Sunday, July 21, 2013

Zoya PixieDust Gradient Tutorial

Howdy everyone!  I hope your weekends were fantabulous :)  I had a lovely brunch this morning with my girlfriends and then went to see The Conjuring.  Creepy, creepy goodness!  Seriously, if you're a fan of a good ol' scary movie, this is a good one to see!

Anyway, I know you're not here to read movie want nails!  The other day, I signed up for Zoya's Share the Love program.  If you have an account or create an account on, you're already enrolled.  They do give you a code for a free polish when you enroll, so it's worth looking into.  I used my code to nab a bottle of Storm and then picked up a bottle of Carter as well.  I'm in love with the PixieDust polishes...they're so sparkly!  I have a few of these now and someone (I believe it was Nathalie from Glazed Talons) had asked for a gradient tutorial using these textured I figured I'd write one up really quickly.

Your first step to doing any gradient is to gather your materials.  Grab whichever polishes you'll be using (pcitured above from left to right: Zoya PixieDust in Carter, Liberty and Dahlia).  You'll also need a non-absorbent surface to mix your polish on and a sponge.  I have a scrap piece of metal I use for pretty much all my nail art.  It doesn't soak up polish and it's easy to clean with acetone or polish remover (although, as you can see from all the crud on it, I don't clean it completely after every use.  I'm lazy, sue me!).  For my sponge, I just use a make up sponge.  I cut one into a few smaller pieces to get the most use out of it.

Apply your base color as you would for any manicure.  I'm using Carter as my base and let's all take a moment to bask in the purple-y, sparkly goodness here.  I wish my photos did it half the justice it's such a great polish!  

In real life, Carter actually leans a bit more fuchsia, which you can sort of see on my pinkie in the above photo.  A textured gradient works pretty much like a creme polish gradient.  I've got a little photo montage for the steps laid out here.  (The Nailasaurus has a really great tutorial on her page which you can see here if you like to look at nicer pics than mine lol)

Step 1: Drip a few drops of your base polish onto your work surface.  Right next to the base polish puddle, drip a few drops of your next gradient polish, in this case Liberty.  You want the polishes to just touch each other, but not overlap completely.  You can use a toothpick or needle to mix the polishes slightly where they meet if you like.  I don't feel it's necessary but some folks feel it gives a better ombre effect on the nail.

Step 2: Using the straight edge of your sponge, dip it into the polishes.  You don't want to mix the polishes together so don't dip the sponge in all willy nilly...try to keep the color separate except for where they touch already.  I hope that makes some sense.  Step 3 is a photo of how the sponge should look.  You can clearly see both colors on the sponge, but they gradate in the middle where they meet.

Step 4:  Keeping the sponge parallel to your nail, gently dab the polish on.  You'll want to keep the edge of the sponge with the base color polish toward the cuticle end of your nail.  You can choose where the gradient starts along your nail by applying the next color further up or down the length of the nail.  I've started about a third of the way up nail for this gradient because I'm using 3 colors.  If you were only using 2, you might line the sponge up about halfway along your nail instead, but it's personal preference.

I repeated these steps with Carter and Liberty several times, until Liberty seemed opaque enough on my nail to move on to the next color.  Again, that's a personal preference.  I'd suggest at least 2 coats of each color but you might need more to get the gradient effect you want.  Always make sure you let each coat dry in between.  If you sponge on top of wet polish, the sponge will likely pick up some of the not-yet-dry polish and make a big ol' mess of your mani.  I know textured polishes tend to feel dry a bit faster than cremes, but they can feel dry to the touch but are not actually set on the nail yet, so keep that in mind.

Here's my finalized gradient, with Dahlia added on the tips of my nails.  I love this look!  And then cuz I can't leave things alone...

I put a couple coats of Seche Vite on, just to see what it looked like shiny.  Still looks awesome :)  

Well, I hope that was a little helpful.  Textured polishes are surprisingly easy to work with for gradients.  They do dry quickly so you have to work a little faster than you do with cremes, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy.

Thanks so much for reading!


  1. Tanks for the tute, Natalie! These polises lend themselves to many application. Love both the shiny and matte!

  2. Love this! I tried a gradient last night and failed lol. But this is super awesome! Great job!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment here. I don't get to respond to every comment but I do read and appreciate each one. Please be aware, I delete all comments with websites/links attached that do not have prior approval. Thank you!