16 winter nail ideas to upgrade your manicure this season

From subtle glitter to full-bodied wine shades, we’ve got all the winter nail inspiration you need this season. (Oh, and there’s no candy cane nail art in sight.) 

Something weird happens every year around the beginning of November. Out of nowhere, we have the sudden urge to rifle through all our old nail varnishes, on the hunt for the perfect winter shade.  

All through summer we tend to shy away from the deep purple, rich red and emerald green nail shades in order to make way for the neons, pastels and nudes. But, as soon as the temperatures plummet, we crave a winter-ready hue. It’s like our nails go through some natural hibernation or something. 

But when looking for winter nail ideas, we’re often bombarded with whacky candy cane nail art and OTT glitter. And, while many of us delight at the thought of an elf-inspired mani, it’s safe to say they’re not for everyone. So whether you’re all about the deep, tonal shades or you’re a fan of minimalist nail art – we’ve got the winter nails for you. 

If you’re stuck for which to try out, sit back, have a scroll and screenshot your favourite looks… because we’ve got enough to last you all winter long – so pick your favourites to try at home, and bookmark the ones that you’ll be booking in for as soon as salons re-open in December.

The best winter nails

  • The glitter gradient

    This glitter gradient gives you a hint of sparkle, without looking over the top.

  • 101 dalmations

    These dalmation-inspired nails that Cruella would be jealous of are easier to re-create than you think.

  • The winter favourite

    This combination of stars and gold leaf glitter is festive and frosty all in one. 

  • The modern classic

    Upgrade your French mani with a festive hint of red.

  • Subtle gold marble

    This marble-inspired manicure is a modern take on your bog-standard ‘nude’.

  • Spots and stripes

    If you are a fan of the candy-cane manicure, this is the one for you. 

  • Gold leaf tips

    We love this gold-tipped manicure all through the winter seasons. 

  • Negative space stars

    Fancy yourself as a bit of a nail art pro? Give this star manicure a go. 

  • Hearts and glitter

    We’re taking this cute heart and stripe manicure to our nearest nail salon for inspo. 

  • The accent nails

    Not sure nail art is for you? Mix it up by having one or two accent nails amongst your other fully manicured fingers. 

  • Studio 54 vibes

    Simple but effective: this star manicure is a hit all year round. Use MAC’s Galactic Glitter, £16 to re-create the look at home. 

  • The tonal gradient

    If you’re a nude all-year-round lover, update your mani for winter by wearing a rainbow of tonal shades on each finger. 

  • Half and half

    Similar to the star mani above but all in gold, this manicure looks great stacked with gold jewellery. 

  • Wild at heart

    Safe to say these zebra tips are like marmite: you either love them or hate them. We love them.

  • Ultra fine gold stripes

    If minimalist nail art is your thing, this teeny-tiny stripe of glitter is très chic. 

  • Pink skies

    If natural nails are your vibe, try adding a cute, Instagram-friendly cloud for a twist on the norm.

Opening image credit: Getty

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