When the holiday party dress code calls for “festive attire,” the season’s luxe wardrobe pieces all but require statement makeup and nail looks. But that doesn’t necessarily limit your manicures to classic colors—or more literal holiday homages that can often take a turn for the misguided. “You can celebrate the season without drawing mini snowmen on your nails,” laughs Eleanor Langston, founder of New York’s Paintbox nail bar. “It’s important to have textural contrast,” Langston elaborates, endorsing the mixing of a flat shade in the center of the nail with a high-shine jewel-toned lacquer around the edges. “Using negative space to balance out metallics is another great tip,” she adds.
You can celebrate the season without drawing mini snowmen on your nails.
While certain classics remain classics for a reason—“theres nothing more gorgeous than a solid red nail,” Langston admits, calling our Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Pure Red “the perfect holiday red”—even some traditions deserve an upgrade. Here, team Paintbox designs three festive nail looks exclusively for The Estée Edit, and provides step-by-step instructions for holiday manicures that look “more elevated, less cheesy.”
The Triple Crown
Step 1: Starting with a nourishing base coat, paint the top half of the nail with two coats of Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Fallen Angel, using just the tip of the brush to get a straight edge. (Editor’s Note: use a small brush dipped in nail polish remover to clean up any mistakes).
Step 2: Holding your brush at a 45-degree angle, dot on Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Nouveau Riche and drag it across the middle of the nail.
Step 3: Being careful to mind the edges of the other colors and the cuticle, fill in the remaining part of the nail with Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Bête Noir, dragging the polish right up to your line of Nouveau Riche.
Show Your Stripes
Step 1: Apply two coats of Pure Color Nail Lacquer In Pure Red over a nourishing base coat.
Step 2: Once the color has mostly dried, dip a small detail brush into Pure Color Nail Lacquer In Enchanted Garnet and draw a single vertical line 1/3 of the way down the nail holding the brush parallel as you go.
Step 3: Using the same technique, draw two lines on either side of the center line so they measure about 2/3 of its length.
Step 4: Repeat the process, keeping the last two lines 1/2 the size of the previous ones.
Step 1: Apply two coats of Pure Color Nail Lacquer in So Vain over a nourishing base coat.
Step 2: Holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to reveal the thin side of the brush, paint a diagonal line of Bête Noir from the outer corner of the top of nail upwards towards the center. Repeat on the other side.
Step 3: With the brush at a 45-degree angle again, paint a diagonal line from the middle of the nail’s moon to connect to the other line. Repeat on the other side.