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Coming from the French word ombrer, which means to shade, the ombré trend began in the early 2000’s and has lasted nearly twenty years. Beginning with the ombré hairstyle, many cultural icons such as Khloé Kardashian, Alexa Chung, and Sarah Jessica Parker started with the faded look of darker hair to light. The idea was genius, when expertly done, the ombré style relieved the pressure to keep your color in order to prevent your roots from showing. While achieving this style wasn’t just about letting your roots grow out, and there were for sure awful executions of the ombré look, the trend persisted. One top of the ease of the style, it opened the doors to new color combinations and experimentations previously not thought of in the world of hair.
Around 2013, the ombré trend burst out of the hair world and began to permeate the rest of the style universe. Ombré color gradation showed up in clothing designs, home décor, wedding accoutrements, and of course, nail art. What makes ombré perfect for nails is while the design itself is simple the finish packs a punch. Ombré can work with any color combination, as an entire look or an accent nail, on short or long nails…as you can tell, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
If you favor a darker, more dangerous style, then you will go crazy for our red and black ombré nail designs. Red and black are a natural color pairing, and that goes double for ombré-style nails. Start the black at the cuticle or at the tip, make the red the focal point or go for a deeper shade to make the black the star of the show, keep it matte or make it shiny…whatever your style, there will be a red and black ombré nail for you!
Best Red & Black Ombre Nails
Red-tipped Ombré Nails
Devilishly beautiful, short coffin nails are the perfect nail for red and black ombré. This style takes on a tipped look, with the red focused at the tip of the nail and the majority of the design being black. Finishing with a shiny seal adds a classic touch and deepens the colors.
A mish-mash style, each nail in this look takes on a distinct design with themes that tie them together. The red and black ombré is important, as it connects the sparkling red nail to the other black designs within the style. While a volleyball is featured here, you could switch out that design for another sport or something that would complement the other colors, like silver.
Get the Point?
If you favor a long, pointed nail, an ombré color effect is an ideal alternative to tips. Trying to do a French-style tip doesn’t really work with this shape, but with ombré you can create a color contrast without sacrificing impact. Red and black are perfect for this shape, as red gives a pop of color while black provides the drama.
Matte nails are a popular choice in nail art, and are a great way to execute the red and black ombré look. By its nature, matter nails are more subtle, which makes them a great choice if you work in a professional setting. The ombré here starts the red at the cuticle, and implements a darker shade. The gradation contrast is less obvious, fitting with the matte style. Altogether, the whole effect creates a two-toned look that is simple and clean.
Red Glitter Tips
Using glitter within your ombré style adds dimension and glam to your look. The glitter catches the light, therefore the eye, and pumps up the wow factor. Using a black nail polish with a bit of shimmer complements the glitter and helps to keep the contrast from being too extreme. There’s enough extreme in this look with the pointed tips, so it is important not to overdo it.
Rounded points give a sense of fun and danger in this cool ombré style. Red is the star within the color combo, making black the tip. While some ombrés have a subtle gradation, the colors here make a quick change from red to black. This creates the illusion of tips while still sticking with the ombré style.
Ombré and Stripes
Mix and match is on trend in nail art, particularly between hands. This bold look goes for a quick-change ombré on the one hand to give a pop of color, contrasting the stripes on the other hand. A coffin nail shape is a fun way to add another bit of flair to the style. If you wanted more color cohesion (other than just black) you could make the accent nail on the striped hand red to pull everything together.
Ombré and Silver Dust
Silver glitter is a great complement to the red and black ombré in this look. Glitter provides a textural contrast, while the silver brightens up the deeper tones of the ombré nails. Going with a matte style for the ombré is another distinct element opposed to the shine from the glitter.
The best way to accomplish this look is with the dip powder method, painting the red on the nail first and then using black dip powder to create the ombré style. With dip powder, the gradation is a quick change rather than a more subtle shift in color, causing a two-toned effect. Rounded tips here add a sense of length to this shorter look.
Black Ombré Coffin Nails
Using ombré in this style is a great way to make the look cohesive, while still having an accent nail. The red provides a pop within the design, while the black-centric ombré mellows out the style. Long coffin nails make a stunning impact with a simple yet effective coloring.
A fun way to shake up the red and black look is to go with a deeper color of red, such as this beautiful wine color. Another example of the dip powder method, the ombré appears more subtle here because of the darker shade of red. A shiny overcoat adds a pop and a fun finish to the overall style.
The three-dimensional black flower adds a cool decoration to this matte look. Rounded, long nails are a pretty way to show off the ombré style, complementing the flower. Using the same black nail polish to create the flowers is the ideal way to maintain cohesion throughout the look.
Short Dip Powder Tips
One of the greatest advantages of dip powder is the ability to create awesome looks for yourself at home. This ease of use makes a style like this perfect for a home manicure. In this case, you can see that the black ombré tips are slightly different sizes, implying a home style, but such a small detail would be hard to catch. People will be asking you how much it cost to get your nails done!
Ombré and Diamonds
If you are a fan of glitz and glam, adding diamonds to your nails is a great way to pump up your nail looks. Using ombré tones within a manicure like this breaks up the design and adds another element of style. The pop of the red complements both the shine of the glitter and the black.
Deep Red and Black Ombré
A deep shade of red goes perfectly with the black in this ombré look. With curved, pointed nails, you want to let the shape make the impact. Going for a muted version of the red and black ombré helps the nail shape to stand out, but still fits with the style. Finishing with a shine is a great way to draw the eye, but a matte would look just as nice if you need a subtle alternative.
An unconventional take on an ombré style, this look comes from using a nail or paintbrush to achieve the ombré effect rather than a sponge. Utilizing a brush creates a streaky rather than perfectly blended design, but it has a classical painted quality that makes the whole look unique. For this design, finishing with a conventional glossy clear coat is important to smooth out the effect. This is one of the few styles that wouldn’t necessarily convert well to a matte look.
Red and black clays have been trending in facials and skin care, but the natural earth tones aren’t just limited to face washes and toners! Here, a red clay tone is a great complement to the charcoal black, blending seamlessly in the ombré style. A matte finish works best in this situation, as it fits with the natural theme.
Devil in the Details
These stunning long nails make quite the statement in this ombré red and black look. The slight shimmer within each of the polishes adds a bit of depth, with the shine makes the colors sing. If you look closely, you can see that this ombré effect is another than depends on the brush rather than the sponge, but the brushstrokes are more subtle. It is almost as if the colors are both made of smoke, swirling and mixing, but only just.
Red like the Flame
Here, the ombré nails serve as one part to an overall eclectic look. Keeping with the same color palette, the red and black work nicely within the style. The shimmer of the flame stickers complements the glitter, while the ombré sets off the black nails with rhinestones. It’s important if you favor a mash-up look that you maintain consistency somewhere within the style, and the red and black accomplish that.
Deep Red, Subtle Ombré
You really have to look twice to see the ombré effect in this style, but it is certainly present. A deep, alluring red is the star of the show, lifted by just a hint of black at the tips. This is a great alternative to flat, one-color nails, but still works if you have to be more judicious in your nail styles. A subtle ombré is also a great option if you have shorter nails but want to try out the look.
Queen of Hearts
Glitter and shimmer are the stars in this style, with the ombré playing a more supporting role. The chrome red stands out, book ending the designs on the middle two nails. The shade of red in the ombré is slightly darker than the chrome, but helps to complement the hearts. Painting these hearts would be difficult even for a skilled artist, so going with a shaped glitter is the best option to achieve the effect.
Ombré and Mesh
Fishnet stockings automatically bring an element of sexiness, but paired with red the hot factor intensifies. The red and black ombré bring a steamy element of color, minimal gradation presenting a stark contrast between the tones. In almost a reverse ombré effect, the mesh element on the accent nail provides funky flair.
Bright red is a great choice in this style, expertly blended with the black in the ombré. In this instance, the ombré tricks the eye into perceiving the nails as longer, which is nice if you want highlight your length. The white floral accent is a great visual contrast, standing out against the deep tones of the black and red.
Into the Spider-verse
If you’ve seen Spider-Man: Into to Spider-verse, you’ll have seen all the variations of Spider…uh….heroes and their various outfit choices. This nail design mashes up a few different concepts to create one cool accent nail while staying true to the essential look. The ombré red and black nails get a hit of sparkle with silver glitter, which is an awesome way to pump up your ombré look. If you have shorter nails that can’t quite show off the design element, you can still do the ombré and glitter effectively.
Short and Sweet
One of the major advantages to ombré nails is its versatility. Not all designs can work on any length of nail, but this red and black ombré style is just as effective on these fabulous short nails. It is understandable that the artist would go for a quick gradation rather than a gradual one, however you could do a pop of color at the cuticle with the focus on the fade. In this case the black takes on the look of tips, a common choice in ombré.
An elegant look, the ombré here is delicate with the deep red, bringing a level of maturity and sophistication. The touch of gold in the star on the accent nail is just right, not overdone, complementing the rest of the design. This is a great look for a night out, a special occasion, or Christmastime.
A Touch of Bling
Tiny diamonds set of this ombré look perfectly, contrasting with the bright deep and shine of the black. Diamonds are a great way to give your nail style that little extra umph while also providing a distinct shape to your nail. With this ombré look, the colors take on jeweled tones that are just right complement to the actual jewels.
This is Halloween
If you are a Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, then these nails will certainly make you scream! The red color here flirts with the orange side of the spectrum, perfect for Halloween, and the ombré into black adds just the right touch of mystery and spookiness. Classic Halloween symbols come in the form of decals, with the spider web touch from the white nail polish. While Oogie Boogie isn’t his usual green self, that is certainly his wicked grin coming from the middle and pinky fingers.
Red and Black Sugar Nails
Working the ombré into this eclectic look, the red and black are striking against the white sugar accent nail. Different elements of the design work together to provide cohesion, from the rhinestones complementing the pearls in the sugar nails to using a similar shade of red throughout. Going for a long, pointed nail brings a sense of edge and danger to the style.
Delicate Ombré Tips
Here, the ombré effect is so subtle that it makes is almost nonexistent. However, the color change brings a sense of depth, almost like an outline of the nail or shading within an art piece. Using this look on shorter nails makes the paint style more effective.
Red Shimmer Ombré
A deep wine color as the base, the ombré fade is a seamless and natural change to black. The shimmer aspect of the polish helps to accomplish this effect, as the texture blends the colors together. This style looks perfect on a mid-length nail, just enough space to make the ombré effective without being overdone.
This shade of red is a stark contrast to the black, making the ombré all the more noticeable. With the black sugar effect on the pinky, it is almost as if the red changed over the course of the hand to black. A cool style brings consistency through the look while still allowing for different nail designs. The little touch of white on the middle gives just another little detail to make the look unique.
Wine Coffin Nails
While not an extreme coffin shape, this nail design implements a less severe version of the trend. Deep red works nicely with the black, as does the gradual gradation of the color from one to the other. Finishing with the glossy coat makes the darker colors sing and adds a bit of brightness.
Round Ombré Nails
A similar color palette to the previous look, these round nails show off the ombré look on a shorter nail. It is a misconception that you must have long nails to execute a cool nail design, as these nails prove. With shorter nails, using the sponge or dip powder methods are the most effective to get a clean ombré look.
Another great short look, pointed tips work well no matter the length. As long as you have a bit of an extension beyond your finger, you can create a sharp point. The ombré is deep and dark in this matte style, allowing the point to make the statement.
Flexible enough to us in any nail look, the ombré trend is a great way to use color to your advantage (especially if you can’t decide which color to choose!). Red and black are not only an ideal pairing, but this color combination lends itself to a variety of styles and effects that work well against the ombré. No matter what nail length or shape you prefer, red and black ombré will work for you.
What fun ombré looks have you tried? Let us know in the comments!
 Meghan Gourley, “Ombré: A Ubiquitous Word for That Faded Look.” New York Times, November 6, 2013, https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/fashion/Ombre-a-ubiquitous-word-for-that-faded-look.html.