Quick and Easy Neutral Holiday Nails

I believe in the power of nail art. I do. It can add sophistication, whimsy or drama to any look, and tribal styles have always made me feel put together, even in a t-shirt and jeans. BUT: it's time consuming. Or, it can be. And since I constantly use my hands at work (and since I'm constantly working), I've had to find some simple embellishments that look a lot more time-intensive than they really are. I love this particular manicure because it's basically neutrals with tiny pops of color, which makes it really versatile; I chose this particular color scheme because I've got holiday parties on the brain, but the basic formula works in a myriad of palettes. You just need a neutral shade, a metallic shade, and one or two colorful shades to acheive ultimate coordination in minimal time. It's a Christmas miracle! 


  • 1 metallic polish (I'm using Essie's Penny Talk)
  • 1 neutral polish (Sally Hansen's Pink Slip is featured here)
  • 1 or 2 accent shades (I chose Essie's Toggle to the Top and ULTA's The Jungle Look)
  • any clear, glossy topcoat
  • a toothpick

Step 1: apply 2-3 coats of your neutral shade; I chose Pink Slip because it's nearly a warm white and has a nice, sheer formulation.

Step 2: using the brush of your metallic shade, apply a small blob at the center of the base of your nail. Make sure it's enough to dome slightly - we'll need that excess for step 3.

Step 3: lightly drag the end of your toothpick through the metallic shade towards the end of your nail, extending it into small points. It doesn't need to be exact (mine certainly isn't); we're looking for some hybrid between tribal and a snowflake, but it's that lack of precision that makes this easy as well as visually interesting.

Step 4: using the brush of an accent shade, apply a small dot of color in the center of each metallic design. Alternate colors on each finger, apply only on a few accent nails - use your creativity to customize your options into something that suits you best. I alternated my green shade with that beautiful sparkly red, but if you'd prefer to be less Christmas-y about it (after all, it's not even Thanksgiving yet), then simply using one shade (especially when it's Essie's Toggle to the Top) is a great choice.

Step 5: give your blobs some time to dry (I waited about 60 - 90 seconds) and then apply a nice shiny topcoat to seal everything. Seche Vite pretty much makes the best topcoat on the planet, so if you've been looking for a good one then YOU'RE WELCOME.

Wanna know a great way to test your manicure and its state o' dryness? If you think everything's good to go, lightly tap your pinky nails against each other; if it feels even slightly sticky or tacky, you've got a little while longer to wait. Once they touch with no clinging, they're officially dry!
And that's it! Simple, sweet, slightly sparkly fingertips that pair just as well with a sweater and boots as they do with a dress and heels. 

What color palette would you choose for this look? Any favorite shades us Camp Counselors should know about? Tweet us at @CampMakery with polish suggestions and shots of your own versions of this easy DIY!