A fun and festive manicure is a must this holiday season — now more than ever,” says Thuy Nguyen, the nail pro who tends to Reese Witherspoon and Charlize Theron’s tips and toes. Adds Mo Qin, who counts Beyonce and Naomie Harris as clients, “It’s the cure to winter blues and lockdown fatigue! Why not finish the year with something special?”
That includes on-theme nail art, classic red, sparkle and unexpected brights. Here are some smile-inducing ideas for your holiday manicure, along with a few tips for nailing the look.
“Nail art brings so much joy, whether it’s simple polka dots or intricate floral detailing,” says Nguyen. Check out the nearly 80 million #nailart posts on Instagram to get inspired with ideas to take to your manicurist for application. Qin suggests “a plaid pattern in the style of wrapping paper for a more sophisticated design” or “white or pale blue ombré with a couple snowflakes for a cute look.”
How do you avoid nail art competing with your holiday ensemble? Nguyen suggests a clear or neutral-toned shade as a canvas for nail art. “You can easily pair your nails to any outfit with a nude base.”
Nguyen says people are requesting a lot of “bright, fun colors” lately. “Typically during this time of year, everyone is moving into fall colors but it doesn’t seem to be the case this year.”
How fun will your digits look on New Year’s Eve with neon, turquoise or cobalt blue? “Any color will not be too much for the holidays,” says Qin.
She recommends getting a gel manicure done three to four days before your event. And if you do it at home with regular polish, “It’s best to do it the day of so it looks fresh and flawless.”
Qin calls red “a must” for the holidays. “It’s timeless but has a special significance around the holidays. Incorporating red into any design evokes the Christmas spirit!” True reds are particularly on-point this year. A few classic cherry shades to consider from non-toxic brands: Londontown Double the Deck , tenoverten in Ludlow ($12) and Jin Soon in Ardor ($18).
“Glitter is always big around holidays,” says Qin of the festively sparkly option. The beauty of glitter is that it works well on all nail shapes and lengths, and can be subtle (as a top coat over a classic color or as a French tip) or bold (thick color on long talons). Two application tips: First, use a base coat and a layer of polish, then top with glitter polish, rather than applying directly to the nails (which can be hard to remove); and second, use a thick, shiny top coat for a smooth finish. Fashion tip: “If you love to wear a lot of rings or bracelets, then try to avoid glitter polish,” advises Qin.
If you are somewhere warm or otherwise planning to show your toes this holiday season, Qin says to “go simple” with “classic colors like pink and red.” Make sure to complement your fingernails. Or hey, go with the ‘80s trend and match your fingers and toes. If you have nail art on your fingers, use one of the color elements on your toes. For example, if there are red bows on your fingers, go red on the toes. Tada! Festive from tips to toes.
We only recommend products we have independently researched, tested, and loved. If you purchase a product found through our links, Sunday Edit may earn an affiliate commission.