20 Winter Nail Art Ideas Cooler Than a Polar Vortex

From sparkly tips to chic French manicures.

Someone with negative space designed in an green iridescent nail color
Photo: @paintboxnails/Instagram

As soon as the cold weather hits, I intuitively reach for my black, oxblood, and navy nail polishes, then rotate between them until the ice thaws. While these dark, moody colors are often associated with winter, sticking to just three shades gets boring — quick.

But thanks to talented nail artists and creative nail polish brands sharing their latest manicures on Instagram, there's a whole world of winter nail designs out there to inspire you every time you get a manicure this season — along with intricate designs that are easy to DIY on your own. A few examples? Festive green glitter tips or a chic take on the classic French manicure.

Keep reading for 20 of our favorite easy winter nail designs to add to your manicure to-do list this season.

1. Green Glitter Tips

Negative space sparkly green tips feel just as festive as a standard red and green manicure.

2. Icicle Nails

This sheer iridescent nail polish is as cool as all the icicles hanging from the trees outside.

3. Negative Space French Manicure

The French manicure is still going strong as one of the year's biggest manicure trends. For a chic take on the classic design, use a striping brush to paint another thin line parallel to the white tip, as shown above.

4. Bejeweled Nails

A little bit of sparkle never hurt anyone, and this manicure is so unbelievably easy to do. Paint your nails with a clear base coat, then use nail glue to stick tiny rhinestones on your nail beds. The beauty of this manicure is that it's impossible to mess up — just add the nail jewels wherever you feel.

5. Candy Stripes

Switch up your solid red manicure by painting on a few different sized stripes.

6. Black & Silver Half Moons

The half moon manicure remains a super popular design, partly because it's so simple to do. Once you paint the base of your nail black, use a nail art brush to outline the silver curve at the base of the nail. Then, fill it in.

7. Starry Nails

This bejeweled star design is truly out of this world.

8. Peppermint Swirls

A few subtle white swirls are a fresh take on a solid mint green nail.

9. Shades of Gray

These light grey graphic lines look like cracked ice.

10. Winter Florals

It's grey and dreary outside — some tiny, colorful flowers on your nails will help lift your spirits until spring rolls around.

11. Marble Nails

Marble is trending in the interior design space, but it also looks incredibly chic as nail art. Here, celebrity nail artist Thuy Nguyen added curved lines to MJ Rodriguez's extra-long stiletto nails to achieve the effect.

12. Spotted Nails

Forget what you've been told: colorful nails are for all seasons. This polka dot manicure is fun and incredibly simple to do. Pick four polishes and mix and match the dots on your nails in whatever color combos you choose. You can opt for a nail art brush to draw the shape, then use the one from the bottle to fill them in.

13. Checkerboard Nails

From bikinis to denim, the checkerboard print is having a moment. Unsurprisingly, it's become a major nail art trend, too. And the beauty of this design is that it's completely customizable: use neutrals for a subtle look or go bold with different shades on each nail.

14. Solid Gold

These chrome and black dots would make a festive holiday manicure, but still look seasonally appropriate for anyone who wants to sparkle all winter long.

15. Cinnamon Swirls

Sugar, spice, and everything nice perfectly describe this cinnamon swirl manicure.

16. Mismatched Glitter

Lilac is an anomaly of nail polish colors because it's season-less. Embrace the glamour of the holiday season after January 1st with a sparkly mismatched design featuring negative space swirls and French tips.

17. Cheetah Print

Depending on who you ask, cheetah print is a neutral in your wardrobe, and the same ideas goes when wearing it on your nails. This take on the classic print by Essie ambassador Steph Stone was created using the brush in the bottle, so it's a great option for anyone who's new to DIY nail art.

18. Rainbow Stripes

When the weather outside is cold and frightful, a bold, colorful manicure can be an instant pick-me-up. Instead of a traditional French tip, try this angular design with color-block stripes.

19. Square Designs

Minimalists with all nail shapes and lengths this one's for you: these subtle squares work for anyone. While you can keep it classic with a black and white color scheme, you can also experiment with vibrant color combinations, too.

20. Glitter & Stripes

Another way to incorporate sparkles after the holiday season is by using them as a sheer topper for a minimal design, like these black fine lines.

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