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Twelve Days of Christmas Manicures

Intricate, detailed nail art is awesome—if you have the money for special tools, the artistic ability to draw peacocks and video-game characters, and the time to sit down and do it all. I think it's safe to say that while painting the nativity on your nails sounds fun in theory, most of us just aren't going to go there. But doing fun, festive manicures really can be easy! Using the holiday collections from a few favorite polish lines, we created looks that are simple, seasonal, and don't require an art degree or any crazy techniques. And since they're so quick to apply, you won't worry about keeping one manicure intact for days, leaving you free to try them all!
Sugar Cookie Sparkle
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Trés Fȇte
A Frosty French Manicure
Blue Christmas
Ornamented
Holly and Ivy
Sugar-Plum Pretty
Peppermint Perfection
Bejewel-tide Cheer
Festivus Red
Wrapped in Lace
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Sugar Cookie Sparkle

DivineCaroline cannot be held responsible for the fact that this manicure will make you crave Christmas cookies! Start by applying two coats of pearly-white Orly Au Champagne. Get the “sprinkled” look with a coat of Rainbow Connection by OPI, a multicolored glitter coat with a clear base. You can apply another coat of Rainbow Connection if you’re a serious sugar freak.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

This look, with a deep forest-green base color and a silver shimmer topcoat, feels just like a pine forest after a light snowfall. Get it by applying Essie Pure Pearlfection topcoat (from the Luxeffects collection) over two coats of Orly Le Chateau.

Trés Fȇte

This manicure proves that nails can be festive, but still classy—not to mention office-appropriate. Start with two coats of Chestnuts About You, and then dab a little bit of Don’t Be Eggnog-ious (both polishes from Sephora by OPI) to the nail bed and moon. The result is an elegant and sparkly gradient effect.

A Frosty French Manicure

If you’re more into keeping things simple, this French manicure has a shimmering twist. Instead of using a matte white polish on the tips, use a thin coat of Orly Au Champagne, which has a touch of pearlescence. Then apply one coat each of Essie Pure Pearlfection and Shine of the Times topcoats, which have micro particles of silver and gold glitter.

Blue Christmas

The stars-in-the-sky combo of blue polish and large flecks of silver glitter is perfect for Christmas (or Hanukkah), but it’s so cool you’ll want to wear it year-round. This look used two coats of Sephora by OPI Countdown to the Kiss and a finishing layer of Set in Stones by Essie. Remember—always use a base coat under dark polish to prevent staining. Also, removing glitter can be tough, but make it easier by holding a remover-soaked cotton ball to each nail for ten to fifteen seconds before scrubbing.

Ornamented

The Sephora by OPI Glimmer Wonderland set ($48 at Sephora) includes eighteen mini polishes—why not mix them up to recreate the look of multicolored tree ornaments? From left to right, the polishes featured here are Metro Chic, Just a Little Dangerous, Ms. Can’t be Wrong, I Don’t Bite, Sample Sale, Already Famous, Eve-y on the Eyes, Mermaid to Order, I’m with Brad, and Bring on the Snowflakes. Shiny, shimmery, and pearly polishes are alternated for maximum contrast.

Holly and Ivy

Fun and funky, this look is hardcore Christmas. Instead of painting all horizontal or all vertical stripes, mix up the directions to make it more interesting. To get the look, work with one color at a time: Paint the green stripes using OPI Fresh Frog of Bel-Air, then the red stripes using Sephora by OPI Be-Claus I Said So. When layering glitter polishes with clear bases, always let the first coat dry completely before moving on to the next, to keep the glitter in place. Finish with your favorite topcoat to soften the rough texture.

Sugar-Plum Pretty

The chocolatey-brown base color of this reverse French manicure is mouthwateringly irresistible. Apply two coats of I’m with Brad, from Sephora by OPI, and along the tips, apply a thin coat of OPI Designer, De Better! to add a touch of sophisticated shimmer.

Peppermint Perfection

This candy-cane design is the hardest look of the bunch, but it’s still super simple. Apply a diagonal stripe of Orly Au Champagne diagonally across the nail, and carefully fill in the sides with OPI Meep-Meep-Meep (the perfect candy-apple red). When it’s time for the second coat, apply the red polish first, and the white second to be sure the lines are clean. Don’t worry about errors as they happen—just use a nail polish remover pen or a Q-tip to tidy up your fingertips afterward. The look is adorable as is, but the truly ambitious can increase the detail by using a flexible piece of filament to apply a verrry thin line of red offset inside the swath of white. Finish with a coat of Essie Shine of the Times to create a sugary glaze.

Bejewel-tide Cheer

During the holiday season, bejeweled nails aren’t just for teenagers. The Sephora Nail Art Kit ($25 at Sephora) has three polishes (black, silver, and gold) along with stencils and floral rhinestones to create fun—and easy—art. To apply the rhinestones, apply a small dot of clear polish, and then use a regular orange stick to pick up the sparkly and place it on the nail. Rhinestones can catch on hair, so it’s wise to apply them as a finishing touch before a night out.

Festivus Red

Use sparkling topcoats to put a fun spin on classic red nails. Apply two coats of OPI Wocka Wocka!, then one coat of micro-glitter As Gold as it Gets and one coat of Set in Stones, which has large silver chunks. (Both topcoats by Essie)

Wrapped in Lace

Think of nail decals as “semi-homemade manicures.” Sephora by OPI Trend Tips are real nail polish strips that are a snap to apply and last for days. To apply, use tiny scissors to cut the decal to the proper size, then warm by rubbing between your fingers for a few seconds. Peel off the backing and apply the strip to your nail. File off the excess and you’re done—no drying time or waiting around. (_$12 at Sephora)

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