You can swipe on
glitter eyeshadow or throw your hair into a sleek high pony, but don't forget about your manicure this holiday season. From sparkling French tips to candy canes to a metallic take on the ever-popular Skittles design, there are plenty of holiday nails from which to choose.
To help you find the perfect festive manicure, Bustle reached out to experts and nail polish brand founders to get some ideas on how to showcase the holiday spirit via your fingertips. From
Pear Nova founder Rachel James to Orosa's Carolyn Chen and Sundays' Amy Lin (and more), we've rounded up the 20 chicest manicure designs that'll have your tips sparkling between now and the new year.
Prepare to have serious heart-eyes: These holiday nail ideas feature everything from creative animal print to colorful confetti. So grab your mani tools and start prepping those nail beds for your Insta-ready holiday tips. And yes, of course — they’ll all look fabulous as you hold your glass of champagne.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Dots
Amy Lin says a cute dotted manicure is a great idea for the holiday. "The look is something fun and easy to make," she tells Bustle. "You can use different colors to create different styles." You can opt for a minimalist take and place a single dot at the base of each nail, or punch things up a bit by decking your full nail beds with a bold color, like Sundays' No. 13 Chili Pepper Red, for some vibrant glam.
"After nail prep, which helps nail polishes last longer, apply base coat and two layers of a base color of your choice," says Lin. Allow the polishes to dry. Then, apply a couple drops of nail polish onto foil paper. Using
dot makers, dip the polish and apply onto your nail. Finish with a top coat. 2 Evil Eyes
Moving into a new year, you definitely want to keep the bad luck away. That's why Lin also recommends an evil eye manicure design to ring in 2022. She believes it's a great look if you want to "keep in positive energy and let the negative energy stay away."
To get the look, Lin says to use white polish or a light color as your base coat. Let this dry, then, using three different sizes of a dot maker, create the eye. Apply the biggest dot in a shade of blue, like
Janet & Jo's Alma Matter, then a smaller one in white (like Butter London's Cotton Buds), followed by an even smaller dot in black polish, like Givenchy's Noir Interdit 04. Pro tip? If you don't have a dot maker, Lin says you can use the back of a ballpoint pen. 3 Clean Lines
Besides simple dots, Lin also says you can use lines for a festive touch to your manicure. She recommends using a golden base coat (like
No. 96 by Côte). Then, once that has dried, use two contrasting colors to create simple crisscrossing lines over one another. Paint one line first, let it dry completely, then do the other. You can do this on a single nail or apply to your entire hand. 5 Glittery Ombre Glitter is always a holiday classic. "It's like confetti on your fingers," says Nails of LA founder Brittney Boyce. "I think a glitter ombre is a more modern and chic way to wear it."
For the look, Boyce recommends using a shade like
Orly's Turn It Up, which is a rainbow-themed glitter that's perfect for creating a bold ombre effect. Begin with a sheer wash of polish, then apply more coats as you move towards the tip. 6 Metallic Skittles
Boyce also recommends a metallic Skittles manicure for the holiday season. "I've been seeing this trend a lot on social media, and it's really fun, especially for a Zoom party," she tells Bustle. "When you're going for solid bold colors, I recommend wearing them on
short nails." Simply pick a handful of metallic shades and apply a different one to each nail for an easy yet festive look. 7 Modern French Tip
You can also stick with a modern, neutral style — like the classic
French tips. "I think the French mani in the classic pink sheer nude base with white tips will be big," she tells Bustle. If you want added length, go with press-on extensions already imprinted with the design. 8 Sparkle Bursts
Manicurist and Sally Hansen ambassador
Hannah Lee believes a manicure made of sparkle bursts — think handheld sparklers — is a perfect holiday look. "These are great because they are quick and simple to do — you can't mess them up," she tells Bustle.
To get the look, apply two coats of a black base color (she recommends
Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel in Onyx-pected but Essie's Now or Never is also great). Then, use a thin brush to apply glitter shades to one corner of the nail, dragging the glitter out to create the burst effect. She then does the same to the other side of the nail with a different glitter shade. Finally, seal everything with a top coat. 9 Floating Confetti Carolyn Chen, founder of Orosa, loves this floating confetti nail look that her brand's in-house nail art creator Rebecca Flack created.
To get the look, pick three to five of your favorite shades. "Create small dots with a dotting tool from the
Nail Paint Stipple Set along the tips of your nails, working through the shades from darkest to lightest and keeping the heaviest concentration of dots right at the tip," says Chen. "Keep the base of your nail bare for a negative space effect." Once the confetti dots are dry, Once the confetti dots are dry, top with a coat of glitter polish like JinSoon’s Soiree for that extra sparkle. 10 Animal Print French Tips
By this point, it's clear French tips are in, but Chen is combining them with animal print. She believes this is the perfect combo that'll have you embracing your wild side.
To get the look, Chen says to start with a base coat (like
Smith & Cult's Basecoat). Then, apply two thin layers of a nude shade that pairs with your skin tone (like those in Mented's Nude collection). Let these dry, then create small dots and oblong shapes using a nail dotting tool and golden and brown shades of polish just at the tips. Finally, seal everything with a topcoat. 11 Subtle Sheen
There's nothing wrong with a little subtlety, according to Chen. "If you’re not big on bold nails, this simple negative space look will do the trick," she tells Bustle.
Start with a nude base color that matches your skin tone and add a second coat for extra coverage. Then, apply one to two of Orosa's
Silver Linings Pure Pop Nail Stickers around the edges of each nail. Seal it all in with a top coat and you're done. 12 Starry Skies Rachel James, founder of Pear Nova, says that a starry design is "the perfect foundation for your nail art and a reminder to bring in the holidays on a positive note." She loves nail artist Morgan Dixon's mani — which uses Pear Nova's Clear Your Space polish — for a festive look. Her take? "You can add something extra with accent nails, hand-painted stars, and a few crystals for a touch of bling." 13 French Glitter
In search of a more dazzling take on the classic
French manicure? Look no further than these gorgeous glitter tips, created using a combination of The Gel Bottle’s colors Private Entrance, Daisy, BIAB 19, and Blanc. Here, the look is red, but feel free to paint them any color your heart desires. 14 Minimalist Snowflakes
This subtle design embodies the feeling of creating snow angels and building snowmen. With silver sparkles on just a few tips and hand-painted snowflakes on the rest, allow your mani to channel the most wonderful time of the year.
15 Silver Blues
For a less subtle take on the wonderland vibe, you can opt for a mesmerizing design like this one. Simply paint your pinky finger silver and thumb a dark but sparkly blue, then use the two colors for tips on your middle and pointer fingers. Create a statement nail out of your ring finger by drawing a blue and silver wrapping paper-esque print, then seal it in with a coat (or two) of sparkles as desired.
16 Gold Flakes
Why not top your nails off with some celebratory gold flakes? All colors pair perfectly with gold, but this bright red feels especially festive. You can completely paint each nail, opt for a French mani, or go with a combination of the two, as seen here. There’s no wrong way to rock the metallic this time of year.
17 Abstract Ribbons
This modern take on a classic Christmas manicure is the best of both worlds, evoking the delicate ambiance of the traditional French tip with an abstract red ribbon to really make it pop. The look can be recreated with any color, depending on your particular holiday mood — just be sure to have a
striper brush handy. 18 Candy Canes
This merry manicure is sweet while still being chic — its negative space allows you to lean into the holiday spirit without going all-out with the
candy print. Simply paint your nails as you would a typical white French manicure, then top your tips with hand-painted lines of red. Et voilà! Candyland ready. 19 Shades Of Blue
For a slightly less ornate but still stunning holiday aesthetic, experiment with various shades of blue. This set of light to dark hues will brighten your day as temperatures drop and excude an icy cool yet elegant vibe as you prepare to celebrate.
20 Polished Presents
If you’ve ever wanted to match your manicure to the gifts under the tree, you’re in luck: This lighthearted look is the ultimate holiday design. Plus, there’s no need to adhere to specific colors — go with any shades you like. Simply apply your base as you usually would, drawing the illusion of wrapped ribbons and bows o top with a darker shade of the same color. Paint each nail a different color, or mix and match.
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This article was originally published on
Dec. 29, 2020