Your Manicure Isn’t Ready for These Winter Nail Trends

This season is all about sparkle.

nail trends
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Winter comes with snow, holiday parties, cozy nights by the fire—and of course, some of the best nail trends we’ll see all year. “Moving into the winter season always means a few things: There will be red and there will be glamour,” says Essie Global Lead Educator Rita Remark. “Every year comes with its own variations, but those are two you can always depend on.” 

The end of 2023 and early 2024 months will be sprinkled with sparkle (naturally), but we’ll also see a return to classic colors and shapes. Warm, solid shades like dark green, chocolate brown, and even jet black are poised for a takeover. Nail art is much less graphic than years past, instead relying on funky nail shapes and gradient blends for a pop of personality. Simplistic doesn’t indicate a bland approach though. We’ll see experimentation with different toppers and finishes and classy 3D adornments over the course of the next few weeks. 

To get the full seasonal forecast, scroll ahead. Top nail artists who create the trends gracing the catwalks and the red carpet are sharing their favorite winter nail trends, ahead. 

Nail Color Trends

Metallic Moments

If you’re going to choose a one-and-done color without any nail art, make it a holiday-themed one. “I love a shimmery metallic,” says celebrity nail artist Julie Kandalec, who works with stars such as P!NK and Jessica Chastain. “Reds and golds like CND Scarlet Letter and It’s Getting Golder are beautiful for the festive season.” 

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Gunmetal Grunge

The pearlescent look we’ve come to know and love (think: glazed donut nails) isn’t going anywhere, but according to Remark, they’re taking on a “new iced look overtop of blues, greens, and blacks, which make for a great gunmetal effect.” If you take this trend a step further, you’ll even find simple pearl adornments as some added nail art.  

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Black Is Always the New Black

Shades like Lincoln Park After Dark and Wicked will always be Winter classics, but vampy shades are losing a little bit of the lead to a true, jet black, like Essie’s Licorice. “It’s your new neutral. It’s not a color and therefore it goes with everything,” notes Remark. I like that it adds depth and texture to a really light or ethereal outfit.” 

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Beautifully Brown

If black nail polish feels a little too intense for your personal preference, opt for a rich chocolate brown—with a shimmer. “Cherry coke nails have become Diet Coke nails,” jokes celebrity nail artist Miss Pop. “Sparkling dark chocolate shades like OPI Hot Toddy Naughty are, as the name suggests, hot. I love shimmery dark brown nails for someone with dark brown hair, too.” If you’re looking for a simple shine sans the sparkle, try Essie’s Take the Espresso

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Go Green

Inherently Christmas-coded, a green manicure is seasonally appropriate and undeniably chic. “Green is a nail color that was popular with flappers back in the 20s, grungey gals in the 90s, and is back in vogue now,” says Miss Pop. “Any shade from Kermit to emerald to deep hunter green is on trend. And for winter.”

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Nail Art Trends

Trippy Two-Tones

If you can't commit to one color, find a polish that changes with your surroundings. “This is when the shade is iridescent and shows two different colors and gradients depending on the lighting,” explains Kandelac. “People have been loving chrome pigments so this trend is the next evolution of that.” While the example below requires a little artistry, you can achieve the same vibe at home using shades like CND’s Frostbite.

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Get Your Glitter On

To have a sparkly nail polish is one thing, but to have chunks of glitter or gems infused into every nail is something entirely different. “Everything is sparkling! All the trend shades are filled with glitter, from chunky to shimmer. Every gorgeous trend color has a light-catching dimension. The nail colors of the now aren’t natural, they’re supernatural,” says Miss Pop. 

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All About the Almond

While short and square nails have been reigning supreme for the greater part of the year, Kandelac says we're due for a little bit of a shape shake up. “I’m loving a mid-length almond-shaped nail,” she says. “It’s so classic.” Your nails don’t have to be crazy long to pull off this trend, but if you’re in need of a little boost, try a Gel X extension. 

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Ballerina Baby

If you have acrylics or are looking for a more adventurous nail shape, Kandelac recommends a Ballerina shape, which is a hybrid between an almond and coffin shape. “It gives the perfect dramatic base and helps elongate the hands.”

Want to spice things up even more? Jenny Bui, who works with Cardi B, suggests topping it off with a Moon Cut, aka a semi-circle chop at the tip. 

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Jewelry is most likely on your holiday wish list, but if you’re looking to give your loved ones a little extra hint into what you hope to unwrap, walk around with silver and gold on your nails. “Add a tip of silver or a curve of gold for a sophisticated nail art effect that looks like jewelry,” explains Remark. “Even a hand-painted twinkle adds a bit of magic.” 

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Show Me Your Aura

The aura nail trend seems to be sticking around through the Winter months—it just needs a bit of a cold-weather spin. “Translated for the winter, this look is incredible using deeper shades like blue and violet or shades of red,” says Remark. If you’re trying to get this look at home, all you’re going to need is your preferred shade of polish and a makeup sponge. “Drop a bead of nail polish on the flat edge of a wedge sponge and then tap that down on your nail,” says Miss Pop. “Depending on the shade, you might have to do two coats, but this technique will create a soft aura nail look.” 

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3D Designs

Make a statement with your set by opting for a little 3D addition. “A really cool trend I’m seeing right now is the snow globe trend where water bubbles and other inserts are actually put inside the nail,” says Bui. It does make for a thicker gel finish, but the compliments you get will make the weighted mani well worth it. 

Samantha Holender
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.