Friday 22 August 2014

Turquoise & green returning reciprocal chevron gradient

Another mind bender from the Gradient Guide, this time a new and improved version of the grey and white returning reciprocal chevron gradient I did a few months ago. This look can be done with any colour combo your heart desires! I went with a turquoise and green theme, holding onto summer as long as I can. Chevron mini nail vinyls are from


I was inspired by a pic sent to me be a friendly follower on Instagram, @polish3d_. She thought this fabric she found looked like the scaled gradient designs I do, and she's absolutely right except it you look closely replicating this exact pattern would require a hell of a lot of 'scales' - far more than I have the patience to do (and that's saying a lot). In fact I don't even know if it's possible to create this exact pattern on the nail, so I went with something similar but a lot more managable to execute: the returning reciprocal gradient. It is 'returning' because each gradient layer (there are 2) returns to its original colour (e.g., white, turquoise, white) and it is reciprocal because the two gradient layers are the exact opposite of each other insofar that they reciprocate each other. Confused? Me too. Check out my Gradient Guide for more.

I used a really crappy top coat to top it all off because I was trying to preserve my absolute fav quick drying top coat, HK Girl by Glisten & Glow. I used a generic Insta-Dri Sally Hansen top coat that was getting a bit old, and, well, boooo bubbles. Serves me right for going back to generic drug store crap I suppose.

Couldn't fit the white polish bottle in my hand too. I tried.

Pic of the chevron mini nail vinyls I used from

Makeup sponge so pretty are the fun I had with it! I use two different sides because it's best to use a fresh part of the sponge for every new gradient. In this case, for the second gradient layer I did with the opposite order of colours I used a new sponge. This is a tip in my Gradient Guide.


  1. Paint white base.
  2. Make a 'returning gradient' on foundation makeup sponge (aka middle gradient) starting with white, pale aqua, turquoise, pale aqua, then turquoise as seen in the video.
  3. Sponge on nail. Repeat 3 times or until you've reached desired opacity.
  4. Quick dry top coat. I always use HK Girl by Glisten & Glow when working with nail vinyls. Let completely dry.
  5. Apply mini chevron nail vinyls. I use an alternating technique to ensure even spacing of the chevrons - this technique is more clear in the video in this post. Press down on vinyls firmly over the entire nail and around the cuticle/side walls.
  6. Make a returning gradient on FRESH section of sponge but reverse the colour order (turquoise, pale aqua, white, pale aqua, turquoise).
  7. Sponge on nail. Repeat 3 times or until you've reached desired opacity.
  8. Remove vinyls promptly, I use tweezers for precision. 
  9. Clean up with 100% acetone and a small brush, top coat, and you're done!
Polishes used:
- China Glaze ' Too yacht to handle' (turquoise creme)
- China Glaze 'At vase value' (light aqua creme)
- Essie 'The more the merrier' (chartreuse green creme)
- Formula X 'Extraordinary' (light neon green creme)
- Pure Ice 'Superstar' (white creme)

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