How To: Holographic Ombré Nails


So I get asked a lot of questions about my nails and how I do them. And if they're really mine (they are). I'm pretty new to the #GelGang, but I've been doing my own nail art since middle school and I'm pretty damn good at it. Since these nails are pretty popular and have been serving LOOKS on the gram, I decided to do a quick tutorial on how I created the look.

*I purchased all of these products with my own money. All thoughts are my own honest opinions from experimenting with them on my nails. I was not sponsored by any of the brands listed.

*I purchased all of these products with my own money. All thoughts are my own honest opinions from experimenting with them on my nails. I was not sponsored by any of the brands listed.

  1. ModelOnes Gel Polish Kit: This is a reasonably priced set of get polish that you can get on Amazon. I also have this Clavuz Gel Polish Kit. Both have multiple color options. I aspire to Vetro gels but they're $$$ 😓 . You WILL NEED 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover to remove gel polish. Regular stuff will work but it’ll take longer. You can pick up a bottle of Acetone Nail Polish Remover pretty much anywhere that sells nail polish.

  2. Synthetic Brush Set: For gel you need an acrylic brush (synthetic fibers) for proper application. So I just grabbed this pack on amazon. Can't complain.

  3. Professional Nail Files: Obviously just by existing we all end up with about a trillion nail files lying around. But since I was doing the hard gel overlay, I wanted to get some files of varying grits. **Make sure you score your files (file the hard edges down) before you use them! I didn't and my cuticles paid dearly for that on my first set 😭 😭

  4. OneDor Gel Base & No Wipe Top Coat Set: You'll need a no wipe top coat to do this particular look. It's what the holographic powder sticks to. This one is kind of streaky and temperamental to be honest, but it's cheap so I make it work. For someone a little more invested in gel nails (even if you're not using the builder gel) I would recommend the Gelish Base & Top Coat. The top coat is super thick and shiny and I love it.

  5. Gelish Clear Hard Builder Gel: Now here's the step for the advanced. This is the builder gel I use to reinforce my natural nails. The finished product is kind of like SNS or Acrylics in terms of toughness. To apply this, you'll need the Gelish Fantastic Four (includes their base & top coat as well as a primer and cuticle oil), a set of acrylic/synthetic brushes like #2, and some professional files like #3. These files are tough enough to shape and remove builder gel, but I've already broken down and purchased an E-File and a rounded Carbide Bit because it's sooo much faster. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND using an e-file unless you have some experience with drills or dremels, since you can really hurt yourself. Especially if you're brand new to doing your own nails. So alternatively, you can purchase the Gelish Soak Off Clear Structure Gel, which will soak off with acetone. You may still need to file it down some beforehand if you like it thicc like I do. ✨

  6. SunUV UV/LED Lamp: We had a cheap small lamp before this that only fit 4 fingers at once. So when I tell you this lamp is amazing, I say that from experience. It has 4 timer setting buttons on the back, and it's big enough to cure your whole hand at once. PLUS it has removable silicon pads for the top that you can work on and then remove and clean.


Step 1: Prep The Nail Plate

Prep your nails by filing them into your desired shape and pushing back/trimming your cuticles. Then put some rubbing alcohol or acetone on a cotton pad and swipe away any dust. There shouldn't be any cuticle or dust on your nail plate or the gel might lift and chip. This mainly applies if you’re using builder gel, but it’s a good step to employ with regular gel or even with lacquer polish. Lastly, apply your gel base coat OR your builder gel foundation layer.

Step 2 (Optional): Apply builder gel

I like the builder gel over my natural nails because I want them to be as strong as Wolverine's adamantium claws. I'm still new to the application process, so with this step the whole thing takes me a good 4 hours to complete. If you skip the builder gel you'll save a lot of time, but your manicure probably won't last nearly as long, just FYI. I tend to go a month or so between fills.

I’d recommend checking out Abetweene’s channel as she’s one of the people I watched who got me into gel in the first place, and her content can give you a gentle introduction to e-filing and gel application for natural nails. 

Another great channel for learning about builder gel is Nail Career Education and the video linked below is a great one, all about building a nail from start to finish. If you've ever seen any of Suzie's videos then you know that structure is key. So if you're really trying to build nails like a pro, I would recommend watching pretty much every video on her channel. You're welcome.


Step 3: Paint a Nude Gel Layer + No Wipe Top Coat

Using a nude gel polish of your choice, paint a coat or two over the whole nail. You'll need to cure each layer in the lamp for the time the bottle designates. And then put a layer of no wipe top coat on the nail in preparation for the holographic powder step coming up next.

Step 4: Apply the Holo Powder

There are about a million places to buy this stuff, but I would recommend getting it from Twinkled T or Ocean Nail Supply. The specific powder that I used is Holo Hoop by Twinkled T. Using a makeup sponge I pressed the powder into the tips of my nails, and then gently feathered it out towards the cuticle. You have to rub it in a bit to get that high shine payoff.

Step 5: Seal In with a Glossy Gel Top Coat

Lock in your design with the Gelish top coat – or a gel top coat of your choice – and viola. Gorgeous, salon worthy, holographic ombré nails. If you try to give it a whirl, tag me on the gram! I'd love to see the results. Good luck!