My version of the gradient nail look doesn't require sponges like many other tutorials; however, you will probably need some patience at the beginning as there are lots of polishes and multiple layers involved. Here is the final look:
To start off, you will need 4 nail polishes (or 5-6 if you count base coat and top coat). Your base colour must be semi-sheer and light (I am using OPI Tijuana Dance?). Your 2 next colours must be in the same colour family going from a light colour to a darker one (they make up the gradient). For this tutorial, I decided to go with blue. My middle gradient colour is Deborah Lippmann Across The Universe and my tip colour is Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Navy Baby. Lastly, you will need a glitter top coat to help conceal the harsh lines between each layer of polish. Here I am using Revlon Galaxy Top Coat.
To explain this tutorial, I will be referring to the names of the polishes I used to avoid confusion. Just substitute whatever polish colours you are using accordingly.
1. Paint on a base layer of Tijuana Dance? and let dry.
2. Paint a layer of Across The Universe from the tip of your nails to 3/4 of the way down and let dry.
3. Layer Tijuana Dance? on top of Across the Universe to conceal the harsh lines and let dry.
4. Paint the tips of your nails with Navy Baby and let dry.
5. Layer Tijuana Dance? over Navy Baby to conceal the harsh lines and let dry.
6. Layer the entire nail with Galaxy Top Coat to conceal the harsh lines between each gradient colour.
7. Brush on top coat, and you're done!
NOTE: Once you've completed all the steps, you can play around a bit with your polish layers to get the right look. For this mani, I actually ended up layering a bit more of Across The Universe on top to blend in the colours.
I know there are a lot of steps but once you get the hang of it, I swear it's really easy to do. Let me know if you try it out for yourself!