A gradation manicure creates an ombre effect where the nail polish fades from dark to light. You can either create the fade on each nail, using polish layers fading from base to tip (usually called a gradation manicure), or create a fading effect across each hand's nails (usually called an ombre manicure).
If you want to create an ombre/gradation effect on each nail, you can either use 2 different nail polish colours and fade one into the other, or fade 1 colour from dark to light.
Basically, you paint a base coat on and then each new layer over this you start a little further away from the cuticle.
To create a sheer colour that you can "build up" in layers over a base colour, dilute some of a nail polish colour with clear nail polish. Applying a clear topcoat helps the layers to blend.
To create an ombre manicure with gradation from nail to nail across a hand:
Paint the darkest colour nail polish on your little finger's nail. Now for each new nail going towards your thumb, mix a drop of white nail polish with a few drops of the original colour nail polish. Add an extra drop of white each time you go on to a new nail.
Some people will start on the middle nail, and then add black nail polish to do the 2 darker fingers, and white to do the 2 lighter fingers.
Other people just buy a few slightly different shades of the same nail polish.
To mix nail polish, use little paper plates and toothpicks. Use an old nail polish brush that you have cleaned with nail polish remover. Clean it off when you change to a new shade.
Here are 2 tutorial videos, that show you how to do a gradient/ ombre manicure.
Top left picture of grey ombre gradation manicure is courtesy: http://manicuremania.wordpress.com/
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