5 Grown-Up Ideas for Christmas Nails (That Aren’t Tacky Reindeer)
When it comes to holiday decor, there are two types of people: those who go all out decking their halls (like your next-door neighbor who has every colored light and animal from the nativity scene on their front lawn) and those who prefer a more understated setup (a simple string of white lights, perhaps). The same rings true for holiday nail art.
For our fellow nail art minimalists, we teamed up with our friends at Olive & June to bring you five nail art ideas that are festive, sleek and totally doable at home.
1. Shiny Ornament Mani
Negative-space nail art—that is, intentionally leaving the base of your nails bare—is every minimalist’s dream because it’s visually clean and the grow-out is seamless. For a holiday twist that’s reminiscent of shiny ornaments, dip a toothpick into a darker polish (we used a sable brown here) and create a cluster of tiny dots near the tip of your nail, making sure to leave space between them. Follow with a few dots of rose gold, gold and a finishing touch of silver polish for contrast. Let dry for a few minutes, slick on a topcoat and admire your handiwork.
2. Bow Tie Mani
For a sleek, geometric take on a classic red mani, try triangle cutouts at the bottom of your nails. Using your favorite red polish, paint a diagonal stroke from one side of your nail bed to the opposite side, ending at the tip; repeat on the other side, leaving a triangular window at the center of your cuticle. Apply a second coat of red to really make it pop. Let dry for a few minutes and finish with topcoat.
3. Candy Cane Contrast
For a candy-cane mani that’s a little less saccharine than the ones of Christmases past, we recommend a glimmering gold base topped with a simple dash of red. To re-create the look, paint two coats of gold polish on the entire nail. Then take a red polish and paint a diagonal line from the bottom of your nail to the tip. Speaking of tips, here’s one: Don’t go crazy trying to paint perfectly straight lines; let the brush do the work for you by sweeping the bristles across in one swift motion. (Trust us, it’s better this way.) Follow with a second coat of red and—you guessed it—a topcoat to finish.
4. Holiday Ombré
Ah, the wabi sabi nail trend lives on, and to borrow a line from one of our favorite Christmas tunes, it doesn’t show signs of stopping. The beauty of this look is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Choose a palette of festive hues like we did here and get to painting. And if you need a bit of guidance, we recommend anchoring the pinkie and thumb with the darkest shades and keeping the rest merry and bright, as they say.
5. Double Metallic Crescents
OK, now that you’ve graduated to intermediate-level nail artistry (congrats, by the way), you’re ready for the next design. Grab a silver polish and paint a crescent at the bottom of each nail. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be perfect.) Apply a second coat of silver to enhance the color. Next, use a gold polish to swipe on a gilded French tip. (Again, don’t worry about it being perfect; you can clean up any wobbly lines later.) Add a second coat of gold. Now comes the part you’ve been waiting for: Dip a slim angled brush into polish remover and clean up any shaky lines. Let them dry and finish with a shiny topcoat. By golly, you’ve done it.