11 Sophisticated Festive Nail Art Trends (& Not A Snowman In Sight)

It’s official. Party season has arrived and with it comes a plethora of excuses to embrace a more maximalist approach to everything from your wardrobe to your makeup. It’s nail art that really comes into its own at this time of year, though. Whether you’ve got an office party or a cosy evening at the pub with friends, there’s no excuse needed to embrace a riot of glittering metallics, sparkles or a rainbow of jewel tones on your next manicure. 
Whether you’re into extravagant nail art or you’re looking for a more understated nod to the season ahead, we’ve rounded up some of the best festive nail art ideas to inspire your party manicure. Plus, we caught up with celebrity nail artist Kim Truong (aka KimKim nails), who has painted the nails of everyone from Kim Kardashian to Dua Lipa, to find out which festive nail looks she predicts will be popular in the coming weeks. 

Snowy Tips

If you like a more understated approach to nail art then a metallic French manicure is a great festive option, like these nails by Alexandra Teleki. “Silver is a way to step outside your comfort zone and is a great party season colour, reminiscent of the trending chromes we’ve been seeing,” says Truong. “It mimics the glistening of snow and reflects the sparkle of holiday lights, making it a perfect complement to the winter season.” Get the look at home with Essie Nail Lacquer in Apres Chic, £8.99.

Mulled wine minimalism

Micro French tips in a seasonal colour is a great option if you’re not big on nail art. “For those who like to play it safe, a deep autumnal red is an excellent festive choice because it captures the warmth of the season,” says Truong, like these nails by natural nail artist Corinna Bianca. “It’s a cosy, comfortable colour that remains timeless. I recommend opting for a dark red, something similar to the colour of mulled wine.” OPI Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine, £14.90, will help you get the look at home.

Precious gems

As spectacular as a bauble on the tree, gems, pearls and crystals will be a huge trend for the festive period. “I think this year will be all about embellishments for the holidays,” agrees Truong. “These are great as they can be applied to your own nails, added to press-ons (like mine with Lottie London), or added in the nail salon too.” Take inspiration from these nails by digital creator Samantha aka @samrosenails on Instagram.

Bauble Dots

This simple but impactful freehand bauble design by nail artist Hang Nguyen is so cute and festive. You can keep the colour palette as kaleidoscopic or as minimal as you like, or stick to the nail art on just one finger and go for a colour-block hue on the rest of your nails. It’s basically a seasonal take on a classic nail art dot.

Glitter French

Rather than an all-over glitter, Truong suggests “opting for a glitter tip to add a little glamour without being too overwhelming.” It’s an easy way to tip your glass to the season’s festivities without having to embrace top-to-toe sparkles. Look to these nails by natural nail artist Nat aka @sgbeauty.ldn on Instagram. If that’s too understated, you might like these deep glitter French tips by Samantha.

All wrapped up

If there’s one nail art look that we’ll be asking for this festive season it’s this adorable ribbon and bow design by digital creator Melanie Graves. It uses classic holiday colours, but still feels quite minimal thanks to the neutral French manicure base beneath. If you haven’t got the steady hand to recreate something similar at home, Manucurist Holiday Nail Stickers, £6, offer cute micro designs that you can stick over your nail polish of choice.

Velvet haze

Rich, jewel tones like amethyst and emerald lend themselves naturally to festive nail looks. This one by Phoebe (@phoebesummernails on Instagram) is elevated further with a crushed velvet silver top coat that adds decadent texture and a subtle shine. 

Silver stars

“As cliché as it is, glitter is always the first thought for a party nail as it adds some sparkle to even the simplest of outfits,” explains Truong. “I think that incorporating some sparkly nail art would be a trendy way to try it this year, particularly with star or sparkle shapes,” like these nails by nail artist and educator Bryony Howell.

Shattered jewels

If there is ever an excuse to go OTT with your nail art then the festive season is it, and this dazzling combination of shattered silver shards and broken emeralds by Chanel nail artist Betina R Goldstein will certainly turn heads. While the textures and colours are classic party season, the jagged edges and abstract application means it’s a wonderfully edgy take on the festive nail art.

Cool chrome

Chrome manicures have been a huge nail art trend for 2023 and lend themselves perfectly to festive season, too. We love the cool blue shade of this one and the combination of colourful French tips and matching gems by celebrity manicurist Michelle Humphrey.

Candy cane swirls

If you’re looking for a subtle festive nail art design then this one by nail artist Emily Lowe fits the bill. If you want to go big, there’s something decidedly Whoville about this psychedelic candy cane design in glazed red and bright white by @samrosenails. Nailberry’s To The Moon and Back, £16, has a similar warmth and shimmer if you’re looking for a festive red to try at home.
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