So, my friend Moonzy asked me to do a tutorial on a manicure she saw online and liked a lot. It was a really pretty purple/pink gradient with a matte topcoat and shiny topcoat dots on it. I did it and took pictures for her so she can try and do it at home. Please excuse the quality of the photos -- my regular camera is out of commission at the moment, so I had to use my phone.
To start off (after you've done your base coats and whatever care you normally do), pick a color you like (I chose Finger Paints' 'Be a Pal-ette', which is a gorgeous holiday purple that I adore) and do two to three coats, whatever it takes to get full coverage.
Next, draw on tips in your second color (mine is Color Club's 'Warhol'), thick at the tips and thinner as you go down. Don't worry about it being neat -- you just want full coverage at the tips. Your next step is to take a makeup sponge (I like the triangles, but you can use whatever makes you happiest or makes you feel like you get the best results) and paint on some of your color on a corner. Take the sponge and dab from the tips downwards (going from side to side down towards the bottom of the nail) so you get a gradient going. Do that on all your nails until you get the kinds of results you want. If you want an example of someone doing this in real life, go watch some videos on Bob Ross. He does it the best and it'll make you laugh, too. Happy trees, happy trees...
So, you see what I did there? Of course you do, because you went and watched a dozen Bob Ross videos. Right? Right.
Your next step is to do your clean up. You can do it however you like. I take a little makeup brush that I keep specifically for nail clean up and use some acetone to get rid of the excess polish.
All nice and neat. Next step: put two coats of the matte topcoat of your choice (I use Essie's Matte About You) and let it dry. And dry. And dry.
Then, take a brush or a dotting tool (I don't have a dotting tool yet, so I used a brush) dipped into a regular topcoat and put dots down in the corners going out until you get the effect you want. Mine turned out looking like this:
Not too bad for a first try! If you do this yourself, make sure you come back and post pictures so I can see!