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. The overall consensus? To ensure your nails dazzle between now and New Year’s, you can opt for something like glitter ombré,
3D bling, or specks of gold flakes. You could also opt for a more direct nod to the festive season with something like reindeer nail art or an extra-Christmas-y ribbon print. In other words: Your holiday mani doesn’t have to be a standard red and green design.
Grab your polish and your mani tools and start prepping those nail beds for your Insta-ready holiday tips. Keep scrolling for some truly adorable manicure ideas that are perfect for winter. And yes, of course — they’ll all look fabulous as you hold your glass of champagne.
Amy Lin says a cute dotted manicure is a great idea for the holiday. 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 prepping your nails with a base, apply a couple drops of nail polish onto foil paper. Using
dot makers, dip the polish and apply onto your nail, then finish with a top coat — and that’s it! 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, which she notes "keeps in positive energy and lets 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 Golden Swirls
Besides simple dots, Lin also says you can use swirled lines for a festive touch to your manicure. She recommends using a golden base coat, then, once that has dried, use one or two different colors to create simple crisscrossing lines over one another. You can do this on a single nail or apply to your entire hand.
5 Glittery Ombré 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 ombré 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,” she tells Bustle. Simply pick a handful of metallic shades and apply a different one to each nail for an easy yet festive look.
7 Pearlcore French Tip
You can also stick with a modern, neutral style — like the classic
French tips, says Boyce. If you want added length, go with press-on extensions already imprinted with the design. Then, to transform the OG design, simply add pearl accents for a more festive take on the look. 8 Sparkle Bursts
Manicurist and Sally Hansen ambassador
Hannah Lee believes a manicure made of sparkle bursts 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. Then, use a thin brush to apply glitter shades to one corner of the nail, dragging the glitter out to create the burst effect. Do the same to the other side of the nail with a different glitter shade, then seal it in 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.
Simply 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 Subtle Sheen
Another minimalist holiday mani option? Opt for a touch of shimmer. "If you’re not big on bold nails, this simple negative space look will do the trick," Chen 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. 11 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 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." 12 French Glitter
In search of another 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. Feel free to paint them any color your heart desires. 13 Silver Blues
Channel winter wonderland by mixing a rich blue and sparkly silver nail polish. 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.
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 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.
16 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. 17 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. 18 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 exude an icy cool yet elegant vibe as you prepare to celebrate. Experiment with matte textures to make your mani even more Insta-worthy.
19 Plaid Print
You’re spending holiday evenings in your most festive pajamas, so why not match your nails to your favorite set? Take inspo from this mani, which pairs a couple of red French tips with red plaid print nails that basically scream Christmas.
20 Silver Velvet
Transform your fingertips into cozy-looking
velvet nails, which are heavy on head-turning luster. This silver shade is perfect for the holiday season. 21 Sparkly Stars
These almond-shaped glitter star nails are the perfect way to add some shimmer and a pop of color to your mani. Try out this design for your New Year’s party to stray from the usual simple silver and gold, and you’re sure to receive tons of compliments.
22 3D Bling
Not into color? Stay neutral with a clear base, but add some fun with glittered gemstones and embellishments for a totally chic 3D manicure.
23 Go Green
Try out a forest green-based mani with hints of gold and red embellishments for a holiday-ready look.
If you’re not a fan of traditional holiday colors, try this colorful mani featuring reflective flakes that shimmer when it catches the light.
25 Purple Glitter
You can never go wrong with glitter this time of year. Let the sparkles really pop by keeping your base clear or neutral, then opt for a bold glitter polish like the one in this royal purple set.
26 Gold Reindeer
Nail art isn’t reserved for long nails or extensions. This set features the cutest gold reindeer details for a festive pop.
27 Mix & Match Prints
Pair your favorite mani trends — like yin-yang nails and checkerboard print — into one mani with a holiday touch. This set showcases the cutest Grinch face on one nail.
28 Gold Chrome Tips Chrome nails aren’t going away anytime soon, and they’re extremely appropriate for the holiday season. Go with gold or silver chrome for a wintery take on the trend.
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This article was originally published on
Dec. 29, 2020