What is the best way to make French fade or “baby boomer” nails?

November 17, 2017 | Bookmark +

What is the best way to make French fade or “baby boomer” nails using gel-polish, gel, and acrylic?


Since fading can be done with different mediums, you may have to use different techniques because of the way each product sets, how thick its viscosity is, and how highly pigmented it is. For an acrylic fade, I choose the lightest color to work with first, because the more pigmented color can give me a little bit more time to fade, and I can always go back with the lighter color if there is a harsh line in my fade. Remember, with acrylic, there is a setting time, which means you have a limited time to work before the acrylic sets.

Some people prefer fading with gel because it is more forgiving. You can use a makeup sponge to fade gels. Polish the base on the nail, and then apply the color you want to fade onto the makeup sponge and sponge it on the nail. With traditional polish, I sometimes use the wet polish on the brushes themselves and fade the two colors together directly on the nail. I will also use my makeup sponge technique with traditional polish.

There is one technique I use when working with all mediums, and that is to fade both colors together. For example, if I was doing baby boomer nails with acrylic, I would apply the white first, but instead of leaving a harsh line wherever I want the white to end in the middle, I would also fade backwards to create a gradient fade from white to nothing towards the back. Then using the cover pink near the cuticle area, I would fade that forward. Because there is no harsh white line, I do not have to work so hard making the cover pink more pigmented or thick to cover that line.     

— Vincent Nguyen, Kingwood Nail & Spa, Kingwood, Texas, Hand & Nail Harmony educator

Editor’s note: Check out the Facebook page Confessions of a Nail Tech for more great nail tech questions like this one.

Have a technique question? (about product application, troubleshooting, etc.) E-mail it to and check back here for an expert answer.

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How can I prevent lifting when my client's hands are constantly in water?

I have a client who is in the medical field so her hands are constantly in water. She has me keep the length of her acrylic nails short. No matter what I do, she always has at least one nail that comes off, and she always has lifting and gets water under the acrylic. I prep the nails correctly, I have a cuticle bit to clean the cuticle area, and I wipe the nail with alcohol, dehydrate the nail, and prime the nail. What should I do?

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