Cupcake Polish hosted a sunset nail art challenge on their Instagram and this manicure was my entry. I don’t do as much nail art as I’d like, and I am always looking to practice and improve my skills so when I saw their challenge post I decided to use the opportunity and have fun crafting a cute nail art look!

To create this look I started with a white base because one of the polishes I wanted to use for the design is pretty sheer. I used just 1 coat of Zoya‘s “Purity” for this as the base didn’t need to be perfect coverage, it just needed to be enough for the sheerest shade to not look translucent on the nail.

Next I sponged on the sunset gradient using “Pink Lemonade,” “Heart of Iceland,” and “Mod Squad” all from Cupcake polish. I built that up in 3 coats of sponging. “Pink Lemonade” is a beautiful polish but pretty sheer so I did one extra layer of that sponged on to just the tip, just to make sure the light pink wasn’t getting overpowered by the darker shades.

The gradient was trickier than I expected it to be, in part due to the formulas of the polishes I was using were all completely different. In general, I think gradients tend to be easiest to get a good blend on when the polishes have the same formula. I really wanted to use these 3 polishes though so I just went for it anyhow!

To finish off the design I applied palm tree stencil nail vinyls to two of my nails, and filled them in with “A Dangerous Woman” from Blush Lacquers being sure to remove the vinyls while the polish was still wet. “A Dangerous Woman” is my favorite one coat black as it is super opaque with a great formula that glides on so smoothly. I love using it in both nail art, and wearing it as a full manicure.

After allowing about 10 minutes for the palm trees to dry I sealed in the design with a coat of quick dry glossy topcoat.

I hadn’t done a gradient in a really long time, so this was a good excuse to practice the technique. Even though I did not achieve the perfect blend on all of my nails, I had a really fun time doing this manicure and overall am happy with how it turned out.

California sunset nails! The shade in the bottle I am holding is “Heart of Iceland”