Holiday Nail Art For Any Skill Level

Two holiday party nail looks that dazzle but don’t distract.
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Two holiday party nail looks that dazzle but don’t distract.

Festive nail art is fun and appropriate most of the year, but during the holidays, when invites for fancier affairs arrive, I like to have a manicure that complements--not clashes--with my look. 

I mean, I’m dressed up, I actually did something to my hair, and of course, I’m wearing my best makeupThe last thing I want is for my reindeer nail wraps to hog all the attention! Here are two holiday manicures that will match all of your fancy dress outfits.  

If You’re A Beginner, Try Red Nails With Gold Glitter Stripes

red glitter manicure

A touch of gold glitter top coat easily amps up red nails.

Red nails are a staple during the holidays, but gold glitter stripes elevate them to the next level.

You’ll Need:

  • A red base color. I used FORMULA X for Sephora in Curiosity, a classically bright red.
  • A gold glitter nail polish. I used NYC Top of the Gold Top Coat.
  • Tape (optional). 
red nail polish

L-R: FORMULA X for Sephora in Curiosity, Wet N Wild Top of the Gold Top Coat

1. Apply two coats of the base color and let your nails dry.

2. Paint a vertical stripe from the base of the nails to the tip. If you want a perfect line you can stick strips of tape on both sides of your nail and paint the space in the middle.

3. Go over the stripe with more of the gold glitter nail color until you achieve the opacity you want.

And you’re done! It’s a really simple way to add some glam to your nails. I’ll admit that the top coat did most of the work since it’s so gorgeous. So choose your top coat carefully.

If You’re Intermediate, Try A Scalloped Tip

scalloped tip manicure

Scalloped tips are simpler to do than French tips, and they’re more eye-catching.

If you love the look of French tips, but you can’t be bothered with creating those perfect white arcs, these scallop-tipped nails are a fun, girly, and (if you have the right tools) fast alternative.

You’ll Need:

  • Base nail color. I used Zoya Professional Lacquer in Timo, a deep navy.
  • Contrasting nail color for the scallops. I worked with Essie Nail Polish in Blanc.
  • Sewing pin with a ball at the end.
  • Any pencil with an eraser attached.
zoya navy nail polish

L-R: DIY dotting tool, Zoya Professional Lacquer in Timo, Essie Nail Polish in Blanc.

1. Paint two coats of the base nail color and let your nail dry thoroughly.

2. To create a dotting tool, stick the pin into the eraser so it’s secure.

3. Dip the ball of the pin into the contrasting nail color. The pin should have enough nail color on it that it can easily create dots, because the more nail color on it, the bigger the scallops. If the pin looks dry at all, you need to dip it in more nail polish.

4. Use the pin to dot side-by-side circles across the edge of the nail. You may have to dip the pin into the nail color a couple of times for each finger. If you have longer nail beds and you want to dedicate more space for the scallops, you can precede this step by loosely painting a horizontal stripe or arc across your nails. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect--the scallops can easily cover up an imperfect edge.

5. Finish off with a top coat.

  • What are your go-to nail designs for the holidays?
  • Do you ever consider nail color/art when dressing up?