12 Cool Nail Colors That Are Perfect for New Year's

Updated 06/21/19
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If you just want to Netflix and chill this New Year's Eve, we see you, we feel you, and we just might be you. But for those who like to go all out in anticipation of the brand-new year (we see you and get you too!), it's time to gather your glitter, assemble your wardrobe, and select your bubbly because New Year's Eve is almost upon us. Exciting? Very! Daunting and cortisol-provoking? You bet. Which is exactly where Team Byrdie comes in.

To help your holiday season sail as smoothly as possible, and because we realize life, stress, and to-do lists don't cease to exist the second the clock strikes candy-cane season, we're covering your bases where holiday-centric products and looks are concerned. And right now, we're talking the nail colors we feel are New Year's Eve–approved for 2018. Whether you'll be ringing in the New Year at a sparkling, fancy-schmancy venue or the casual Thai takeout spot just around the corner, we're here for you. Ahead, our editors picked out which nail colors they have on their radar for New Year's Eve 2018. We haven't made any official decisions yet, but as members of the extreme-last-minute camp, we have exactly one dozen dazzling options on deck for you and your tips. Keep scrolling!

1. Tipsy Taupe

Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in She Wolf
Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in She Wolf $20
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Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Happy Birthday
Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Happy Birthday $20
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When two of Deborah Lippmann's most iconic colors—She Wolf and Happy Birthday—come together, magic is sure to follow this New Year's. Byrdie's social editor, Kelly Gallagher, always has the most top-notch nail situation. Little does she know I have an album of screenshots dedicated to her Instagram nail game, so naturally, I asked what her plan of attack was for this year's celebratory festivities.

"Deborah Lippmann's She Wolf is my go-to nail color for everyday. It's this perfectly creamy, taupe-y gray. For New Year's, I want to jazz things up a little bit though, so I'm going to use Happy Birthday as a top coat for a little bit of fun sparkle, without straying too far from my comfort zone."

2. 24-Karat Gold

Tenoverten Nail Polish in Worth
Tenoverten Nail Polish in Worth $18
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I recently made myself a mani appointment at one of my favorite nontoxic nail spots, Tenoverten, and as soon as I laid eyes on this glimmering, gilded shade from its namesake collection, I was sold. (Maybe literally?) The payoff is so saturated (not at all sheer), shiny, and sparkly, but a less aggressive option than Technicolor glitter. It's called Worth, which feels like a fitting mantra for New Year's, and I'm already planning to polish-repeat come December 31.

3. Matte Onyx

Butter London Nail Polish in Union Jack
Butter London Nail Polish in Union Jack $15
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A pure bolt of black will always be a chic and totally appropriate option for New Year's, but painting it matte and black? Well, color us obsessed. Kelly (the aforementioned nail goddess) actually had a matte-gel look a few months back around Halloween, and I'm still so in love with the cool AF finish that I needed to bring it to your New Year's Eve. Even though Kelly's mani was an in-salon job, she personally recommended this matte top coat from Butter London. And naturally, I ordered it ASAP.

4. Shimmering Scarlet

Smith & Cult Nail Polish in The Message
Smith & Cult Nail Polish in The Message $18
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Red for winter is a given, and we approve! Alas, upping your game with something a little off-kilter and whimsically mysterious is perhaps a better way to ring in the New Year. We're currently having a fiery affair with Smith & Cult's holiday launch coined The Message. It's a deep, rich red but with eye-catching hints of gilded glitter for extra pizzazz.

5. Money Moves

Live Love Nail Polish in After Hours
Live Love Nail Polish in After Hours $16
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Glittery nails are par for the course during the holidays, but we happen to think an enchanting flash of emerald is the hidden gem of the season. We promise, your fellow partygoers will be seething in envy. 

6. Spiked Cider

Essie Gel Couture Polish in Pearls of Wisdom
Essie Gel Couture Polish in Pearls of Wisdom $12
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According to my roommate (aka Byrdie's beautiful features editor, Amanda Montell), Essie's Gel Couture shade in Pearls of Wisdom is on her polish-painting to-do list for NYE 2018. Described by the brand as "lustrous mulberry pearl," it's warm, cozy, and über-flattering on all skin tones. 

7. '90s Disco

Tenoverten Nail Polish in Broad
Tenoverten Nail Polish in Broad $18
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For a vibey, one-part-grunge, one-part-luxe manicure move this New Year's Eve, we have another top-notch recommendation (this time from wellness editor Victoria Hoff) from our friends over at Tenoverten. "I'm obsessed with this one," Victoria gushes. "Nineties meets disco." Tenoverten's formulas are nontoxic and insanely long-lasting (not always the case with clean formulas), thus you officially have our blessing to pull an all-nighter December 31. 

8. Electrified Lime

Base Coat Nail Polish in Toxic
Base Coat Nail Polish in Toxic $20
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Honestly, we feel like Base Coat's effervescently bright shade of slime green (it's a thing) pretty much speaks for itself. But just in case you need additional coaxing, Victoria gives it her stamp of approval for those looking to stray from subtle this year. Honestly, we love it, and despite the intoxicating name, the formula is anything but poisonous. 

9. Fairy-Dusted Fuchsia

OPI Nail Polish in Berry Fairy Fun
OPI Nail Polish in Berry Fairy Fun $11
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Even if you don't make it to the actual ballet this season, you can still get in on the tradition's holiday magic with OPI's latest collection inspired by Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. This shade is called Berry Fairy Fun, and it's quite possibly the most beguiling shade of iridescent purple we've ever seen. (Alas, snap it up fast because it's flying off the shelves!) 

10. Star-Lit

Lechat Dare to Wear Metallux Nail Polish in Unicorn Tears
Lechat Dare to Wear Metallux Nail Polish in Unicorn Tears $12
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We've just come to accept the fact that the unicorn trend is here to stay, and we're A-OK with it! Just as long as brands like Lechat keep coming out with striking formulas (like this shade-shifting metalized pearl) that make the fantastical comparison warranted. Thus, meet Unicorn Tears—the answer to any unsolved mysteries where a minimalist's maximalist New Year's nails are concerned.

11. Blue Crush

Essie Nail Polish in Midnight Cami
Essie Nail Polish in Midnight Cami $9
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When I asked Byrdie's senior editor Hallie Gould what nail color she planned on sporting this New Year's Eve, she told me this iconic shade from Essie is one of her all-time loves. The glimmering shade is dark, moody, and just off-center from black, which makes it a little less expected but all the more intriguing for whatever you have planned this holiday season.

12. Moonlighting Nude

J. Hannah Akoya
J. Hannah Akoya $19
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However, if you lean more toward the light side than the dark side as far as your New Year's nail color MO, Hallie also recommends this shimmering nude shade from seven-free polish brand J. Hannah. Dripping with what the brand describes as "baroque opulence," it's a barely there antidote we'd use as a quick hit of luminous highlighter—but for your nails. 

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