35 Winter Nail Ideas For Every Occasion

A collection of our fav nail looks that are perfect for the cooler months. Although winter often symbolizes an end to many things, it’s also a season full of happiness and celebration. As cooler months approach, so do some of our favorite holidays.

And with those holidays also comes a much-needed manicure to go with them. I mean, is there anything more exciting than thinking about all of the possible Christmas nail inspo!?

And if you’re thinking, I can never come up with any ideas, don’t worry. This article will be more than enough winter nail inspo for your next snow day DIY project (or nail salon appointment if that’s your thing). 

1. Snow Animals Winter Nail Design

Credit angelpig72

We all know that the North Pole is infamous for Santa’s Workshop. But that’s not the only thing that we are gushing over from the North. The Arctic is home to some of the most adorable animals. If beautiful white snowy terrains weren’t enough, then penguins, polar bears and seals should definitely do the trick. This manicure captures the scene in a creative and youthful manner and is so cute we might just have to go ahead and book a one-way ticket to the Arctic.

RELATED: Easy Nail Designs: A Guide To Nail Arts You Can Try At home

2. Winter Vibes Nail Design

Credit thenaillionaire

For the western part of the world, winter just isn’t the same without its snowy and icy landscapes. Global warming has somewhat affected this but most of us can still remember winters as kids walking down the streets with snow banks towering on either side of us (if you were lucky, you even got to jump in them). Basically what we want to say is, it wouldn’t be a winter nail inspo article without a manicure that featured snowflakes and icicles. The sparkles add an extra special magical touch (fitting for such a magical time of the year).

3. Purple Snowflakes Winter Nails

Credit: lina_lackiert

Like we said at the beginning, there’s no rule book that states snowflakes must be strictly painted onto your nails in white or silver polishes. And thank goodness for that because this purple-inspired manicure is stunning. Snowflakes are an iconic part of winter and will be sure to elevate your nail look. For a bit of glam add some sparkles and to try something unique, opt for an untraditional color. It’s never too late to step out of your comfort zone.

4. Penguin Winter Nail Design

Credit: hnnailsbyhoney

Opting for a new and unique color isn’t the only way you can impress. Shaping your mani into long acrylic nails will also always be a power move. And as if that wasn’t enough, a diverse range of dreamy and adorable winter illustrations makes this nail look even more bold. This mani is channeling fierce penguin winter wonderland and if you ask us, it doesn’t get any better than that.

5. Winter Breeze Winter Nail Designs

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Now, if for the entire last 5 minutes you were thinking this is waaay out of my comfort zone we have got the perfect alternative. The holiday season tends to be all about overdoing it but that doesn’t mean you can’t opt for a subtle and more classic manicure. In fact, a contrast might be nice. This winter nail look features a white base and sparkly reversed french tips in dreamy aqua and purple hues. It’s simple, yet glamorous.

RELATED: Are Acrylic Nails Expensive?

6. Sweater Weather Winter Nails

Credit: vikfan4

Although some of us might not be too keen on the cold aspect of winter, no one can say they don’t love the fashion that comes with it. Sweater weather has to be one of the best times of the year and is also great nail inspo. The most iconic print during the holiday season (after ugly sweaters of course) is plaid and therefore had to be included on this mani. We also love the combination of the polka dots and the untraditional purple shade (we’re respectfully ignoring the image on the third nail because we’re not entirely sure what it is).

7. Frozen Winter Nail Design

Credit: rachel_inmoshpit

Okay, if we were to manifest all of the energy from the movie Frozen and make it into a nail look this would be it. Bright blue and white hues, silver sparkles and snowflakes are all the cute and fun details we need to get into the holiday spirit this winter. 

8. Polar Bear Winter Nail Design

Credit tammylee_._

Because they’re just so adorable, we couldn’t resist showing another polar bear-inspired nail look. And if you’re in the mood for something extra sweet, position the polar bear in the corner of the nail to make it appear as though it’s just peeking out over the tip. For an artistic element, accent the animal print with intricate snowflakes. E voilà, you have the picture-perfect winter nail. 

9. Winter Fantasy Winter Nails 

Credit taty_for_nails

Speaking of animal print, thanks to Santa Claus reindeer are equally as important (if not more) than polar bears. Heck, they even made a Christmas song dedicated to them. This reindeer may not have a red nose, but he certainly makes a beautiful canvas for this dreamy winter fantasy. Blue and gold make the perfect color combination and the mini snowflakes provide an extra sweet winter touch.

RELATED: Best Nail Shape To Slim Down Wide Fingers

10. Edgy Penguin Winter Manicure 

Credit: studio_yab

Black isn’t a color often associated with winter but we are here to change that because this manicure is serving chic and sophisticated penguin paradise. We’re honestly as shocked as you with how good this looks (but perhaps the black hues on the penguin do provide the perfect canvas for an edgy aesthetic) and will definitely be getting our nail aestheticians to do this at our next appointment.

11. Simple Sparkles Winter Nail Design

Credit: nailed_by_e

Spring and summer weddings tend to be more popular because of the weather but if you are one of the people who wouldn’t dream of anything but a winter wonderland theme on your special day then these are the perfect nails. Chic and glamorous white and sparkly silver polish gives this look a refined yet angelic feel while the snowflake completes the look with its minimalist aesthetic.

12. Glitter Winter Nail Design

Credit whitney_lowery1976

If you are all about the glitz and glam then you won’t want to miss out on these nails. Silver sparkles are a must during the holiday season and are the perfect addition to any festive party. Get out your sparkly mini dress and heels because with these nails we’re taking over NYE. And don’t forget about the snowflakes- they will enhance your look only that much more.

13. It’s Cold Outside Winter Nail Design

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When it comes to winter nails there’s no shortage of snowflake inspo. This manicure features the nail art over a beautiful pink and white ombré on a long, acrylic nail. Although the color palette and design are soft and delicate the length makes this manicure a bold statement.

14. Xmas Winter Nail Design

Credit: luxurynailsfortlauderdale

The great thing about winter nails is that there are endless possibilities when it comes to the designs. And what’s even better, they even look fabulous mixed together! This nail look incorporates a wide variety of cute and minimalist holiday icons such as snowflakes, hearts, reindeer antlers and the word “xmas”. The blue hues are also symbolic and remind us of icy textures. If you’re considering getting this look at your next appointment also make sure to apply a matte finish for that more unsaturated and pastel feel.

RELATED: All The Must-Know Facts About Purple Acrylic Nails

15. Candy Cane Winter Nails

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We were wondering when the holiday treats were going to make an appearance (we were starting to get worried). If you have a sweet tooth like us, then you’ll agree that one of the best parts of the holiday season is the change in diet (let’s be real, if you’re on a diet at Christmas you’re probably a psychopath). Candy canes are an iconic part of the holidays and with their red and white design, make the perfect nail inspo. This manicure has integrated the design in a unique and minimalist manner over a mint green polish. BRB, we’re gonna go raid our cupboards.

16. Christmas Gnome Winter Nail Design

Credit: beautebyaimee

Gnomes have become increasingly popular at Christmas in the last few years and no one is really sure why. Perhaps it’s their resemblance to Santa, or simply because they’re freaking adorable but regardless we want them on our fingers. Pink and blue hues give this winter nail look a fun and colorful pop while the nail art provides it with a creative element. And fun fact: gnomes are also said to bring us good luck, happiness, warmth and magic! Now we really want them on our nails. 

17. Red Holly Winter Manicure 

Credit: merakistudio_ms

Did you know, holly was traditionally used to help celebrate the Winter Solstice Festival by warding off evil spirits and celebrating new growth? Yeah, we didn’t either until 5 minutes ago (thanks, Google). Today most of us recognize holly as the formidable plant that hangs from the ceiling and makes you kiss whoever stands beneath it with you. But aside from this, it also looks super cute on your nails. Combine the look with a bright and cheerful Christmas red and you’ll be feeling festive in no time  (and also perhaps in the mood for a little smooching). 

18. Slytherin Vibes Winter Nail Design

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Every aspect of all of the Harry Potter movies is immaculate but one scene that never fails to impress is when Christmas arrives every year at Hogwarts. This is perhaps why Harry Potter is often associated with the winter months and watched over the holidays. This particular manicure takes its inspo from the Slytherin house (not our first choice but what are you gonna do) and features the iconic dark green hues and snake design. Slytherin isn’t terribly well known for being festive and cheerful but at least the color scheme is on theme.

RELATED: 55 Stunning White Nail Designs That Are Better Than French Tips

19. Butterfly Effect Winter Nail Design

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With all of the decorations and parties, the winter season is the most glamorous time of the year. I mean, there’s a reason all of the shops pull out their sequin dresses and diamond earrings during this time. For a chic nail look that is elegant but refined opt for a minimalist design in white and gold hues. This manicure utilizes the french tip technique but instead of white tips, a beautiful and intricate butterfly has been added onto the nail. Is it just us or does this manicure seem like it belongs on one of the elves from Lord Of The Rings.?

20. Spooky Starry Night Winter Nail Design

Credit dianamarienailz

Halloween isn’t the only holiday season that has a claim on spooky nail designs. If you love an edgy and mysterious aesthetic and want to maintain this during the winter months then this manicure is a great option. Black hues will forever be the poster color for all things dark and edgy. But instead of giving off horror vibes, this manicure actually looks quite dreamy and reminds us of a beautiful, sparkling night sky.

21. Wreaths and Gold Foil Winter Nail Design

Credit: chezpaintsnails

If you don’t have a wreath up during the holidays then what are you even doing? Once the weather starts to get chillier, wreaths are a must and your nails are no exception. Try out the holiday inspo on a white base with accents of golden foil-because is it even a holiday look without the glam (other nail looks will prove otherwise but we needed to say it for the dramatic effect… you get it)? 

22. Winter Dreams Nail Design

Credit: ohmynailsnyc

There’s something about the night sky during winter that just hits differently. Perhaps it’s the holiday season that brings an extra touch of magic to the air or it’s the blanket of snow that glistens in the light but whatever it is we are dying to have it on our nails. This nail look depicts the imagery wonderfully in a modern french tip design. Deep blue hues act as the sky while various nail art such as moons and stars help to complete the look. A true winter nail dream.

23. Winter Wonderland Nails

Credit vikfan4

If we could imagine the perfect nail art landscape during the winter it would definitely be this. Just close your eyes and imagine it: You’re sitting on the couch by the fireplace all snuggled in a blanket while you watch the snow gently falling. Smoke blows out of the top of the chimney of your small and quaint winter cottage. You notice the kids next door have built a snowman and just as you think your heart couldn’t be any more full, you see a reindeer galloping through the pine trees. 

RELATED: 81 Summer-Ready Coffin Ombre Nail Design Ideas to Try This Season

24. Glam Girl Snowflake Winter Nail Design

Credit vikfan4

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, snowflakes can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and this design is giving us femme glam girl. Contrary to what many believe, red and pink actually make a great color combo. Complement the look with a silver base and you’ll be ready for any holiday party this season throws at you.

25. Snow Globe Winter Nail Design

Credit: vikfan4

Ever since we saw The Santa Clause Movies we have been obsessed with the idea of having a room full of snow globes. They’re not only festive and magical, they’re also just so cute. But, if we can’t actually collect hundreds of globes, painting them on our nails is the next best thing. For a winter blizzard-feel, opt for a base in a dark purple polish. To incorporate the design add a single snowglobe to one of the nails. It has to be the center of attention after all.

26. Hot Drinks Winter Nail Design

Credit vikfan4

Okay, after the candy cane-inspired nail look this is definitely our second favorite winter mani. If you’re like us, then you’re also pulling out the hot cocoa at the first sign of cooler weather. And I mean, is there anything cozier than having a hot drink in your favorite mug while watching holiday shows and sitting by the fire? This manicure features all of the festive drinks you could want and more in a fun and creative design and color palette. 

27. Snowman Winter Nail Designs

Credit: loloslacquerednails

Aside from nature and festivities, a significant part of the winter season is the extra layers we put on to face the cold. It is often believed that one can’t look stylish as a result of all of the clothing but we beg to differ. As you can see from this manicure, hats, mittens and scarves are adorable and can actually elevate your winter OOTD. And if you’re bundling up and heading outside anyway, why not build a snowman. With the actual words “hello winter” across one of the nails, this manicure couldn’t be more reflective of the colder season.

RELATED: 55 Glamorous Orange Nail Ideas for Inspired Beauty

28. Clarice Rudolph Winter Nails

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We all know good old Rudolph but what some of us are unaware of (unless you’ve seen the movie) is that he actually has a girlfriend named Clarice! So of course we had to give her a boss girl moment in this stunning  holiday nail look. White and gold hues are elegant and glamorous (exactly what Clarice deserves) and that touch of red is the perfect contrast to make the mani pop. 

29. Blue Winter Set Nail Design

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If you’re one of those people who always add too much tinsel to the tree and start listening to Christmas music in September then this is the winter mani for you. You really can’t get more extra than long, acrylic nails and 3D diamonds and the white and blue hues are screaming ice castle. If you want that Queen of the snow energy this holiday season then you’ve found it. 

30. Classic Christmas Mood Manicure

Credit: nails_g_beauty

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a classic red mani. Especially when it’s Christmas. This nail look features an adorable Rudolph illustration, silver sparkles and star nail art. It’s fun, festive and perfect for those who want a bit of holiday cheer but don’t want to go too over the top. 

31. Mickey And Minnie Mouse Winter Nail Design

Credit:  uglyducklingnails

Where are my ‘90s kids at because this is a whole throwback to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. “M-I-C-K-E-Y, N-A-I-LS” (if you know you know). And the Mickey Christmas special? Now that’s a movie that gives us the holiday feels. There’s nothing sweeter than a holiday romance and Mickey and Minnie are the poster couple for it. 

32. Christmas Kitten Winter Nails

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Or, perhaps a kitty cat is more your thing. There’s an important rule at Christmas: put a pair of antlers on literally anything and it will automatically make them look festive (I mean, the Grinch did it). Complement your adorable cat nail art with an artistic icy marble print and you’ll have the perfect animal print mani this winter season. And if you’ve got a cat at home and aren’t sure what to give him this Christmas, why not buy them their very own pair of antlers?

RELATED: 55 Glitter Nail Designs to Amaze and Jazz Up Your Makeup Looks

33. Mistletoe Winter Nail Design

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Every season needs its own signature florals and during winter it’s definitely poinsettias and holly. With their rich red and green hues, poinsettias and holly make the perfect Christmas nail inspo. If you want to try the look out, make sure to apply it to a white base so that the nail art remains the focal point. To really make things interesting, change up the size and frequency of the flowers as well.

34. Minimalist Reindeer Manicure 

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If you are all about the minimalist aesthetic then you are going to love this look. Although reindeer nail art might seem like a complex idea at first, if done correctly it can actually be integrated into the manicure in an understated but effective way. The first way to achieve this is by applying a plain neutral base such as this white polish. Then, instead of applying the entire reindeer, only add certain features. This look is too cute and with a bit of sparkle, also a little glamorous. 

35. Santa’s Sleigh Winter Nails

Credit: just.painting.my.nails

And to conclude, we had to show you a look with the man behind all of the magic. As kids, the idea of Santa delivering presents on his reindeer-drawn sleigh is possibly one of the best parts of childhood. As we get older, the belief is lost but the magic remains in our hearts. If you’re feeling nostalgic this holiday season and want a festive nail look that is going to give that wow factor then this is it. 


What Are Winter Nails? 

As the name implies, winter nails include any manicure that derives its inspiration from the cooler season. To get an idea, simply think of some of your favorite winter pastimes: walks in the snow, sitting by the fire, bringing in the New Year with your besties and of course Christmas (which for some of us is also accompanied by a rewatching of “The Holiday” a hundred times). No matter the occasion, there’s always the perfect nail look to go with it. 

Do Winter Nails Have To Be Red And Green or Gold And Silver?

Now, it’s important to note that winter nails don’t necessarily indicate red and green or silver and gold. This may have been the case before but today anything from pink Santa hats to purple snowflakes is possible- and we aren’t complaining. With such a diverse range of options, there’s really something for every taste and personality. 

Why Get Winter Nails?

Winter can be a tough season for those of us who loathe the cold. If you’re a person who hibernates all winter you’ll know exactly what we mean. For some, Covid was a time of isolation. For others, isolation is an annual occasion. 

Which is exactly why you need a winter nail. A fresh manicure can really do so much more for a person than just acting as a fun addition to your outfit. When your nails are done, you inevitably feel more put together and as a result, will feel better too. There’s nothing like a stellar nail design to give you that confidence boost. So next time that winter depression is hitting you, grab your favorite nail polish color and give yourself a fabulous mani. We assure you, you won’t regret it. 

Whether you’re tired of the cold and want to bring a little holiday cheer to your look or are a total winter fanatic and can’t get enough of all things that come with the season, getting a winter-inspired nail look will never disappoint. And remember, just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to stick to traditional color palettes. While red and green and silver and gold hues will give you more of a classic aesthetic, changing it up to shades such as pink and purple can also be a really fun move. There’s so much inspo at this time of year it all just comes down to finding a winter nail look that best suits who you are.

Brittney Scott