A lot of people have asked me how I do my chunky glitter gradients (for examples, see here or here or here or here or here). I’ve always done them using cotton buds (or Q-tips or cotton swabs, whatever you want to call them). The main advantages of this method, in my opinion, is that it’s pretty foolproof, you have lots of control over where you’re placing the glitter, and you don’t end up with lots of glitter base making one end of your manicure noticeably thicker than the other.
1. Do your base colour. The base colour doesn’t have to be completely dry – here I have Face of Australia Show Off, a gorgeous neon coral creme that’s perfect in 3 coats, and I waited about 15 minutes before applying glitter.
2. Swirl the brush of the chunky glitter around in the bottle so the stem picks up some glitter. Depending on how dense the glitter is, this can be fiddly.
3. Take your cotton swab and use it to swipe a few glitters off the stem. Don’t pick up too many at a time – try to avoid getting too much of the clear base on your bud.
4. Line up your glitter and where you want the glitter to go, and tap it gently on your nail. Since there’s a little bit of the clear base on the glitter, it should stick to the base colour after a few gentle pats on the nail. Repeat until you have the pattern you want.
5. Check for furries! Some bits of cotton bud will come off onto your nail – you can carefully remove these with tweezers if you want, but usually they turn clear after you add topcoat. (This doesn’t work as well with black cotton buds!) If the bud gets too fluffy, it can get hard to work with.
6. Add topcoat, and voila! Glitter gradient!
Have you tried this technique before? How do you like to do your glitter gradients?