Two words guaranteed to strike fear into the very heart of any grown woman? Nail art. We hear you, wedded as we are to our pale pink, greige or tasteful bordeaux-coloured talons. Lately, though we’ve started to change our minds. For one thing, it’s Christmas, and chic, discreet hues that are perfect for October suddenly look dull and drab come December. For another, festive nail art no longer means hideous mini murals or decals of The Grinch on your middle finger, though if that’s your style, more power to you.
According to Denise Arnold, nail brand CND’s Education Ambassador: “People are staying away from Santa and holly berries in favour of things that are festive, but still classy. Geometric patterns are very popular, as are pastel, shimmering colours with abstract designs. Red is the ultimate neutral and a classic for holiday, but it’s great to shake it up with a black ombre fade.” Here are her top five party looks for the holiday season.
“This uses muted shades but jazzed up with holiday sparkle,” says Arnold. The look was achieved with colours from CND’s Aurora holiday collection, which is themed around the Northern Lights.
2. Punk plaid
“Plaids are always popular around the holiday. This is a more modern interpretation that uses peacock blue, shimmer and sparkle,” says Arnold. In theory, you could create this look with a steady hand and plenty of time. In reality, you’re going to have to do it 10 times – so just go to the salon.
3. Metallic glitter fade
This uses black, silver, gold and copper, so it really will go with everything. Another plus? You can achieve the design at home with regular polish, but if you want to use Shellac or another long-wear system, Arnold says the metallic colours around the base of the nail mean it won’t be as obvious when the polish starts to grow out. The only note of caution? “You need sleek almond-shaped nails with a bit of length,” says Arnold. “This design needs space so it doesn’t look crowded.”
4. Shattered illusions
Take your classic red nail to an edgier new level. CND created this using a real feather pressed onto a Shellac base, but we reckon you could achieve a similar look with black polish and a fine paintbrush (maybe).
5. Ruched lace
“This has a kind of naughty Santa’s helper feel – it’s inspired by ruched lace and the criss-cross pattern gives it a corset effect. It’s also got that geometric design that’s so popular right now. It would also be great in a metallic light pink – rose silver instead of rose gold,” says Arnold.
Where to get your party nails
Expert nail services in a chic studio that uses its own brand of body products, plus nail polishes from OPI, Essie, JINsoon, Ella + Mila and Deborah Lippmann, and gel polish from OPI and Shellac. Customers can browse an iPad instead of messing their manis on magazines, and the salon offers above-average refreshments like cold-pressed juice as well as a full menu of mani and pedi services.
How much: $30 for a mani and $40 for gel polish. Nail art starts at $0.50 per nail, but is generally in the region of $5 per nail.
Address: 1758 West 4th Avenue
A brand-new salon, this is the first in Vancouver to use exclusively CND products – Vinylux for non-gel, and Shellac for gel. You can get manis, pedis and nail art treatments in the swanky Gastown salon.
How much: From $20 for a mini mani to $49 for Shellac nails. Nail art is from $5-$8 per nail ($20 for all 10 nails) plus extra for accessories such as diamante. Some nail art is available for walk-in customers but appointments are best if you want intricate designs.
How to book: Call 604-559-8055.
Address: 421 Abbott Street, Gastown
A beauty bar that offers waxing, facials, tinting and threading as well as nail services. Regular polishes are from Essie, OPI and house brand Get Nailed, and Essie and OPI for gel varnish. This franchise promises to make your beauty experience a little funkier – no spa atmosphere or tinkly bell music. Unexpected perk? Complimentary toe-waxing with every pedi.
How much: From $45 for gel colour (the salon doesn’t do nail art on regular polish), plus $8-$20 (total, not per nail) for nail art. Advance booking is recommended for complex designs.
Address: 1006 Mainland Street
Housed on the second floor of Beautymark (so you can stock up on cult beauty products after your mani), this small salon offers manis, pedis and hand/foot treatments. Regular polishes are from OPI, Essie and Butter London, while gel varnishes are from OPI, Luxio, and Shellac.
How much: From $20 for an express mani to $45 for gel, plus $8 per nail for nail art. Nail art is by request only and booking is required.
How to book: Email [email protected] or call 604-710-7546.
Address: 1268 Pacific Boulevard