Like a glass of the finest bubbly, statement makeup and party-ready nails add a sense of occasion to an otherwise standard-issue evening out. There’s no need to 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, like by bordering 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.
Certain classics remain for a reason—“there's nothing more gorgeous than a solid red nail,” Langston admits, calling our Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Pure Red “the perfect holiday red”—though some traditions deserve an upgrade. Here, team Paintbox designs three festive nail looks exclusively for Estée Stories, and provides step-by-step instructions for holiday manicures.
It’s important to have textural contrast
Kicky Kir Royale
Step 1: Starting with base coat, paint the top half of the nail with two coats of Empowered, 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: Dot on Frozen Fantasy 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 Bête Noir, dragging the polish right up to your line of Frozen Fantasy.
Step 1: Apply two coats of Pure Red over a base coat.
Step 2: Once the color has mostly dried, dip a small detail brush into the Enchanted Garnet shade. Holding the brush parallel as you go, draw a single vertical line 1/3 of the way down the center of the nail.
Step 3: Using the same technique, draw two lines on either side, about 2/3 as long as the center line.
Step 4: Repeat the process, keeping the last two lines about 1/2 the length of the center line.
There's nothing more gorgeous than a solid red nail
Step 1: Apply two coats of Nude Pearl over a base coat.
Step 2: Using Bête Noir and holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to reveal the thin side of the brush, paint a diagonal line from the center of one edge of the nail toward the center of the front of the nail. Repeat on the other edge.
Step 3: Keeping your brush at a 45-degree angle, paint a diagonal line from the center of one edge of the nail to the center of the nail base. Repeat on the other edge.