The classic French manicure has been reinvented many times in the last decade with negative space, neon hues, holographic finishes, and more. One iteration that took over TikTok this year — the double ombré French manicure — was arguably the most mesmerizing. It combines the French tip with ombré gradients for nail art that looks like something you’d see at a magic show. “It’s surreal and totally unique,” says Rita Remark, editorial manicurist and Essie’s global lead educator.
While the look is typically seen on long nails with a square, stiletto, or almond shapes (because of the vast surface area they provide for dramatic gradients), those of you with short nails can still enjoy the trend. Ahead, learn more about the double ombré French and see our favorite examples of the look.
Meet the Experts:
- Rita Remark is a New York City-based editorial manicurist and Essie global lead educator.
- Dayanna I. Sapien is an Arizona-based nail artist.
- Emily H. Rudman is a New York City-based nail artist and founder of nail-care brand Emilie Heathe.
- Mabelyn Martin is a New York City-based manicurist and creative director of Paintbox.
- Sonya Belakhlef is a Los Angeles-based nail artist with celebrity clients.
- An Cao is a Los Angeles-based nail artist and educator for nail-care brand Orly.
What Is the Double Ombré French Manicure?
As mentioned, double ombré French nails combine two trends: the French manicure (which typically features a nude or pink base and off-white tips) and gradient designs.
Emily H. Rudman, nail artist and founder of nail care brand Emilie Heathe, points out that the ombré art is painted vertically on both the base and the tip. Nail artist Dayanna I. Sapien echoes this, explaining that the gradient of the base should be opposite that of the tip. In other words, if the base of the nail features a dark to light gradient, then the tip should feature a light to dark one.
“This nail art tricks the eye as it’s not what your brain is expecting,” says nail artist Sonya Belakhlef. “It makes you stop and think exactly what direction the gradient is going.”
Why Are Double Ombré Manicures Popular?
“It quickly became one of the top hashtags on TikTok,” says Sapien. And as we’ve learned from the glazed donut and comic book nails of our (recent) past, manicure trends seem to fly off the app and into the real world at breakneck speeds.
The hashtag “ombrefrenchnails” has over 14.8M views. Mabelyn Martin, the creative director of NYC nail salon Paintbox, believes the manicure is popular because of how fresh and eye-catching it is. “The optical illusion makes it unique and interesting, especially for longer nails,” Martin says. “It’s turned a classic design into something that looks almost three dimensional.”
How To Do Double Ombré French Nails at Home
While the design may look complicated, experts say it’s actually very simple to create it at home. “With practice and proper tools, you can achieve it,” explains nail artist An Cao, who says you will need the following tools:
- 2 nail polishes
- 1 ombré brush or makeup sponge
- 1 brush designated for clean-up
- Acetone-based nail polish remover
- Paper hole reinforcements
Step 1: Prep your nails. File them to your preferred shape and push back your cuticle. Then, apply a base coat.
Step 2: Paint one side of your nail. Sweep on the first color of your gradient. Don’t worry, the polish can extend to your tips.
Step 3: Paint the other side of your nail. Apply the second color of your gradient, ensuring the two hues meet in the middle.
Step 4: Blur. Create the ombré effect by tapping the area where the two colors meet with a sponge or brush.
Step 5: Dry. Make sure your nails dry completely. This can take from between five to 10 minutes.
Step 6: Prep to create the second gradient. Carefully place a hole reinforcement — you know, one of those stickers you used to make sure your hole-punched notes wouldn’t rip out of your binder — onto your nail where you’d like your designed tip to begin.
Step 7: Repeat steps two through four along the tip of your nail. Again, your gradients should be opposite of each other. (If the base of the nail features a dark to light gradient, then the tip should feature a light to dark one.)
Step 8: Apply your top coat.
French Ombre Nail Inspiration
1. Elegant Orange Gradient
Nail artist Brittney Ellen created a vibrant orange and white double French ombré manicure reminiscent of a creamsicle. It is just as satisfying as the dessert on a hot summer day.
2. Subtle Illusion
This rosy look by nail artist Elizabeth M proves the look isn’t just for long nails. The manicure is both striking and practical for everyday wear.
3. Pleasing Purple
This manicure by nail artist Kirsten Chanel is particularly mystifying. The combination of purple hues creates a look that is so 3-D, it seemingly jumps out of our screens.
4. Creamy Double French
Chanel is also the mastermind behind this creamy neutral nail look, which isolates the illusion of the double ombré at the tips of each nail.
5. Blue Moon Double Ombre
If you aren’t ready to create your own double ombré nail look, try the trend with press-ons. Parvee Perry, a press-on nail artist, customized this stunning double ombré look with pastel polish and a stripe for added dimension.