The holidays are here, with Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve blowing in like a snowstorm of fun. Whether your nails are short or long, we’ve got ideas for everyone, from the skilled home manicurist to the first-timer, to give you easy, festive design inspo from nail experts for the holiday season.
Here are a few tips and ideas from the pros to deck your nails with holly, glitter and more fun designs to celebrate the season.
“Glitter and confetti are always a festive go-to for the holiday season. An ombré glitter is fun and easy to achieve by dabbing the brush from the tip of the nail up towards the cuticle,” explains Jessica Tong-Ahn, Smith & Cult nail artist. “This step can be repeated until you get the desired opacity at the tip and gradient up toward the cuticle.”
Smith & Cult Nail Lacquer A Little Lovely ($12.60, originally $18; amazon.com)
This highly pigmented glittery nail polish delivers brilliant shine and smooth coverage.
Essie Luxeffects Nail Polish ($8.99; target.com)
All that glitters is gold with this highly-rated, super-sparkly polish that’s also available in silver.
Pacifica Bio Glitter Translucent Topper ($10; ulta.com)
This sheer glitter is meant to be worn on top of another shade, making executing the ombré style easier.
Give basic red an update, says Darlene Sritapan, education and capability manager of nail brand OPI. “A modern twist on a French tip with red nail art is sure to stand the test of time,” she explains. Try a gloss tip on a matte nail, black and red, or even a red tip on a glittery nail.
OPI Big Apple Red ($10.79; ulta.com)
This classic red should probably be in everyone’s polish collection, and it’s the perfect base for an updated holiday French mani.
Sundays No. 17 ($18; dearsundays.com)
For a deeper red look, we love this cheery, cherry shade from editor favorite non-toxic brand Sundays.
If you prefer to wear your nails short, you can still get in on fun, says Tong-Ahn. “Short nails can always be complemented with a dalmatian print, that’s my fave go-to, nude with a black spot,” the artist explains. “It goes with everything. I also always love a leopard print for short nails, it also goes with everything.”
Smith & Cult Nail Polish Bang The Dream ($18; smithandcult.com)
Use a nail detail brush, or the tip of a pin, dip it into this dark color and dot your nail to make a stylish leopard or dalmatian print.
Essie Wild Nude ($8.99; target.com)
This base color from Essie works with many skin tones, and is perfect to top with cute details.
Olive & June Nail Polish HD ($8; target.com)
Use this highly rated white as a base for a dalmatian print, or dot with red and green or blue polish, for a festive holiday look.
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color Buff and Tumble ($4.99; target.com)
Another nude base in a slightly darker tone, this highly-rated beige color dries fast so you can get out the door and hit the parties.
Smith & Cult Nail Polish Shattered Souls ($18; amazon.com)
Want to be on trend for the season? Tong-Ahn is all about sparkles and silver, telling us, “I’m feeling melting precious metals, metallic and wet looks for the holiday winter 2021.”
Put this disco polish on your “holiday go-to” team says Tong-Ahn, and we agree this will sparkle up any look.
Christian Louboutin Rouge Louboutin Nail Color Sevillana ($50; nordstrom.com)
Skip the red bottoms and get a dark metallic look from the famed shoe designer. Your toes will look so epic peeking out of your dressiest heels!
Nail Polish Holiday Gift Set ($10; target.com)
Gift yourself pretty holiday nails with this set that has almost everything you need to try different nail styles and designs.
Tweexy Wearable Nail Polish Holder Ring ($9.99; amazon.com)
Not sure you’ve got the steadiest hand? This polish holder makes it easier to get the polish from the bottle — it holds all bottle sizes — to your nail.
Oblique Head French Tip Nail Brush ($6.99; amazon.com)
For detailed designs or French tips, you’re going to need a nail brush, and this highly-rated one will do the trick, says Tong-Ahn. “Definitely try using a striper brush for these types of designs and check out my Instagram for some fun how-to videos,” she says.
OPI Infinite Shine Long-Wear Nail Polish Base Coat & Top Coat Duo ($22.50; ulta.com)
Don’t forget a primer and top coat! This duo from OPI is highly rated, and we can personally confirm they will seriously extend the life of your mani.
Mario Badescu Special Hand Cream with Vitamin E ($8; nordstrom.com)
Nothing distracts from a pretty manicure more than cracked cuticles and dry skin, so keep your hands healthy and on point with this thick, moisturizing cream.