First Attempt at Sponged Gradient
I’ve never tried sponging on nail polish before. However, after The Nailasaurus’ tutorial on a sponged gradient, as well as the many photos from others, I decided I had to try the sponged gradient for myself.
I wasn’t quite sure what kind of sponge I had ready to use. I’d read that some people use an eyeshadow applicator. Since I had a pack of cheap eyeshadow applicators sitting around (because they weren’t so good for applying eyeshadow), I decided to try one of those. Read on for the outcome.
I won’t go through the detailed steps as The Nailasaurus has already done a great job with that. I’ll just show you the results as well as some of the lessons I learnt in the process.
The nail polish I used were two shades from the China Glaze Summer Neons collection. They are Under the Boardwalk, a fuchsia, and Ride the Waves, a blue. The effect I had in mind was a neon fuchsia-blue gradient.
The eyeshadow applicator I used in my first attempt at this had a smooth surface. I think that, because of this, the nail polish was not absorbed in the sponge but sort of just stayed as a layer on the sponge surface.
I first applied two coats of Under the Boardwalk on my nails. After waiting a bit for the surface to dry, I dabbed on the two colours (as shown in The Nailasaurus’ tutorial).
Instead of achieving the sponged effect I was expecting, it created this water-colour layering effect. I believe it’s because of how the sponge picked up the nail polish.
It could also be due to the very sheer nature of Ride the Waves. And because it was so sheer, it mixed with the fuchsia and produced a purple colour instead of creating the fuchsia-blue gradient I had envisioned. Not an issue for me though as I liked how it turned out.
While this effect wasn’t what I was expecting, I did like the effect. Something to consider when I want that translucent, watery look.
However, since my intention was to create the sponged gradient look, I decided to try a different type of sponge – a kitchen sponge. I cut off a couple of pieces that were just a bit wider than the width of my thumb.
Interestingly, even with the same type of sponge, I still achieved two different effects. I believe this is due to the level of opacity of the polish used.
On my left hand, I started with two coats of Under the Boardwalk as the base colour. Because Ride the Waves was so sheer, I had to dab it on about three times. And because of its sheerness, the outcome was a sponged, patchy kind of look. I really liked this!
I reversed the colours on my right hand. I needed three coats of Ride the Waves for a more opaque look as it has a jelly finish. Very nice on its own!
I used a new piece of the sponge and added Under the Boardwalk. It also ended up looking purple, but the finish was a much smoother look than on my left hand. The only reason I can think of for this is that the fuchsia was more opaque and probably transferred better than a polish that was more sheer.
I can’t decide which of the two effects I liked better. Each has its own beauty. For a first attempt, I was really pleased with the outcome on both hands. I got a lot of praises about the mani. Even friends who weren’t into nail polish noticed it and asked how it was done.
If you are thinking of trying this out, I’ll like to share some of the lessons I learnt in the process.
- While sponging, polish will get onto the skin around the nails. I was not prepared for that and had a hard time cleaning up. I would suggest applying Vaseline or handcream on the skin before sponging, so that it’ll be easier to clean up. You can also consider sticking tape on the skin instead.
- I applied the two polish shades on a piece of paper, according to the tutorial, before picking up the colours with the sponge. I realised that I needed to reapply the polish on the paper after sponging only about two nails. As such, keep the bottles of nail polish and the toothpick used to mix the overlap handy.
- The Nailasaurus suggested moving the sponge up and down the nail. You’ll still want to make sure you don’t move it up too much. As you can see on my right ring finger, there’s a lot more of the purple than on the middle finger. Still, this depends on where you want the overlap to be on your nail.
- Of course, as mentioned a few times, the sheerness of the blue polish caused it to mix with the fuchsia to turn purple. As such, you may want to try more opaque cremes for such a mani, unless you want to create a new colour.
If there’s anything else you’ll like to ask regarding the sponged gradient, feel free to ask in the Comments section, or on Facebook or Twitter. I’ll be happy to share my experience although I’m definitely no expert at this.
If you have tips to share, I would love to know them as well, if you don’t mind sharing.