Happy Christmas Week to all of my amazing readers!
So what’s on my mind right now, style-wise? Christmas nails. In these next few weeks on into the New Year, we can get away with trying out some really fun manicures that may be a little out of our comfort zones every other day of the year. Bring on the bling/sparkle/fun!
A statement holiday manicure is the best accessory to take you from opening presents in sweats/casual wear to a fancy dinner party. You don’t have to worry about looking overdone because it’s the season for looking overdone. Heck, people wear blinking sweaters, so a little sparkle on your nails won’t hurt.
I cannot carve time out of my day/evening to go get professional manicures all that often, so when I have wanted to do my nails lately, it’s been DIY-style.
I knew I couldn’t carry this nail post alone: I put a special friend to work in order to show you some holiday manicure possibilities. And she happily obliged. My friend Deb, whom I taught high school English with about eight years ago and who is now retired, is a pro at DIY manicures. Seriously! If I lived closer to her, I would be seeing her every week for a manicure. So below are some ideas, complete with directions, for every skill level!
Beginner’s Christmas Mani
Of course, many want to go red or green as a solid color to follow tradition. But I like unconventional nail colors, and this cool blue works well in the winter season. I personally cannot have enough glitter in my life, but if glitter on every nail is too overwhelming for you, try one statement mail with glitter.
Deb says: Here’s a nice look for those who don’t like red. Again, it is super easy to achieve this look because the glitter does all the work. The super chunky glitter might not be appropriate for the workplace, however.
Apply your basecoat. Then apply a cool blue polish to all nails. When the polish has set, start your glitter application. I did not apply a thin, smooth first coat to this one. Instead, I dabbed large globs of the jelly glitter on the nail and then smoothed it all into position.
A holographic glitter is one that reflects all the colors of the rainbow, as opposed to one that sparkles in a single color such as silver. Holos can be in any color of jelly base, but this one is clear. The jelly on this one is also much thicker than a lot of others, so I decided to play up the thick chunky texture. I really wish I’d photographed this against a darker background with lower lighting because I think the full effect is lost in the stark white.
CND Stickey basecoat, Orly Snowcone (blue), OPI Desperately Seeking Sequins
Intermediate Level Mani #1: Jamberry Nail Shields
Here is my holiday manicure! I’ve had it planned since October because I love this print so much! I chose Jamberry nail shields for my Christmas mani this year. You can buy them from the Jamberry website or find a consultant in your area who sells them. If you don’t want to go the Jamberry route, most drug stores carry Sally Hansen nail shields. Based on personal experience, those shields do not last as long as Jamberry shields do, but they will get you through the holiday season at least.
As a mom of two little kids, I really struggle with dry time when I paint my nails. And I struggle with perfectionism, so DIY manis are sometimes stressful! Jamberry shields are not. From start to finish, if I’m putting Jamberry shields on all ten fingers, I’m looking at about 30 minutes of total time. And I just recently started wearing them again, so as I wear them more and use the product more often, my manicure time will decrease.
I love the fun print of this one. I could NEVER achieve this intricate look free-hand! Plus, my shields last at least two weeks. Score!
small scissors (grooming kit scissors), Jamberry shields in Poinsettia, cuticle pusher, nail file, hair dryer (to adhere the shield to the nail)
Intermediate Level Mani #2: Christmas Polka Dots
How cute and fun is this look?
Deb says: I love this design! It requires a bit of a steady hand, but with practice, it’s easy to do. Because the colors are so bright, I’d suggest very simple style choices. Let the dots do the talking!
Lay down cling wrap to protect your work surface. Apply your basecoat. I start with the white polish, so apply to your middle 2 fingernails. In my experience, white requires 2 coats to achieve full opacity, so don’t worry if your first coat looks streaky. Be sure to work slowly because imperfections in white polish stand out. Once you have a solid white base, paint your remaining nails in solid red and green.
When the white has dried, place a dab of colored polish on your work surface. Work with one color at a time so the dabs don’t dry out. Dip the large end of your dotting tool into the polish, but in order to achieve fully-rounded dots, don’t cover the entire ball in polish. Try making a few dots on your protected work surface. The more pressure you apply, the larger your dots will be. Very light pressure, even using the largest dotting tool, will give you tiny dots—although you can flip the tool over to use the small tip if you’re more comfortable. When you’ve mastered your practice dots, start making random dots on the white nails. If you’re using several colors, remember to leave enough space, but you can apply as many or as few dots as you like. Dip your dotter into remover and wipe on a cotton round before switching colors.
Allow your dots to set before applying your topcoat so the colors don’t bleed. Finally, clean up around your nails, if necessary.
Materials and products used:
CND Stickey Basecoat, Seche Vite top coat, cling wrap, dotting tools (Deb gets hers on Amazon)
Polishes: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On (2 coats), Wet N Wild Wild Shine in Red Red (one coat), Revlon in Posh (green – 1 coat), Butter London in The Full Monty (gold)
Advanced Level Mani: Green and Gold
I love this mani!! I love the interest and the detail (not to mention the colors)!
Deb says: As always, start with a good basecoat. Apply gold to the nails on your fingers only. Leave the thumb for now. Important: The gold must be completely dry to continue on.
Once the gold color has dried, apply striping tape to the last 3 nails. You can position the tape anyway you like, but because you need to remove the top layers of the tape first, I cut the tapes progressively longer so I can remember which is which. When your tapes are applied, start applying your green polish. Work on one nail at a time, so as soon as the green is as smooth and opaque as you want, start removing the tape strips. Remember: if the gold has not dried, the tape will pull off the color, and if you don’t pull the longest tape off first, you’ll yank up chunks of green. It sounds complicated, but it’s not. Just give yourself enough time to complete this look.
This is my personal preference, but once I remove the tape, I allow the color to set, then apply my topcoat before I move to the next nail. Leave the index finger solid gold and paint the thumbnail solid green. Topcoat and clean around the nails, if necessary.
I can’t lie. If you look closely at the pinky, you’ll see a mistake. I painted over the striping tape slightly, but I quite liked the effect when I removed the tape, so I left it. Even mistakes can produce nice nail effects!
CND Stickey Topcoat, striping tape (again, Deb finds hers on Amazon), Seche Vite topcoat
Polishes: Zoya in Giovanna (green – 1-2 coats), Orly in Luxe (gold – 1 coat)
Since you may be with family this week, I suggest you grab your female relatives and make DIY manicure time a bonding experience! (And maybe help each other with that tricky right hand.) Deb and I hope this post inspires you to create a beautiful nail look for the holidays!
Thanks again to Deb for lending her awesome expertise to my readers!
(P.S. On my end, it seems like there are some font/spacing issues. I guess that will happen when you’re blogging while traveling and going back and forth between your iPhone app and a borrowed laptop? Forgive me for this one, readers. Now I have to get ready for my fourth Christmas celebration!)