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How to do nails with 3 colors?

How to do nails with 3 colors?

Painting nails with 3 colors is a fun way to add creativity and personality to your manicure. Combining multiple polish shades creates an eye-catching ombre or colorblocking effect. With some planning and practice, anyone can learn how to do quality multicolored nails at home. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through all the steps, tips and techniques you need to know to do a beautiful manicure with 3 colors.

Choosing Your 3 Nail Polish Colors

The first step is selecting three polish colors to use. Consider colors that complement each other and create the look you want. Here are some popular color combination ideas:

Color 1 Color 2 Color 3
White Light pink Hot pink
Nude Peach Coral
Yellow Orange Red
Green Teal Blue
Purple Lavender Periwinkle

When first starting out, stick to shades within the same color family like pinks or blues. Once you get the hang of it, feel free to experiment with bolder color combos. Darker colors like black, navy or dark red also pair well with lighter pastels.

Consider trying a neutral nude or pale color as your base, with two brighter tones on top. This creates a striking contrast. Metallic polishes are fun too and make the layers shine. Just remember to use thin coats so the metallic shimmer shows through.

Preparing Your Nails

Before painting, you want to make sure your nails are prepped properly for the polish. Follow these steps:

– Trim and shape your nails into your desired length and style. File the edges smooth.

– Use nail polish remover to take off any existing color or oils.

– Apply a base coat to the nails. This helps the polish adhere and protects nails.

– Push back and trim your cuticles if needed with a cuticle pusher and nail clipper.

– Use a nail dehydrator to remove any moisture and oils from the nail plate.

– Gently buff the nails to create a rougher surface for polishing.

Taking the time to prep nails helps the manicure last longer with minimal chipping or peeling. Always start with a clean slate.

Painting Your Base Color

Once prepped, you are ready for polishing. Begin with the lightest color first as your base coat. This is usually a nude, white or pale pink.

Hold your nail straight and still. Apply the polish starting in the center of the nail and brushing outwards to the sides in even strokes. Add 2-3 thin coats, allowing drying time between each.

Be sure to seal the free edge of the nail so polish covers it fully. Extend the color over the tip slightly to help prevent chipping. Avoid flooding the cuticles with polish.

Let the base coat dry thoroughly for 5-10 minutes before moving on. The polish should feel smooth and glossy when dry.

Adding Color #2

The second polish shade will be painted on top of the base color in an ombre effect.

Choose whether you want the ombre to fade top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top. Top-to-bottom ombre has darker polish at the cuticle that gradients into light tips. Bottom-to-top is the reverse.

For top-to-bottom ombre:

– Apply color #2 starting at the base of the nail near the cuticle. Brush on the polish in thin, controlled strokes.

– As you brush downwards, gradually lighten the pressure and coverage so it fades out towards the tip.

– Do 2-3 coats, moving the fade line further down the nail with each layer as it darkens.

For bottom-to-top ombre:

– Paint on color #2 starting at the free edge of the nail and brushing upwards.

– Use very light pressure at the tips and increase coverage as you move towards the cuticle.

– Apply multiple sheer coats to deepen the color at the base.

Make sure to let each coat dry before adding another. Be patient and work slowly to get a seamless ombre effect.

Finishing with Color #3

The final polish shade can be used to enhance the ombre, create colorblocking or just add an accent nail.

To make the ombre more gradient, paint color #3 in a transitional zone between the two other shades. Blend it into the ombre seamlessly.

For blocked colorbands, paint #3 across the tips or at the base of the nail in clean horizontal stripes. The width of the bands is up to you. Leave negative space between them.

Adding #3 as an accent nail means painting 1-2 nails a different color than the others. This makes them pop. Use tape to create sharp lines if wanted.

Finish with a clear top coat on all nails to seal and protect the polish. This helps it last longer without smudges and smears. Apply top coat carefully to avoid disrupting the layers underneath.

Tips and Tricks

– Work on a table or steady surface so you can rest your hands while polishing.

– Apply polish in thin coats and let dry fully between each layer. Thick blobs will take longer to dry and mess up the ombre effect.

– Use a lint-free wipe to catch any excess polish along nail edges as you work.

– If you make a mistake, use a small brush dipped in remover to fix it.

– Clean up the skin around nails with remover once done polishing to tidy up any messy edges.

– Finish by massaging in cuticle oil around the nails to hydrate.

– Don’t forget to cap the nail tips with top coat to seal the free edge.

Removing Your Multicolored Manicure

When it’s time for a change, removing the 3 layers of polish can take a bit more effort. Take your time and use remover generously.

Soak cotton balls thoroughly in acetone-based remover. Press them against each nail and hold for 30 seconds before swiping off. Repeat until all traces of polish are gone.

You can also apply remover directly to nails and let it sit before scrubbing off. Use a wood stick or orange stick under the free edge to help lift off polish.

It may take a few rounds of remover to get down through all the layers. Go slowly and gently to avoid peeling. Finish by buffing nails lightly and massaging in cuticle oil.


With some preparation and the right techniques, painting a beautiful 3-color nail design is easy to achieve at home. Follow the steps to create gorgeous ombre, colorblocking or accent nails. Feel free to get creative and make the look your own. With practice, you’ll be able to do stunning multicolor manicures that match any occasion or outfit.