Around this time of year, stars, snowflakes, and sparkles are just a few of our favorite things—not to mention a show-stealing manicure. And though festive nail art can easily veer more tacky than tempting (penguins and reindeer, we’re looking at you), there are plenty of lust-worthy looks that still speak to our ’tis-the-season spirit—sans the cheese. From our tips to yours, here are nine handpicked looks that we’ll be sporting all winter long.
Keep scrolling for some serious (and snowmen-less) inspiration!
Just when we thought our flannel obsession couldn’t get any more out of hand, we spotted celeb manicurist Tom Bachik’s “Mad for Plaid” Instagram post—and crushed majorly. With an undeniably festive feel, this tartan-inspired look manages to feel both retro and modern—and is equally workable as an accent or allover look.
This barely there manicure is great for those who want to get in on the holiday spirit but shy away from look-at-me colors or patterns (hey—glass, glitter, and gingham aren’t for everyone). The practically transparent stars have a season-appropriate feel and make for the daintiest of tips—simply sprinkle some star-shaped sequins on top of your base coat and follow with an ultra-glossy topcoat. Sally Hansen Diamond Shine Base & Top Coat ($4) is a good pick.
Ever so slightly reminiscent of ornaments, champagne glasses, and all else that glitters, the shattered-glass manicure (created by none other than Korean nail goddess Eun Kyung Park) is one of the best nail trends we’ve seen, well, ever. An epic upgrade from the standard glitter or chrome—it’s the perfect clash between edge and elegance—sure to awe both dinner guests and the brunch brood alike. For the base (and pre-cellophane application), we like Essie Nail Polish in Wicked ($8) or Butter London Nail Lacquer in Pink Ribbon ($8).
A playful way to spread some holiday cheer, this snowfall-inspired nail look by manicurist Simcha Whitehall is sheer perfection. Brought to you by Cosmopolitan, this festive how-to features a über-sophisticated palette of black, white, and gray. However, the sky’s the limit in terms of color—experiment with a shade of sugarplum if you’re feeling adventurous. We like Zoya Nail Polish in Margo or Monica ($10).
One part naughty, one party nice, this super-glossy mani is sure to stun—all season long. Re-create the look by swiping your favorite shade of polish over a blacker-than-black formula such as China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Liquid Leather ($8).
And everything nice… That’s what this mani is made of (don’t hate us). In this matte-meets-metallic look, nail guru Madeleine Poole creates an edgy look that’s perfect for any shade range (we dreaming of bronze, silver, blush…). For this graphite-inspired feel, Ciaté London Paint Pot in Velvet Tuxedo ($15) is the unanimous choice.
Which festive look will you try first? Sound off below!