A fine line
“A lot of people are looking for something unique for their holiday nails, not typical glitter ombré or traditional gold and silver,” says Toronto-based nail artist Naomi Misu. For a fresh take on the classic festive mani, opt for icy hues (like the cool lavender and glittery magenta polishes by CND, seen above) and a graphic design you can easily achieve at home.
Step 1: Apply two coats of base colour and let dry completely. Nails need to be tack-free, says Misu. For best results, she recommends opting for a fast-drying formula.
Step 2: Use tape to create a diagonal guideline, covering the part of each nail that’s closest to the thumb. Placing the glitter polish on the outer half of the nail makes for an easier application.
Step 3: Apply the glitter polish, starting with one coat. Paint it on until you achieve your desired opacity, letting it dry between each coat.
Step 4: Gently remove the tape and let the polish dry completely. Seal the deal with a high-shine topcoat.
Pro tip: Pick a solid shade and a glittery accent with similar undertones to nail the look.
“Playful designs like this are trending for the holiday season,” says Rita Remark, Essie’s global lead educator. For a fun design that’s easy to DIY at home, try a modern polka dot motif. Remark loves to work with black and white polishes as they pop on any skin tone, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different colours. “If black and white is too stark for you, choose softer shades, like black and navy, or white and gray,” she says. Or, go classic with holiday-inspired hues, like red and green.
Step 1: Choose two polishes, painting nails in alternating shades. (You can also alternate shades at random for a more whimsical feel.) Apply as many coats as needed to achieve opacity, letting the polish dry completely.
Step 2: Decorate nails with dots using the opposite shade of your base coat. Use a double-ended dotting tool dipped in the contrasting shade of polish, alternating the the size of the dots. The ends of your dotting tool will likely be of different sizes, but for more variety, you can also use household items like bobby pins and toothpicks.
Step 3: Finish with clear topcoat for enhanced shine and protection.
Pro tip: No professional tool on hand? No problem. “If you don’t have a dotting tool, use a bobby pin and the tip of a makeup brush handle to create dots,” suggests Remark.
“For the holiday season, I love shades of red, glitter and metallics.” says Naéda Samedy Arthur, a nail technician working out of Montreal’s must-visit Candy Nail Bar. “I love a simple red mani, but there are lots of easy ways to take your holiday nails to the next level.” Using red as a hero hue, Samedy Arthur used swirls of nude and gold to create a marbled effect that works beautifully as an accent nail or can be carried across every nail. This motif allows you to unleash your creative side. “Nothing is really precise for this design so feel free to make each nail unique,” she says.
Step 1: Apply a clear base coat. If you’re going all-in with swirls on every nail, skip ahead to step two. If you’re dabbling with accent nails, apply two coats of red polish on the nails that won’t be marbled.
Step 2: Put a few drops of red and nude polish on a palette for easy access. “You can use a piece of aluminum foil, or any smooth plastic surface you don’t mind staining with polish,” says Samedy Arthur.
Step 3: With a small nail art brush (which can be found at beauty retailers or in the craft section of the dollar store), pick up some of the red polish and apply a strip of colour on part of the nail. Before it dries up, use another small brush to pick up a bit of nude polish and swirl it into the red. “Don’t be afraid to add more red or nude polish depending on what you prefer.”
Step 4: Use a gold polish to paint an irregular strip along the sides of the design. To avoid polish overload, remove excess product from the brush first and build up lines as needed.
Step 5: Finish with clear topcoat.
Pro tip: To clean up polish on the skin around the cuticle area, soak a cotton swab in nail polish remover.