Nail Salons in NYC and L.A. Say These Are the Most Sought-After Shades of Winter

With all the glitz and glamour the holiday season offers, it's easy to get swept up in the fast-paced beauty trend cycle that seems to pick up the pace once winter arrives. If having a chic manicure for the season is at the top of your to-do list (maybe even before you get to your holiday shopping), and you're looking for some last-minute inspiration, you're in luck! I scoured the internet and reached out to nail experts Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of Glosslab, and Hayley Dang, nail artist at Bellacures, for some expert intel. 

Interested in learning more? Keep reading to discover which iconic shades Glass and Dang revealed we'll be seeing the most for gel manicures this season and learn how to keep them looking fresh all winter long.

Editor's Note: Look for the nail lacquers listed below in gel finishes at your salon.

1. Chrome Overlays


(Image credit: @betina_goldstein)

"Silver and chrome colors come with a lot of options. From darker tones to light shimmery shades, you can't go wrong with any, and they are the perfect way to gear up for New Year's Eve celebrations," shares Apfel Glass. "I see it as the enhanced 'winter white' (which I still love). Similar to emerald shades, this trend is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit that isn't your typical red nail!"


(Image credit: @nailsbyzola)

"I’ve also noticed crossing over from summer to winter, the chrome overlays continue to be popular amongst our clients," says Dang. "However, instead of using a nude underneath, clients are using brown and gray undertones, which is equally as stunning!"

2. Emerald Greens


(Image credit: @betina_goldstein)

"Emerald is a unique way to add a bit of unconventional color into your winter wardrobe," says Apfel Glass. "You can even add a glitter emerald if you are really feeling daring!"

3. Dark Browns


(Image credit: @betina_golstein)

"Earthy brown tones in the winter are my go-tos when I want to add a bit of warmth to my look. It's subtle yet sophisticated and goes well with all colors and skin tones," explains Apfel Glass.

4. Electric Blues


(Image credit: @betina_goldstein)

"While some of the colors are popular year over year, like OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark or Bubble Bath, I’ve seen many clients come in requesting electric blues to emulate the winter frost or fiery red shades for the holidays," says Dang.

5. Vibrant Reds


(Image credit: @betina_goldstein)

"At Glosslab, we love a moody, dark red in the winter," Apfel Glass continues. "I absolutely love the Glosslab Nail Polish in the shade OG Deep Red. It is a cold-weather staple!"

Gel Manicure Tips + Tricks

Now for the important part: knowing how to prepare your nails to make your new winter-ready manicure last. After learning all about the top shades for winter, I took the opportunity to ask our nail experts for some guidance on not only how to achieve the perfect mani but also how to keep it. "To have a gel manicure that lasts longer, always prepare your nails (cuticle cut, nail buff, etc.), and most importantly, do not soak your nails. Not only is water a breeding ground for germs, but it also makes your nail weak," Apfel Glass explained. "At Glosslab, all of our nail services are waterless. I always suggest taking breaks between gel manicures to give your nail surface a chance to recharge."


(Image credit: @nailsbyzola)

Dang holds a similar view. "I would say that one of the most important steps in ensuring a long-lasting gel application would be to make sure the nails are dehydrated of any oils prior to the base coat application," she said. "This will help to prevent any peeling, bubbling, or chipping. My last tip would be to make sure that you coat each nail evenly and allow the nails to cure for the proper amount of time under the UV light. Once you’ve taken off the acetone from the nail, it is important to apply cuticle oil, as hydrated nail beds no matter the kind of mani or pedi will give you longer-lasting results."

Our Favorite Products for Nail Prep

Next up, FYI: These Nail Colors Are Trending Right Now

Maya Thomas
Assistant Beauty Editor
Maya Thomas is Who What Wear's assistant beauty editor based just outside of Seattle, Washington. Her strong love for all things beauty and fashion stems from a strong childhood interest in the fine arts. During a gap year spent in Paris studying the history of French fashion, she shifted her focus to English literature and journalism as a student at Loyola Marymount University with the goal of one day pursuing a career in fashion. After graduating in May 2021, Maya began freelancing for as a contributing commerce writer while also building a following on her lifestyle blog, When she's not writing, Maya spends her free time catching up on reading, perusing art galleries, and enjoying a night out at the ballet every now and then.