Holiday 2023’s Biggest Nail Trends Include Layered Glitters and Vampy Red

The pros fill us in.

Two hands wearing holiday manicure trends

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As the old saying goes: You’re never fully dressed without a manicure. Okay, fine, it’s “a smile,” but we would argue that a mani is just as important—especially during the holidays.

Nails are such an essential part of any look, whether it’s a big fancy occasion like a holiday wedding, a glam party, or a cozy and casual gathering at home. Think of them as the perfectly tied ribbon on top of a present or the star on top of the tree; the moment just isn’t complete without it. While you probably think red and sparkly when the holidays roll around, these nail trends prove that holiday manicures can be as versatile as your celebrations.

Ahead, the pros fill us in on the coolest 2023 nail trends to try this holiday season.

Meet the Expert

01 of 10

Shiny Chrome Stars

Starry manicure

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Give the tinsel or New Year’s Eve disco ball a run for its money this year with shiny silver chrome nails. “Silver chrome has taken over the nail industry by storm, so lately, I’ve been loving chrome, specifically stars, for the holidays,” says Le. “Adding them to a black French mani elevates it without it feeling too ‘holiday.’” She loves Essie’s No Place Like Chrome to paint little stars on each nail; that shade is discontinued, but Londontown’s sparkly metallic silver Dishy Splendour ($16) is a great substitute. Finish with a long-lasting topcoat like Essie Gel Couture ($11).

02 of 10

Layer Up

Model wearing a glittering pink manicure and purple sweater

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If you want something special but don’t have a ton of time to spend on your mani, layering adds a touch of holiday magic without a lot of fuss. “Layering is super simple. If you can apply polish to your nails, then you can layer,” says Jimenez. “Glitter shade toppers that look amazing by themselves instantly transform any shade into something you wouldn’t expect.” Think chunkier glitters, microfine shimmers, or even holographics. 

Apply one to two coats of a base shade, and then apply a thin coat of a shimmer or glitter topper. “You’ll have the best results with a thinner coat so the base shade can still show through,” she says. A few of her favorite combos, all from OPI, even have on-theme names. Try Five Golden Flings over Rebel with a Clause; Hot & Coaled over Peppermint Bark and Bite; Yay or Neigh over Hot Toddy Naughty; Put on Something Ice over Blame the Mistletoe; Put on Something Ice over Black Onyx; Put on Something Ice over Sickeningly Sweet ($11 each). Layering also helps you get more use out of the polishes you already have so you can make the most of your stash.

03 of 10

Sweater Weather

Model wearing sweater nail art

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The weather outside is frightful, but your nails look so delightful. Wrap them up in 3D textures reminiscent of your favorite cozy sweater. This manicure, courtesy of Gerstein, puts your at-home skills to work. “Start with Orly Snow Angel ($11) for the white and paint your French tips, then let it dry,” she explains. With a detail brush, paint a cable knit sweater pattern, and while it’s still wet, sprinkle on loose, superfine glitter to create a 3D sweater tip. If you really wanna lean into the holiday vibes, paint holly berries and leaves on your nail bed; Elle likes Orly’s Sugarplum Soirée ($20) for the berries and Regal Pine ($11) for the leaves. “I love this look because it’s a traditional, nostalgic nod to Christmas without being so kitschy.”

04 of 10

Micro Glitter

Model wearing a gold micro glitter manicure

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You don’t need to pile on the sparkle to feel festive. A subtle shimmer still feels special. “I love the micro-glitter effect because it adds a subtle and festive glow to any nail color,” says Choi. “It’s perfect for people who want a little bit of sparkle without going overboard.” Layer them over your favorite polishes, wear them together, or add a hint of sparkle with one coat. To get the look, Choi recommends prepping with JINsoon Power Coat ($18) base coat and cites the shades Halo, Nova, and Aura from her Holiday Glow collection as mani must-haves; Aura is a sheer pink sparkle, Nova is a glam gold, and Halo is a silver glitter with rainbow holographic specks.

To use all three shades together, Choi recommends painting your nails white or black, and then dabbing a dot of each color on your nail in an abstract form and finishing with a topcoat.

05 of 10

Cherry Mocha French

Model wearing a cherry mocha French manicure

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Don’t mess with a classic, says Le. There’s a reason deep black cherry nails are always a go-to choice starting in autumn and trending well into the holiday season. “Red has been the color of fall, so continuing the red into winter only makes sense!” Her top pick is Essie’s cult classic Wicked ($11), and not just as a single-color mani. “I’ve really been into French manicures lately, so adding red tips is the perfect subtle holiday-inspired nail look. It’s also great because you can go in between manicures longer since you don’t notice the growth as much.” She also advises upping your cuticle oil usage during the cold winter months to keep the delicate skin supple.

06 of 10

Magical Metallics

Metallic silver manicure

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Choi calls metallic silver and gold shades “cool and glamorous at the same time,” and she’s right. Metallics will make you shine no matter how you wear them. Choi likes JINsoon Nifty, a vintage-inspired pewter/silver with shimmer, and Spiffy, a rose gold ($18 each). Paint the entire nail or use them for a teeny-tiny micro French.

07 of 10

Deep Bordeaux

Model wearing red wine nail polish

@cirquecolors/Instagram

Lippmann is a fan of Bordeaux-inspired shades come December; unlike the cherry mocha red with its black or brown base, Bordeaux nails are a classic wine shade. “This is perfect for anyone who loves a classic but wants to deepen the hues and richness in color for the holidays,” she explains. If your polish of choice has a silver shimmer, it will look best on cooler skin tones; warmer skin tones should try a Bordeaux with gold undertones. Her picks, all from her own line, include Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish in Blazin, Single Ladies, and Lady Is a Tramp ($20 each). To find your undertones, Lippmann suggests looking at your jewelry. “Silver looks best on cool skin tones, and gold complements warm tones,” she says. “That rings true for any of these nail lacquer shades, whether it’s a shimmer or a crème. Any skin tone can pull them off; it just depends on whether the shade lies more on the cooler or warmer side.”

Feel free to revel in the glamour with your nail shape. “I love a slightly longer almond-shaped nail–it’s very slenderizing, quite sexy, and still very strong,” says Lippmann. “A short, more rounded style is always a classic go-to shape.

08 of 10

Perfect Plaid

model wearing plaid nail art

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Nothing says “holiday spirit” like a plaid or tartan pattern. Tobias calls them “flannel nails,” which instantly conjures up visions of relaxing on the couch in a comfy shirt and watching your favorite holiday movies, cup of hot cocoa in hand. The best part? They’re surprisingly easy to create. “What makes this look so special is that you can make it work with any color,” she says. Burberry-inspired, red and green, blue and white… anything goes! Start by laying down lines, and overlap them as you see fit for that plaid pattern. “My biggest tip is to use a highly pigmented polish so that you don’t have to overlayer the colors and lose shape,” says Tobias. For a soft-focus finish, Tobias recommends using a matte-finish topcoat.

09 of 10

Rose Gold Shimmer

Model wearing a rose gold shimmer manicure

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For something soft and neutral that you can wear from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, Lippmann loves a rose gold shimmer. “It’s easier to wear [on a short nail] and is super festive for the holidays. On the other hand, a longer rose gold nail gives off a bit of razzle-dazzle,” she explains. The shinier, the better is her philosophy here; the micro shimmer is almost like the bubbles dancing in a glass of champagne.

For a statement nail, Lippmann recommends using her Gel Lab Pro polish in Hand Clap, a full coverage rose gold shimmer, on a longer-length tip; for an everyday look, keep the nails short with rounded edges. Her Gel Lab Pro Gel-Like Base and Top Coat Set ($49) will keep your mani looking ultra glossy and plumped up.

10 of 10

Hot, Hot Red

Model wearing bright red nails

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Find your mani inspo in Santa’s bright red suit. Instead of a vampy deep red or rich Bordeaux, opt for scarlet or crimson red like wrapping paper, holly berries, and the big man himself. “I love a classic red manicure with JINsoon Vanity or Coquette (each $18) for the holidays,” says Choi. “It’s festive, elegant, and always looks good. A red manicure is perfect for any holiday occasion from a Christmas party to a New Year’s Eve celebration. It’s also a great choice for everyday wear, especially during the winter months.” Sometimes simple and classic hits the spot.

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