These Expert-Approved Holiday Nail Trends Will Have You Getting all the Compliments

These Expert-Approved Holiday Nail Trends Will Have You Getting all the Compliments
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Whether you’ve already streamed John Legend’s 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 (especially with tight social distancing restrictions in place in most of the country right now.)

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.

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 skillset, 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, we suggest giving Olive & June’s new winter shades and Mani System a test drive. 

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.  

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. 

A version of this story was originally published in November 2019. 

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