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Master Mani Tutorial: Graphic Gunmetal Ombre

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We say, don’t wait for holiday soirees to wear metallics—we’re loving shimmer for summer! Here master nail artist Chelsea King brings the trend to life in the form of a totally original copper, silver, and black mani. Follow our tutorial, and make your nails your best accessory.

Graphic Gunmetal Ombre with Chelsea King

The inspiration: Metallics are huge this season, from shimmery shadows to silver strappy sandals. On nails, they’re an unexpected break from the usual bright-hot and pastel polishes of summer. Chelsea picked three on-trend shades to make an ultra-chic gradient mani with simple and sleek graphic accents.

The polishes

1: RGB Cosmetics Nail Polish in Factory | shop it
2: RGB Cosmetics Nail Polish in Copper | shop it
3: Cult Nails Nail Lacquer in Nevermore | shop it

Other supplies

  • base coat: RGB Base Coat | shop it
  • top coat: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat | shop it
  • fine nail art brush
  • disposable makeup sponge
  • aluminum foil
  • nail polish remover

1: Start with clean nails, and do your base coat.

2: Paint a base layer of copper. Once all are painted, do a second coat. Let your nails dry for at least 5 minutes. “Be sure they’re dry! The design won’t come out as good if you’re working with a wet base,” says Chelsea.

3: Apply a bit of the silver polish on the corner of a makeup sponge and lightly dab it onto the nail, starting at the tip and continuing halfway down the nail, as pictured. Repeat on every nail.

4: Apply copper polish onto the opposite corner of the sponge and dab to apply along the line where the silver polish stops, to blend and clean up the edges. Repeat this on every nail.

5: Brush some black polish onto a piece of foil. Dip the brush into it and draw two vertical straight lines down the center of each nail, leaving a small space between them as pictured. “Make sure you clean your brush in between every nail. If you don’t, the polish will clump and it’ll be difficult to work with,” says Chelsea. To clean, just fill a small cup or bowl with remover, dip the brush in, swirl, and blot on a paper towel.

6: Next, starting at the tip of your nail, create a half-moon-shaped outline using the brush and black polish as pictured. Starting from the tip of one end of a line you created in step 5, draw an arc from one end to the other, following the outer edge of the nail bed until the line connects at your cuticle. Repeat to make another half-moon from the other line, and leave the space down the center of the nail open. Repeat this step on every nail.

7: Finish with top coat.

Chelsea King (aka Chelsea Queen) is a nail artist based in Southern California. She fell in love with painting and fashion early on, and started painting her nails as a hobby. After sharing her work on her blog and Instagram, her following took off and she was tapped to create tutorials and designs for Huffington Post, MTV.com, and other sites. Chelsea was featured in the 2012 documentary NAILgasm, about the rising popularity of nail art all over the world, and her work has appeared in Nail It! magazine and People StyleWatch among others. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @chelseaqueen.