We've Spent the Last 11 Months Vetting Nail Polish—Here's the December It List

Erin Jahns
·4 min read

Once December rolls around, we're almost exclusively inundated with a particular clique of nail polish: moody, practically black shades of purple, deep reds to match a rich pour of merlot, and seasonally festive pairings like candy cane red and white. Going to the dark side (of the nail polish spectrum, that is) is usually just assumed this time of year, but it doesn't necessarily have to be that way.

Of course, we love our collection of berries, emeralds, and plums just as much as anyone (going deeper and darker just feels festive, after all!), but we're also fans of bending the rules a bit and prioritizing any shade of nail polish we want. As long as we love it, we want to wear it this December. Since we spend the entire year testing and vetting nail polish, we're sharing all of the standouts and the exact hues we have on our December It list—even if we plan on wearing them well into the new year, too. From juicy shades of red to creamy shades of brown, we're sharing our top 20 December nail polish picks below. Keep scrolling!

Shades of Shimmer

We love sparkle-spiked and metallic nail polish 365 days a year, but there's something about the holidays that makes us even more inclined to give our nails some extra flash. From steel blue shades of shimmering silver to iridescent white reminiscent of delicate snowflakes, we're very much here for all of the below shades this December.

Shop our picks:

Olive and June Nail Polish in Obvi ($8)

OPI Infinite Shine Long-Lasting Nail Polish in All A'twitter in Glitter ($13)

Zoya Nail Polish in Isti ($10)

LaPierre Cosmetics Nail Polish in ?Y ($15)

Shades of Red

Red is always chic, and we're looking forward to playing with all types of iterations on the classic shade this winter. Yes, we have your quintessential hue of oxblood courtesy of Chanel's Rouge Noir ($28), but sparkling shades of berry and a shock of candy apple red are also in the running.

Shop our picks:

Pear Nova Nail Polish in Berry Jane ($14)

Mischo Beauty Nail Polish in Diana ($20)

Essie Nail Polish in In a Gingersnap ($9)

Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Rouge Noir ($28)

Shades of Brown

Earlier this year, we reported that brown nail polish was all of a sudden the only color that mattered this fall, and come wintery December, we're still just as obsessed. Choose a shade similar to your skin tone for the perfect nude or choose a contrasting shade (light brown if you have deeper skin and dark brown if you have lighter skin) to create a bolder statement. Currently, our heads are swilling with shades of carob, light cocoa, cinnamon… The list goes on and on.

Shop our picks:

Olive and June Nail Polish in JJ ($8)

J. Hannah Nail Polish in Carob ($19)

Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish in Raw Cocao ($7)

Mented Cosmetics Nail Color in Yes We Tan ($8)

Shades of Blue

Sapphire blues and is-it-or-isn't-it-black shades of navy are as synonymous with December as advent calendars and pumpkin pie. That said, we've found ourselves leaning more toward the lighter side—gray-blues, pastel blues, shimmering iridescent shades of blue, and even vibrant shades of turquoise reminiscent of a whimsical 1957 Cadillac.

Shop our picks:

Static Nails Liquid Glass Lacquer in Bohemian Blue ($13)

Olive and June Nail Polish in Yes Please ($8)

Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Ice Tears ($18)

Sundays Nail Polish in Sky ($18)

Shades of Purple

Simply put, it just wouldn't feel like December without at least a few iconic shades of vampy purple on our polish menu. So while we have gone ahead and included one of the most famous shades ever (ahem, OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark, $9), we also have big plans to deck our nails with gold-flecked shades of plum and celestial swirls of lilac lavender—aka less predictable albeit swoon-worthy shades of purple.

Shop our picks:

JinSoon Nail Polish in Farrago ($18)

OPI Nail Polish in Lincoln Park After Dark ($9)

Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in I Put a Spell On You ($20)

Ella+Mila Nail Polish in Little Plum Dress ($11)

Up next, 12 Fall Nail Colors That Look *Especially* Great on Brown and Black Skin

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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