From glittering tips to chrome nails & a twist on the classic red, nail your festive mani – whatever your skill set – with these expert-approved hacks, tips & techniques
Christmas is nearly here, and this year, we feel the need to celebrate more than ever. And the perfect finishing touch to our festive party look? The ultimate Christmas manicure.
Enter celebrity nail artist Stephanie Staunton, who’s here to show us how to master a range of trending Christmas nail art designs.
"Consider a Christmas manicure the perfect way to inject a little festive fun into your daily look," says Stephanie. "With the cost of living rising, it’s not always possible to get to your local salon, so I want to share with you all the insider tricks, tools and product recommendations to get the ultimate Christmas nails from home."
A great starting point? Having the right tools and products.
"As ever, the tools and products you use can make or break a nail look," says Stephanie. "The best part is that you needn’t spend a lot of money to get a professional finish. You’ll always find in my kit a Boots Nail File, a polish remover, such as Boots Nail Polish Remover, a cuticle oil, such as this No7 one, and Boots Coconut & Almond Hand & Nail Cream."
From the staples to have on standby to how to file your nails without causing breakage, watch our tutorial on how to file and shape your nails to master a salon-worthy manicure at home.
Perfectly prepped? Whether you’re looking for easy Christmas nail art or more intricate designs that are guaranteed to get more than a few ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’, read on for Stephanie’s Christmas nail art step-by-steps to take your look to the next level…
Jolly holly nails
This glittering Christmas nail design is nothing short of dazzling. The caveat? While it’s not actually the most tricky, it is a more time-consuming option. "Don’t rush it," advises Stephanie. "Between waiting for the various layers to dry and perfecting the finer nail art, you’ll need to set some time aside." It also makes for the perfect festive accent nail if you’re short on time.
1. Start by applying a layer of OPI Nail Envy Original. It’s brimming with nail nourishers, such as calcium and protein.
2. For the glossy pink, follow with Essie Nail Colour 13 Mademoiselle Nail Polish. The wide brush is ideal for quick, smooth application.
3. To create the berries, dip a dotting tool into Essie Nail Colour 59 Aperitif Nail Polish and press onto the upper and lower corners of the nail.
4. For the leaves, pair Boots Eyeliner Brush with Barry M Mexico Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Jalapeño. Don’t worry about them looking perfect, but do take your time. It’s easier to add more polish than it is to take away.
5. Next, it’s time to add some glistening dew to your berries. Use a dotting tool (or the finer tip of the Boots Eyeliner Brush) to delicately paint on some white dots using Boots Polished Nail Polish in 016.
6. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish in Go For Gold is perfect for adding a touch of festive sparkle. Layer a small amount over your holly leaves.
7. Once dry, seal with Essie Gel Couture Top Coat Nail Polish. It leaves behind a high-shine, gel-like finish.
Velvet nails are the perfect way to add a touch of Christmas magic to your look, without feeling OTT. The best part? This holiday nail look can be achieved simply by teaming your favourite polish (in any colour) with a mattifying top coat, meaning it’s super easy to recreate and suitable for novices. Consider the below a twist on traditional red nails.
1. Begin by applying a thin layer of My Mood TLC Base Coat at First Base. It’s the perfect pink to make your colour pop, plus it really increases the wear time of your manicure.
2. Apply Essie Celebrating Moments 635 Let’s Party Red Shimmer Nail Polish, beginning with small strokes at the bottom of the nail. This will help give a more precise finish.
3. Follow with a second coat, making sure to seal off the end of the nails.
4. Once dry, top with a matte top coat. Something like OPI Matte Top Coat or Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish Top Coat Matte Finish will work well to give off that soft, velvety-looking finish.
Glitter-tipped French manicure
This beautiful twinkly look is ideal for catching the light – consider it a real winter wonderland of sparkles. Team with lots of sparkly jewellery for the best, most dazzling combination.
1. Begin by applying Natural Collection Vitamin Base Coat, making sure to cover the whole nail. Less is more – you only want a light layer.
2. Follow with Natural Collection Quick Dry Nail Colour in Pink Manicure – it’s the perfect sheer pink and suits all skin tones.
3. For the perfect gold tip, look no further than Barry M Nail Paint in Syrup. Apply in the style of a French manicure then drag any excess pigment down the nail – it may look imperfect at this point, but it will come together.
4. Once dry, repeat the process with another sparkling polish to complement the gold. Essie Celebrating Moments 635 Let’s Party Red Shimmer Nail Polish is a great option, or you can mix things up with a peachy pink glitter, such as Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish in Shooting Star.
5. Apply a layer of My Mood Nail Polish Topper in So Cosmic. The golden stars catch the light beautifully.
6. Top with My Mood Super Speedy Top Coat for a high-shine, glossy finish.
Christmas chrome nails
"Chrome nails are a huge trend this season, thanks to Hailey Bieber," says Stephanie. "The best part is that it’s not just reserved for the salon. You can get the look at home easily with just a few smart product choices."
1. For this look, begin with My Mood TLC Base Coat at First Base. It’s not only a base coat, but a treatment too, so it doesn’t only look good, but does good.
2. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish in Game of Chromes is amazing for getting the chrome look at home, with only one product. Apply in two thin layers.
3. For a dazzling finish, top with My Mood Super Speedy Top Coat. It’ll add an extra touch of iridescence. Soft, supple hands are a must when it comes to completing this look.
4. Massage Cetraben Moisturising Cream over fingers and hands for nourished mitts.
Sparkling wine nails
Burgundy nails are highly searched and it isn’t hard to see why. Stephanie shows us how to create the perfect merlot classic red nail, with a glittering surprise. "This manicure always gets compliments," says Stephanie.
1. Begin by applying a thin layer of Rimmel London Nail Nurse Stronger Nail Polish Base Coat. It’s amazing for nourishing weaker, more brittle nails.
2. Follow with a bold burgundy, such as Rimmel 60 Seconds Super Shine Nail Polish 340 in Berries And Cream or Revolution Express Nail Varnish in Seduce Wine. Two layers will be enough for the desired opacity.
3. Next, apply Barry M Nail Paint in Syrup in gentle dotting motions at the base of the nails. You can then blend this out into a crescent shape with a fine brush – Boots Eyeliner Brush is a great option thanks to its densely packed bristles.
4. Seal the deal with Max Factor Nailfinity Nail Polish The Finale Gel Top Coat for a high-shine, gel-like finish that’s sure to dazzle.
Glistening festive green nails
Nothing says party season more than a touch of sparkle. So, inspired by Stephanie, we decided to get in on the action and go festive green with a touch of glitz using Mylee The Mighty Mani Gel Polish Kit. An amazing way to achieve gel nails at home, here we use it with the shade Looking Pine, a shimmering emerald from the Mylee Poinsettia Party Collection. The collection also features a festive red, All Wrapped Up, so you can switch between red and green nails with ease – we’re hooked.
1. Prepare and clean nails using the cuticle sticks, buffer block and the kit’s 2-in-1 Nail Prep + Wipe Solution. Proper prep will give your mani extra grip and staying power.
2. Apply the Mylee Base Coat and cure nails for 30 to 60 seconds under the LED lamp.
3. Apply a thin layer of Looking Pine and cure for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat to increase the intensity – one more coat is all that’s needed for a densely packed glitter effect.
4. Finish with the kit’s glossy Top Coat, cure for another 30 to 60 seconds and then remove the sticky residue with a quick swipe of the 2-in-1 Nail Prep + Wipe Solution. And voila! DIY gel nails that look like you’ve just stepped out of a salon.
For more expert tips and tricks for a salon-worthy, chip-free finish with zero bubbling, watch our tutorial on how to apply gel nails at home.
If you loved our Christmas manicure guide, then why not check out our three top festive make-up looks sure to take you from desk to dancefloor? We love any excuse for a party!