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'Tis the season for festive manicures! From the office holiday party to family gatherings and, of course, the big New Year's Eve bash, December is the time to go really wild with your nails. (A new bottle also makes for a great, easy stocking stuffer). To that end, we've rounded up the very best colors and finishes that 2016 has to offer.
Glitters & Specialty Finishes
Glitters and other specialty finishes are polarizing — some people find them too young or too over-the-top, while others can't get enough of them. Whether you're a devotee or if you're just looking to dabble, use the holidays as an excuse to add a little extra sparkle.
Sinful Colors Nutcracker ($1.99)
Sinful Colors is a drugstore brand polish beloved for its super low price point (the average cost for a bottle is five dollars, but it’s usually cheaper!) and a huge variety of colors and finishes. Nutcracker is a chestnut brown glitter that offers a sophisticated twist on the typical holiday glitter polish.
P•O•P It's A Drag Collection Glitter Polish ($8)
This indie polish collection features 15 shades, including holiday staples like red, silver, and green, that are packed with holographic glitter. You can get discounts when you buy multiples (five for $36; ten for $64; 15 for $90) so you won't even need to pick a favorite. But may we suggest Not Today Satan for when you need to give your little sister the old talk-to-the-hand treatment over breakfast?
Polish Me Silly Mega Multichrome Rebel ($7.50)
Indie polish makers are the place to go when you want a look that no one else has at your office holiday party. This multichrome has a lot of red, gold, and green in it, with a mirror-like finish.
Silvers & Golds
Metallics are a good way to add some pop to a holiday manicure. They can be challenging to apply, so be sure to use a good base coat and be patient with your brush strokes to avoid streaking and patchiness.
Chanel Le Vernis Liquid Mirror ($28)
Do you hear that? That's the sound of me screaming over this silver shade from the Holiday 2016 Libre de Chanel Collection. Metallics like Liquid Mirror can be challenging to apply, as they'll show every ridge and brush stroke, so practice your technique before attempting this one — or bring it with you to the salon and have a professional apply it for you.
China Glaze Let's Shell-Ebrate ($6.99)
This season's China Glaze holiday collection is called Seas & Greetings, and is made up of 12 coastal-inspired hues. Let's Shell-Ebrate is a sheer purple and gold microglitter that looks more metallic than glittery. It can be used as a topper or built up in layers and worn on its own.
CND Vinylux Chiffon Twirl ($4.95)
The rose gold trend shows no signs of stopping, and this rose gold foil is the perfect turn on holiday metallics that will take you straight through New Year's Eve.
Dark blue polishes are all over the place this winter, so if you're looking to be very fashion-forward at the office holiday party, or if you have a bubbe who will be tickled pink to see you frying latkes with a thematic manicure, these are some of the shades you might want to pick up as a present to yourself.
Sinful Colors Holla Dayz ($1.99)
This mix of midnight blue and gold glitter is definitely a little on the young side. For a more sophisticated look, try using it on your tips over a dark blue cream polish.
Chanel Le Vernis Marinière ($28)
Chanel introduced Marinière as part of the summer 2016 launch of its new Longwear formula. It's a deep, dark navy that can be worn year-round, making it easier to justify splurging on this spendy but beautiful polish.
If you like the idea of a darker, moodier color but blue is too out-there for you — or, say, your office dress code — purples might be the ticket. Plus, purple, the color of royalty, is still seasonally appropriate if you're a person who celebrates Christmas, what with the whole Messiah thing.
Tom Ford Viper ($36)
This is a gorgeous dark grape color that would be perfect on its own or paired with a gold glitter accent nail. It's got a squishy, jelly finish, making it appear lighter on the nail than in the bottle.
Floss Gloss Candy Paint Job ($8)
This polish combines a dark purple cream base with magenta glitter for a finish that's evocative of a tricked-out 1970s lowrider. It might be a little much for wearing to Grandmother's house, but it's the perfect thing for an end-of-year blowout.
Essie Kimono Over ($9)
Since purchasing this shade three months ago, I have had to actively stop myself from using it in the name of variety — that's how often I've reached for it amid my considerable stash of nail polish. It's super dark, appearing almost black in certain light, with a cream finish that works with both glossy and matte top coats.
They're an obvious choice, to be sure, but no holiday nail polish roundup would be complete without a few festive reds. After all, the holidays are a time when we revisit traditions, and what could be more traditional than a red nail at Christmas?
Revlon Cherries in the Snow ($5.99)
This is a classic cherry red from drugstore stalwart Revlon, which makes it the perfect thing to pick up as a last-minute stocking stuffer for yourself. Revlon offers a lipstick in the same shade, and since the matchy-matchy look is coming back in style, you might as well treat yourself to that, too!
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Rhapsody Red ($9.99)
Sally Hansen's version of the now-ubiquitous no-lamp setting gel formula is a truly excellent long-lasting, no-chip polish. It's so exciting when you find a really great drugstore brand polish, but it's even more exciting to discover that this particular shade is a dupe for the much pricier Chanel Rouge Rubis!
A England Jane Eyre ($14)
This shade by A England, a darling among the nail polish obsessives set, is described as an "intensely smouldering crimson embers, imprisoned in a veil of sombre black," which makes it perfect for the festive goth in your life.