Beauty Tutorial: Holiday Nails

’Tis the season to dial up your nail look.

Nothing says “party” better than a million-dollar manicure brimming with swagger. We asked our favorite nail artist Dawn Sterling what her favorite trends, tips, and looks are for the holiday season. “Having a manicure completes every look,” she says.Adding metallic, glittering, or shiny elements like foil leaf, encapsulated glitters, or crystals is the secret to making it extra-special.”

Dress Up Minimalist Shades with Crystals

Another way to festive-up a pale, easygoing shade is with a few well-placed gems. “I love, love, love adding a few crystals for some twinkle,” says Sterling. “If you’re feeling bold, mix up the sizes and have fun. If you want a simpler sparkle, just add a medium or small crystal right at the base of the nail, which is a bit more subtle.”

Hottest nail trend for the holidays: Chrome

For Sterling, this is so right now. “Crimsons, gold, rose gold, silver, dark greens, eggnog white, and reds,” she says. In other words, chrome it up. In case you’re not totally familiar with this very particular kind of polish, here’s how Sterling defines it: “It’s a shiny smooth version of metallics, that has a mirror-like effect on nails. It’s done by adding a chrome powder over your nails for that shiny look. Very similar to metal metallic nail polish, but with more impact. The polish that has the closest chrome effect would be Essie, No Place Like Chrome.”

When in doubt, go for reds or glitters.

“Red for the holidays is classic, chic, and very sexy—especially a deep crimson which feels seasonal and wintry. Glitters are fun, cheerful, and super pretty. It just feels like a celebration.”

Like a Tux for nails: A French tip

Does the idea of venturing outside of your go-to minimalist nail shade make you break out in a cold sweat? No worries. “If chromes or reds don’t work for you, you can still look more polished and festive just by adding a French tip,” says Sterling. “It’s my favorite simple, but not-so-simple addition to any nail color. It will give your nail some zest and is eternally elegant.”

No Mani, No problem.

What if you’re running late and didn’t have time to glam up your nails? “My number one advice in this situation is to make sure your nails are clean and add lots of cuticle oil. This alone will look like you just received the most incredible buff manicure.”