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5 Winter Nail Styles that Will Heat Up Any Manicure


Looking to beat the winter blahs? Consider some creative nailcare flair. Whether you want to help your clients add pizzazz to their next mani or you want to try your hand at nail art at home, here are five easy-to-achieve designs will take your nail game to the next level. No matter which style you try, don’t get too bogged down in perfection. “Remember your nails are sisters, not twins,” says Silva Nahabedian, director of education for Dazzle Dry.

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Abstract Appeal
CND education ambassador Samantha Birkett-Leigh gets inspired by abstract art, a sophisticated nail art trend that she believes brings a cool vibe to winter nail styles. “Winter nail art designs don’t always have to be winter wonderland, dark shades, or cheesy sparkles,” she says. In fact, in the salon, I very rarely get asked for your typical winter designs.” Instead, she has noticed a shift across social media during these last few years with nail professionals and clients being more likely to opt for something original or to follow on trend fashion designers they’ve seen during fashion week. “They are taking inspiration from art galleries, pottery, and nature,” says Birkett-Leigh. “The most sought-after nail designs I am getting asked for in the salon at the moment for winter are abstract, animal print, and natural material type stones like marble, opal, or quartz.”

  1. There’s no need for a base coat with CND VINYLUX Polishes, so you can dive right in with your color. First, take CND VINYLUX Polish in City Scape, and brush on one to two medium-sized strokes of color on each nail for your first abstract layer.
  2. Then take CND VINYLUX Polish in Cream Puff and repeat the same movement with a light touch to create your second layer of even shorter strokes so that you can still see the first shade.
  3. Before the polish fully dries, top with tiny pieces of gold foil using a toothpick.
  4. Finish the look with CND VINYLUX Long Wear Top Coat for seven-day wear and gel-like shine.

Don’t Forget: Abstract artwork is leaves lots of room for creativity. You can use any color palette, and you can make it as complicated or as simple as you and your client like, from a few brush strokes in one or two colors, or intricately layered designs with a variety of colors and materials. Abstract art is simple for the consumer to recreate at home because they can use whatever polishes they have available. It’s also great for those who don’t consider themselves particularly artistic or have a steady hand. Just go with it, and see where it takes you.

Dot manicure

Connecting the Dots
According to Dazzle Dry’s Nahabedian, “You would be amazed at the art you can create just by simply dotting. For anyone who does not fancy themselves an artist, this is a super simple, yet elegant look you can achieve.” 

  1. Cleanse each nail with Step #1 Nail Prep.
  2. Apply two layers of Dazzle Dry’s Base Coat, allowing each layer to dry matte.
  3. Apply two layers of Dazzle Dry’s Lacquer of your choice. Let each layer dry matte.
  4. Apply one coat of Dazzle Dry’s Top Coat.

Now for the fun dots:

  1. Apply one layer of Dazzle Dry’s Mattify Top Coat, and let it dry for five minutes.
  2. Place a little bit of Dazzle Dry’s regular Top Coat onto some foil.
  3. Use a dotting tool or a bobby pin, dip into the Top Coat.
  4. Space the dots in a line down the center of the nail, use the Top Coat for each dot.
  5. Next, apply the dots in between the middle row of dots on both sides of the nail.
  6. When your dotting tool starts to get stringy or dry, wipe it off with pure acetone
Great Gatsby inspired manicure

The Great Gatsby Winter Manicure
Inspired by the Jazz-Age glamour of Daisy and Gatsby, Adesse New York nail artist Katie Cole created this cool, yet contemporary look.

  1. Clean and shape nails.
  2. Apply one coat of Brightening Base coat, and let it dry for 30 seconds.
  3. Apply thin lines to nails, alternating between White Lotus, Oh Cabana Boy, and Nude York, using the brush or nail art brushes, as desired. 
  4. Use a toothpick or nail art brush to “pull” the polish lines toward the proximal edge of the nail to get the uneven look. Allow 30 to 60 seconds to dry.
  5. Use a nail dotting pen or a toothpick to dot on Carmen in desired areas of the nail. 
  6. Apply one coat of Diamond Shine Top Coat, and allow 30 to 60 seconds to dry.
Well Defined Spa Rituals 2

Snowy Style
Spa Ritual nail artist Angela Lee found seasonal inspiration for this pretty manicure. “I wanted to capture the shimmer and flow of snowfall and frozen streams to create a neutral nail look to last you through the winter,” she says.

  1. Apply two coats of Ritual Not Routine onto nails. Let the polish dry in between coats.
  2. Use Tranquility to loosely paint a wave-like pattern on the nail. Allow time to dry.
  3. Take a striping brush and paint a wavy line, loosely following the contours of the previous shape.
  4. Let the polish dry, and finish the look with Nourish Fast Dry Vegan Topcoat.
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A French Mani With An Emerald Twist
Allow bright shimmery shades to really pop with this jewel-toned half French manicure. “I used Nouveau Riche from Orly’s Metropolis collection, as it’s a bold shimmery jewel-toned green and looks almost like an accessory on your nail,” says Brittney Boyce, consulting nail Artist for Orly and founder of NAILSOFLA. “You can easily swap out any of the colors in the Metropolis collection using this same nail art tutorial, and it’ll look great. Plus, I do think most people have their nails cut short right now, and this nail art is very pretty on short nails.”

  1. The prep step is very important for minimal nail art, as the nails and cuticles should look clean. Use a cuticle pusher to gently push the cuticles back.
  2. Use a buffer/file duo to gently file and shape the nails. For this half-French manicure, opt for a natural square-round shape. You don’t want the sides to be too square, and you don’t want them too round or oval either. 
  3. After filing, cleanse the nails with alcohol to remove any oils. Our hands are actually really oily, and nail polish can’t grip as well if there’s oil on the nail.
  4. Apply your favorite Base Coat. Bonder is used to achieve this look, because it’s like a double-sided sticky tape for nail polish.
  5. Apply Nouveau Riche on half of the nail, then clean up the shape with a dry brush dipped in nail polish remover. Curve the brush for that half-French shape. Trace over the color with one more coat of Nouveau Riche for a bolder look. 
  6. Lastly, add a top coat such as Glosser. For the holidays, a shiny top coat is more festive than a matte top coat. Allow at least 20 minutes to dry. 

Quick Tip: Sometimes the top of the nail may already be dried, but the bottom is actually still wet. That’s when you are very prone to smudge it.

About The Author

Charlotte is a recent summa cum laude graduate from the University of Central Florida. She is also a working model, former National Pageant title holder, and a learning disability advocate, having been born with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Along with her work as a journalist, she has a lifelong history of wellness, raised in an organic, holistic, and healthy household. She’s worked for Florida-based news organizations, and her writing has been published in GB Living, Indulge, and online media companies, including The Garnette Report and The Odyssey Online.