It’s almost Christmas, baby! Ugly sweater parties, cookie swaps, and dreaded Secret Santa exchanges are pretty much in full swing. Your cats have already knocked down the makeshift tree in your living room twice and you’ve finally settled into the couch with your breakfast for a mini marathon of Hallmark Christmas movies. The holiday season has honestly never felt better.
But as you grab the TV remote with one hand, a steaming mug of coffee held in the other, you notice something’s off about the vibe. Yikes! With a jam-packed schedule, you’ve totally forgotten to get a festive manicure before Christmas.
Gone is the chance to post a cringey photo of your nails slithering around a Starbucks holiday cup and caption it along the lines of: “Here to sleigh!” Heck, your nail tech is probably on a well-deserved leave themselves and your seasonal brain cells haven’t reported for duty yet.
Well, don’t worry. Santa has his cookies and you shall have your nail art. Keeping us last-minute enthusiasts in mind, I’ve curated a list of inspirations that can get the creative gears in our heads churning in no time. The best part? Santa hats, gingerbread men, candy cans, snowflakes, holly accents, nutcrackers, mistletoe, and ‘Ho Ho Ho’ motifs are sitting this list out. Instead, the ideas jotted below can jingle all the way till New Year’s Eve and still stay relevant.
So, be it the cost of living crisis or situational laziness triggered as a byproduct of your priorities this holiday season, I recommend you to nestle into a cosy chair, scroll through this list, screenshot your favourite design, and deploy your DIY skills—fingers crossed. You should be good as long as you put a restraining order on that bottle of grinch green polish gnawing its way out of the drawer as we speak.
Have you ever laid your eyes on something so subtle yet majestic?
There’s nothing colourful 3D crystals can’t fix. Just throw on a base coat and assemble your embellishments to floor guests both during Christmas and New Year’s house parties. Brownie points if you match the set with your vajazzle (wink wink).
It’s safe to say that there are no rules this festive season.
That’s one way to ensure a white Christmas:
Championed by Harry Styles, the Skittles manicure involves different shades of varnish being applied to each nail. Given the fact that this trend is pretty much evergreen, it can be tweaked to fit both Christmas and New Year’s if you opt for pastel or jewel-toned shades. The possibilities are endless, if you ask me.
If you’re only halfway feeling the holidays this year or want a very subtle look that mesmerises people under the disco light, give your nails some much-needed tip action. After applying a base coat, dip a disposable makeup sponge in some chunky glitter and gently press it on only your nail tips.
You can then either finish it off with a topcoat or use the tiniest crystals you can get your hands on for more razzle-dazzle.
If you’re not a fan of blizzarding your nails with glitter, a single vertical stripe could get the job done in under five minutes. You can either use glitter powder and a detail brush or opt for strips of metallic tape to make your life easier.
According to Pinterest, pearlcore is one of the biggest age-inclusive trends of 2022. In an interview with SCREENSHOT about the iridescent aesthetic, nail artist Tuguldur “TJ” Erdenejargal said: “It’s always fun to try new things. So I recommend experimenting with pearlcore nail art, but of course, my advice is to be careful with your nails.”
As per TJ, one can choose to be very creative with pearlcore—in fact, that’s where the fun begins—without feeling the need to follow the trend blindly. So go ahead, fuse your pearlcore look with some festive dots or give it the Skittles treatment this Christmas to honour one of the most timeless aesthetics in existence.
Here’s another inspo in case you lack a stable hand but still want to nail the pearly aesthetic:
There’s snow way I’m doing any work with these gorgeous nails:
We’ve previously recorded some cuticle and tip action. Now, it’s time for half-moon manicures to make their negative space debut. Leaving most of the nail naked, the manicure in question adds just the right amount of sparkle to make a statement. Ah, Christmas is in the air… and so is the smell of last-minute nail varnish.
In an era of red, pink, beige, and green flags, conversations surrounding one’s personal energy are more relevant than ever before. While ‘good vibes only!’ is just a phrase to some, for others, it’s an entire life mantra based on the energy they radiate. And this is exactly where the concept of an ‘aura’ makes its magical debut.
To date, people have aligned their wardrobes and home decor with the aura they emit. The summer of 2022, however, is all about channelling them right onto your fingertips. Meet aura nails, the manicure trend that is increasingly gripping and dipping Instagram’s Explore and TikTok’s For You Pages into airbrushed colours that resonate with one’s soul.
But before we dive deeper into the trend, let’s breeze through some of the basic concepts when it comes to analysing one’s personal aura.
Often used interchangeably with ‘vibes’, an aura is an electromagnetic field that all human beings radiate. It’s believed to be a luminous body that surrounds your physical one—with each layer, and any problems within them, engulfing your frame in a net of energy with their responding colours. These hues and shades shift in response to your emotions, mental patterns, physical energy, and a variety of other factors to represent your current state of being.
Now, there are a few ways in which you can ‘see’ your aura. The most common practice is to get your aura photographed. Also known as Kirlian photography, this practice is believed to capture one’s electrical emanations as an egg-shaped circle around their physical body. However, if you don’t have access to special equipment, don’t worry just yet. Another way to sense your aura is by softening and slightly squinting your eyes while looking at yourself in a mirror.
While this may take some practice, several experts believe the best way to spot your energy is with your peripheral vision. Simply put, if you focus on your aura too much in the mirror, chances are that you won’t be able to see it. But if you look away, you may notice colours or light slowly arise from around your body.
Let’s say you’ve successfully managed to capture your aura and you’ve just witnessed a bunch of colours magically pop up around you. Now what? Well, for starters, know that each layer of your aura is said to be represented by a different colour. Some also believe that the way these colours vary and interact with each other illustrates how emotionally, spiritually, and physically complex you are.
For example, some layers may appear brighter if you’re more vibrant or emit greater energy, while others may be dull if you’re mentally stressed or physically ill. It’s worth noting that your aura is also bound to change over time, so the colours you see today may not always be the same.
That being said, here’s a mini guide on various aura hues and what they mean:
Now let’s enter the gorgeously-faded arena in question. Aura nails, as a manicure trend, are all about vibing with energy fields. Just like no two auras are the same, each aura manicure is customised to the wearer—majorly featuring a gradient look with most of the colour typically deposited in the centre of each nail.
“The first time I saw them was about a year ago,” said TJ, nail artist and founder of Bicolor—a studio based in Beverly Hills. “I don’t remember the exact post, but I remember not knowing what it was.” At the time, TJ was amazed by the style but didn’t know how to nail the same until the summer of 2022—when he got his own airbrush gun and became obsessed with the tool. “The first set I did was an airbrushed white on a dark blue background on myself, and I loved it!” he added.
As for Kirsten Chanel, the artist behind California-based Nails by Kirsten Chanel, her initiation into the trend was somewhere between February and March 2022. “An aura manicure can be achieved through the use of blooming gel or the airbrush tool,” she explained, adding how the style has majorly spiked due to nail artists discovering airbrushing techniques, including herself.
TJ also echoed the same belief by stating that the tool has revolutionised the aura manicure altogether. “In order to achieve the look, you use a handheld airbrush machine and airbrush gel, and then a regular gel top coat,” he mentioned.
When SCREENSHOT reached out to Antajah, a licensed nail artist based in San Diego, they claimed that aura manicure is now the biggest trend of the year, similar to 2021’s obsession with blooming gel nail sets.
“You start off with a gel colour for your base and cure it with a UV lamp for 60 seconds,” Antajah explained when asked about the process backing the style. “To create the ‘aura’ part, you will need an airbrush machine—they can be found on Amazon if you’re looking for budget-friendly [options]. Insert the second colour of their liking, and only airbrush the centre of the nail so you can still see the base colour you started off with.”
The artist also went on to offer a tip from their personal experience: “If you add in a third colour [that is] similar or brighter to the second [one], it’ll give more depth and life into your set.”
As celebrities like Megan Fox continue to jump on the trend with powdery-purple bases and orange gradients, it makes one wonder if they should compulsorily get their aura readings done before heading to their nail tech.
Well, the best part about aura nails is that they don’t have to be accurate. “Clients will bring in reference pictures from other inspired sets or they just come with colours that appeal to them,” Antajah admitted. “Sometimes, they let me decide the colours for them—they just want the creations to pop!” So don’t stress yourself out if you can’t capture and analyse your own aura. You can simply refer to an aura colour chart, pick the hues and shades that represent how you feel—or how you want to feel—and don’t be afraid to experiment with bold colours.
While the natural, airbrushed vibe of aura nails is stunning in itself, they can also be used as a base for more intricate manicures. “Some decals and designs I think will look good with aura nails would be pearls, metal studs, gold crosses or maybe chrome accents,” Chanel said.
TJ, on the other hand, highly recommends stencils. “If you have a good stencil set, the options are endless,” he explained, adding how aura manicure is pretty much the same trend that gripped the aughts which is making a comeback now. “They work with anything: rhinestones, hand-painted nail art or whatever you want!”
Matte finish, polka dots, French and duck tips, and sky-inspired manis are also in the bottomless mix. You can additionally play around with the placement of the auras and even implement mixed auras by combining both cool and warm tones to truly pop your creations.
Lastly, I asked all three experts about what they would call aura nails if they could rename the entire trend. While Chanel went with ‘ombré orbs’, TJ highlighted how he would address them as ‘bicolor’—a fitting reference to his own studio.
As for Antajah, the artist said: “I wouldn’t change the name of this set at all, I think it’s perfect for this specific design just because people seek aura colours to see what kind of person they are from within. So them picking what colour of aura nails they want says a little something about them too—I love that concept!”
At the end of the day, remember that aura nails are all about embracing your uninhibited energy and channelling immaculate vibes while you’re at it.