Get in festive mood with witty talons dressed as snowmen, holly leaves and Christmas trees

NAIL art is one of those things that you need to take seriously.

I know this because I’ve tried it a few times, and although I fancy myself to have a bit of an artistic side, I was rubbish at it. With nail art you need a steady hand — and patience. I have neither.

But amping up your nails is a hot look right now — you can go all out with tiny glittery stones, draw fabulous dot, stripes and decorations or, as it’s Christmas, fancy things up with snowmen, Christmas puddings, Christmas trees or holly... depending how creative you’re feeling. And you’ll be in good company.

“Celebrities such as Rhianna, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé have all boosted nail art back into our lives,” says Karla Heaney, senior nail technician with Shavata at Harvey Nichols Dublin. “These ladies have helped it become a fashion statement. Fashion is becoming more creative and more and more about personal style and I think nails is a great way to express your style also especially for girls who don’t want to be too daring.”

Athletes are also getting in on the buzz. During the London 2012 Olympics, British cyclist Rebecca flashed Union Jack-painted talons when showing off her medal.

If you’re not feeling like you’re particularly steady of hand, then don’t panic. There are some rather nifty ways of spicing up your nails, even if you’re not going for a festive-themed look. “Nail art is actually pretty easy to do at home,” says Michelle Horan at Dublin’s Tropical Popical Nai Bar. “It’s coming up with the idea that’s tricky. And of course doing the second hand. But with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to pull it off. Also, with all the new products like stencils and transfers and even 3D nails, it’s easier to get fancier nails than ever before.”

A good place to start is with the Konad Stamping Nail Art, a nifty little nail art kit, €27.40, that makes things hassle-free by using stamps instead of you own artistic creativity. You need to use their special thicker nail polishes for the actual stamp designs, but you can use a regular nail polish as a main coat (just don’t use the special Konad polishes, as they’re much thicker and won’t dry).

You can also invest in a few nail pens, which really deliver easy peasy designs without any of the mess. I think they’re great. If you’re planning on blinging things up with a few jewels or rhinestones, invest in some decent nail glue — your base nail colour won’t be strong enough to hold them for long.

One of my favourite ways of jazzing up nails is with Ciaté’s Caviar, €23. It’s really fun and very easy to use, and it’s pretty much a dead cert for quick, no messing fancy Christmas nails. To begin, you apply a nude coloured nail colour, leave it to dry, and apply another coat. Before it dries fully, you pour on tiny coloured balls that gives it a 3D effect and looks very disco. It’s incredibly simple, pretty much foolproof and looks fantastic. Love it.

Keep an eye out for the new Nails Inc Leather & Skulls nail kit — the waiting list has been rocketing up since Alexa Chung sported the leather-look manicure at the British Fashion Awards a couple of weeks ago.

Finally, if you are planning on dolling up your nails this season, make sure your nails are short and neatly rounded — long overly decorated nails are the last word in naff, and nail art should err on the side of hip rather than hectic. You want to make a cute, on-trend statement, rather than looking like you’re about to run off to a fancy dress as Elvira.

*Tropical Popical, 28 South William Street, Dublin, 2 T: 01 675 35 69 www.tropicalpopical.com

Stuff we like

Konad Stamping Nail Art, €27.40. It does feel very young and very girly, but then that’s what nail art is all about. You’re not going to get a particularly festive look with this one, but then again you can create nails that would be perfect for wearing with a little black dress — and they’re guaranteed to make you stand out.

Rio Professional Nail Art Pens, €29 at littlewoodsireland.ie. For those that are not steady-of-hand, a nail pen is an essential — the nib allows you to dot and draw with more accuracy than you’d normally get with a thicker applicator. Excellent for creating any kind of nail art you fancy. I prefer ones in a pen shape, but these are a good alternative, and a good Christmas present for anyone looking to do nail art.

Ciaté Caviar Manicure, €23. This comes in a range of colours but I reckon the black is the best — it’s a bit more understated while also being glam enough to make an impact. The rainbow shade is great if you’re wearing something simple. With this one, although you can cover the nail entirely in the tiny glittery balls, you can also experiment with your own styles but just doing or just do the tips, or just do a stripe. Enjoy the experiment. though, but make sure to leave them to dry for 20 minutes or you’ll have little balls all over the place.

Mavala Base Coat, €3.77. You need a base coat if you’re planning on doing any kind of nail art. It helps it to last longer, protect your nails and be more resistant to chips. What’s more, this cutie is perfectly sized for bringing away or using on the go.

Westminster Bridge Matte Top Coat, €14.80. Don’t forget a top coat. Yes, it can feel like you’re really layering on the gunk, but a top coat will seal in your colour and protect your nails making them last longer. Generally, it’ll dry quicker than regular nail polish. , but make sure your nail polish are completely dry before applying. I like this one because it’s matte, but you can opt for something high shine instead.


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