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I’m Already Getting Handsy With These Expert-Approved Holiday Nail Trends

Whether you’ve already streamed John Legend’s new holiday album or you’re waiting to press play on Mariah Carey’s ’90s classic (you know which one), the most festive time of the year is upon us (*cue glitter rainfall). And while some use the season as an excuse to amp up their makeup, wardrobe or pine-scented candle collection, I focus my holiday efforts elsewhere: my nailsGiven the sometimes expensive and unavoidable gift-giving, I usually forfeit the salon for an at-home paint job.

So, staying true to my DIY heart, I asked Sarah Gibson Tuttle—founder and CEO of nail salon turned at-home, full-service nail polish vendor, Olive & June— to share the holiday nail trends that don’t require an expert hand. “People feel a sense of excitement with holiday. Whether you try something small like glitter or metallic or red, it becomes exciting. There’s a couple of holidays a year, but this is like a season; it’s longer (Thanksgiving to New Years Day) and you can have fun with it,” she told me.

Instagram PhotoSource: Instagram

As Gibson Tuttle walked me through the trends and designs, she also concocted new variations and ways to experiment on the spot—her mind! But no matter your skill set, you can make these looks as simple or intricate as you want. At the end of the day, the final product should be a reflection of you. According to Gibson Tuttle, a manicure is “self-expression at its finest because polish can give you a whole mood for a week— which is incredible.”

Keep reading for her take on three emerging trends. And if you need proof that these are in fact DIY-friendly, I used Olive & June’s new winter shades and their Treat Yourself mani kit to test drive one. With guided help and tons of DIY tips, the results are, as they say, *chefs kiss*.

ombre holiday nail design

Olive & June.


You’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. It’s everywhere. Gibson Tuttle says “it’s the non nail-art, nail art and it will continue to reign supreme into the holiday season.” Though the options are endless, she also says “We’ll start to see more dark, bold color combinations like shades ranging from bright white to true black or midnight blue.  Once we get into December, I think we’ll also see more festive color combinations like a bright white with shades of silver, gold and cherry red.” 

Don’t let the fear of choosing the right shades scare you, either. You can start from your favorite lacquer and move along that range or jump around to find what suits you. If the thought of planning all ten fingers is truly daunting, though, Olive & June has special ombre nail kits that have everything chosen for you. 

dot holiday nail design

Olive & June.


Remember when your third-grade teacher said, “Dot, dot, not a lot?” Well, ignore that. Gibson Tuttle knows how to revamp a dot mani even though the look isn’t necessarily new: “We’re loving mixing dark hues and metallics as it really gives you a hint of sparkle for the holidays without being overpowering. I think you’ll see this trend in a few ways; a dark base (like our new winter shades HJ, LL and E+M) paired with a metallic dot (think OJBH, OJPAS or OJSM) or the reverse where the base is metallic and the dot is dark.”

You can go wild with dots or keep it to a few; the choice is all yours. There’s also no limit to how many different color dots you can mix-and-match on all ten nail beds. When I say the options are endless, they truly are.

french manicure holiday nail design

Olive & June.

French Manicure

The old classic is back in the best way possible. It’s no surprise that a holiday go-to will be metallics and dark colors. Some of Gibson Tuttle’s favorite combinations are “a black base (like E+M) with a metallic gold tip (think OJBH).”

She adds, “You’ll also start to see the skinny reverse french with either a dark or metallic hue as the hero shade. This trend is so versatile and there are endless color combinations so just play and have fun with it!” You can also go as skinny or as thick you want with the line so don’t worry about following the whites of your nails. To really spice things up, create the French at the base of your plate instead of the tip. 

french manicure holiday DIY nails

My DIY French Manicure

I am by no means a nail artist, however, creating this French mani was not only easy and fast but brought me loads of joy. I used the Olive & June Treat Yourself kit that comes with their entire winter collection (nine colors plus the topcoat) and every tool you need: flat-edge nail clippers, non-greasy cuticle oil, nail file, buffer, cleanup brush, polish remover pot and their invention to make painting easier, the Poppy. It’s the ultimate package and out of their 11 kits, the number one Gibson Tuttle herself would buy.

I attempted two variations: a dark base and a light base with the former being more tailored to higher-skilled DIYers. Before doing either though, you need to prep and you need to prep well because it make or break how long the look lasts. Gibson Tuttle’s trick for shaping the nail is to trim and file with your old polish still on. She does this with the 90/10 rule, which means you shape 90% with their flat-edge clipper and then file the other 10% of the way.

From there you dip, buff, dip, AKA take off your old polish off by dipping into the polish remover pot, buff your nails, and then dip again into the polish remover pot. At this point, she says do not touch anything and start your manicure right away. You don’t want debris, dirt or water getting onto the nail plate. Now that you’re ready to start ahead is the step-by-step for the light base version.

  1. Start with your tip color ( I used OJBH). Take the color on the polish brush itself and create the line that you want and as messy as it needs to be. Gibson Tuttle says you probably want to go a little larger in this step than what you want your final line to look like because you’re going to be cleaning it up.
  2. Take the cleanup brush and dip it in the polish remover pot. Either place your hand down on a table and work the brush that way to anchor you or hold your hand in front of you and brush away the excess polish, creating the line you want. 
  3. Dip the brush into the pot as often as necessary and whittle that line into the shape you want. Go slow and if you mess up, just dip your finger in the remover start and start over.
  4. Wait about five minutes and cover with a light shade like EC from their Spring collection.
  5. Go back over the line with your tip color to make sure it pops (or leave it under the base color if you want a more muted tone).
  6. Finish off with a layer of top coat and admire your updated French manicure. 

holiday nail polishes for french manicure

Once you think you’ve mastered that or want to test yourself, you can try out the dark base French. I have to be honest, this was much harder because you don’t have the liberty of cleaning up your line. Nevertheless, I had Gibson Tuttle walk me through it.

  1. Paint your nail with the dark base (I used LL). Gibson Tuttle says thin coats are your best friend. You can always apply more, but thick coats equal chipping and peeling. 
  2. Wait for it to fully dry. I know we all want to move onto the fun part right away, but Gibson Tuttle advises even waiting a whole day to make sure your nail isn’t impressionable. 
  3. Either freehand the line of your tip with the polish brush or use tape/stickers to guide a line for you (I freehanded mine and I would recommend tape if you want it to be crisp).
  4. Once dry, add a top coat and you’re done.

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale. 


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