Date: May 20th, 2012

Gradient Manicure, Ombre Manicure and Skittle Manicure. What is what?

Gradient Nails Ombre Nails Skittle Nails Gradient Manicure Ombre Manicure Skittle Manicure

With the resurrection of the Gradient Manicure trend also a little confusion about its naming and definition went alongside with it. I must confess that I am a little lot obsessed about correct naming and start to cringe when I see a Gradient Manicure being called an Ombre Manicure or even Skittle Manicure. Both Ombre Nails and Skittle Nails describe a completely different look than Gradient Nails.

Especially on German blogs I have seen the term Ombre Manicure (or translated Ombré Maniküre) quite a few times. While “ombre” most widely could be translated with “gradient” the term Ombre Nails describes a whole different technique in the nail art world than Gradient Nails.
The term Gradient Manicure translated one-on-one in German would sound funny (Verlaufs-Maniküre) so I understand picking a better sounding term. So while it technically isn’t wrong it is confusing because the term Ombre Manicure is already established for a different look.

To clear up the confusion I thought it’s time for a Gradient Nails, Ombre Nails and Skittle Nails breakdown. I hope the following illustrations and explanations will be helpful. :)

Gradient Nails
Gradient Nails Ombre Nails Skittle Nails Gradient Manicure Ombre Manicure Skittle Manicure

A manicure is a Gradient Manicure when two or more colors blend in a gradient into each other on the nails. You can achieve this look with the sponging technique which Sammy showed in her perfect tutorial. The definition is easy: a Gradient Manicure is a gradient.

Ombre Nails
Gradient Nails Ombre Nails Skittle Nails Gradient Manicure Ombre Manicure Skittle Manicure

While the term Ombre Manicure is appealing to be used for gradients it decribes a much different technique. The common meaning for Ombre Nails in nail art is not a gradient on each nail – it is a shading from nail to nail with five nail polishes which are applied each on one full nail. In contrast to Skittle Nails the five nail polishes have to be in the same color family though. A classic Ombre Manicure would be for example from black over three shades of gray (lighter from nail to nail) to white.

Skittle Nails
Gradient Nails Ombre Nails Skittle Nails Gradient Manicure Ombre Manicure Skittle Manicure

The classic Skittle Manicure is made of at least two nail polishes which are also applied on the full nail. The colors don’t have to be in the same color family. Basically like the candy Skittles which this nail look is named after.

What if..

..you combine the different looks? There are almost no limits in nail art so of course Gradient Nails can be combined with Skittle Nails or Ombre Nails. The possibilities to experiment and play are endless. :)

Skittle Gradient and Ombre Gradient Nails
Gradient Nails Ombre Nails Skittle Nails Gradient Manicure Ombre Manicure Skittle Manicure

I hope you find this post helpful. :) Thanks for looking and have a great week! ♥

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93 thoughts on “Gradient Manicure, Ombre Manicure and Skittle Manicure. What is what?

  1. Kristen on said:

    It’s odd how the Gradient would be Ombre in any other description as Ombre in fabric or painting is exactly what Gradient is in nails so i can see how people get confused, where as Gradient in say fabric or painting would be what Ombre is in nails.

  2. Great post! I’ve been going a little crazy by people using “ombre” as a blanket term for varying colour nails. Even worse when they are in the nail field!

  3. Clariza on said:

    Thank you for clarifying these techniques. I’m a newbie in the mani community and have referred to gradient as ombré wondering why there were two different names…I totally get it now and feel educated, lol!!

  4. Hi, I’ve just discovered your website and I’ve just saved it among my favs! You’re really talented and your manicures are simply perfect (I’m particularly impressed by the gradient ones)! I love the precision of your camera and I’m so looking forward to reading all your older posts!
    Thanks for this article, I find it really interesting. Byeee! (^o^)/°
    Giorgia recently posted..Clinique – Take The Day OffMy Profile




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