Nail Art Know How: Ombre Ocean

There’s an ocean of possibilities in this watercolor-inspired design by N.Y.C. manicurist Mar y Soul. “Since the lines are blurred, there’s a lot of room to play,” she says. The pro prepped nails with base coat before applying two layers of Duri polish in Pompadour Pudding ($6;, a sandy beige. Then, once the beige base was dry, she grabbed Zoya’s navy-blue Sailor polish ($10; and created a zig-zagging line across the tip of each nail. Don’t worry about making things perfect at this point—this step is solely for the sake of laying down the color. While the polish is still wet, use a striper brush dipped in nail polish remover to feather the edges toward the center of the nail. Using a fresh striper brush dipped in Formula X polish in Temptation ($11; add short, vertical lines of shine down the center of each nail. Then, go back with your “Sailor” shade and paint the tips with a few millimeters more of cobalt color; use your remover-soaked striper brush to feather that shade down into the center of the nail.

Why all the brush work? It’s the multiple layers of feathering that give the design dimension. Allow nails to dry completely before finishing with top coat.

And remember, the beauty of this design is in the soft, blurred edges reminiscent of a watercolor painting. That means no stressing over perfection. Check out the process in the video above, then pick up a brush of your own.