can do the ombre effect on alternate fingers, add silver or gold sparkle, sparkling diamonds, and more.
Taking Care of Your Black Ombre Nails
Before you plan your mani, it’s important to do some homework. If you’re getting it done for an event, it’s wiser to make a salon visit rather than DIY.
Pick a shape and color scheme that matches your occupation, personality, and lifestyle.
A secret that salon owners and nail artists won’t share with you is about how to take care of your mani. The reasons are obvious – they want you back in that chair as quickly as possible!
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But if you’re DIY-ing you can easily fix smaller problems as they crop up.
The trick is regular inspection and maintenance.
Use the best quality nail polish that you can afford. Long-wear polish may cost more, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Restore the strength and shine with topcoats every two or three days. Apply a very thin layer to avoid the bumpy, gloopy look.
Washing up, dusting, vacuuming, and even washing your hair can be risky. Detergent and debris can destroy even the best of manis. When you’re using your hands a lot in the house, wear gloves while doing your chores.
Avoid exposing your nails to foods and spices that can stain the nails. These would include turmeric and paprika and vegetables such as beets. Wear gloves while cooking to avoid heat exposure and pressure on the nails.
Moisturize with cuticle oil and pamper your hands with hand cream at bedtime. Cut our long hot showers and soaks in the tub – heat, and moisture encourage the nail polish to separate from the nail surface. If your job involves lots of work on the keyboard, you’ll have to take a break!
Never peel off a flaking manicure. It can damage the natural surface of your nail and leave it open to fungal attacks. If your black ombre nails look like they’re giving up on their life, be ruthless about it and remove the polish completely with a good quality remover. Wash, clean up and moisturize thoroughly, and let your nails breathe for a few days before you start on the next time.
Finally, your overall health and wellness are top priorities. Ensure that your nails are strong and healthy with a regular intake of vitamin supplements such as B12, zinc, iron, protein-rich foods, and more.