Monday, December 20, 2010

Silver Winter Wonderland

Days 3 and 4 of the Twelve (condensed) Days of Christmas consists of a glitter gradient manicure reminiscent of falling snow.

If you think of a silver winter wonderland, what comes to mind? Landscape covered in snow and ice - so frozen it gleams silver in the minimal sunlight?

image from

Well if you try to Google the words "Silver Winter Wonderland" some of the first few images that come up are of silver jewelry with winter motifs. Not really what I had in mind for this manicure, but the above picture does the trick to bring forth thoughts of snow glazed countryside.

For this manicure, you'll need four nail polishes. A base color, and then three varying foil and glitter-like shades all in the same color range.

For this manicure, the colors I chose were (from left to right) Revlon Top Speed Chrome in PetalChrome (all one word on the label for some reason), Revlon Top Speed Chrome in Lily Chrome, Love & Beauty in Silver (this is a dense silver micro glitter, similar to Orly Dazzle), and Love & Beauty in Silver (and although this one has the same name on the label as the last one, this last polish is a regular silver glitter polish made up of round-ish particles of silver glitter in a clear base).

For Step 1, simply paint on a coat of your base color. For this manicure, I don't recommend adding a top coat, because that will interfere with layering the other colors over the first layer and how well the layers mesh together.

This is one to two coats of PetalChrome without a top coat.

Step 2 consists of brushing the tips of your nails in the silver foil polish to create a base/starting line that will be a solid silver background for the rest of the gradient manicure.

You can do this freehand, and it does not matter if you have straight lines, because it will be blended into the other layers on top of this one.

Also, consider how long your nails are, and how far up you want your glitter gradient to travel on the nail, for how high you want this silver stripe to be on your nails.

In Step 3, you will take your dense silver micro-glitter polish and do a stripe across each nail that reaches to about one forth up the nail. Make sure to paint this coat so the glitter stays dense, dragging the brush from left to right (or right to left) across the tip of your nail (rather than from top to bottom).

After the last step has dried a bit (but not completely dry), take the same dense silver micro-glitter polish you used for the last step and using an upward motion, start at the bottom tip of your nail and drag the brush up, making sure that the brush has a minimal amount of polish on it, so that after each single stroke of the brush, there is almost no nail polish on the brush. The less polish on the brush before each stroke, the easier it will be to layer on the micro-glitter, so that it does not become too dense at the top of the gradient.

Paint up to about two-thirds of your nail, leaving the top third still uncovered by silver glitter.

For this final step, the blue painter's tape is optional, but I find it helpful to control how far the last glitter polish travels without accidentally painting the whole nail.

Using the regular-sized-particle silver glitter, sweep the brush in an upwards stroke along the nail to the nail bed, up to about four-fifths of the nail, so that from about the moon of the nail upwards is not covered in any silver glitter. Feel free to add a bit more of this larger-particle silver glitter at the end of your nail if you so desire, while still keeping the glitter sparse at the top of the gradient.

And here is the final look when a top coat is added.

To create this silver snowy wonderland on your nails, no sponge is needed for the gradient. I find the blue chrome polish compliments the silver glitter gradient nicely for a background shade, emphasizing the silver look to the nails. If you try this design, what shades would you use?

And this concludes Days 3 and 4 of the Twelve Days of Christmas Manicures.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me
three french hens
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
four calling birds
three french hens
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


  1. This is very cute. I love the forever 21 nail polishes- a lot of them are really nice, actually.

  2. Lovely! Your nails look beautiful!!

  3. A wonderful tutorial! What a lovely effect!

  4. @Rachel Marie: Thank you! I agree with you on the Forever 21 polishes. The silver glitter was one I was able to get when they were having a sale, but even without a sale, their polishes are a pretty good quality for a great price.

    @Ash-Lilly: Thank you for the complement!

    @Susy: Thank you! And thanks for commenting!

    @allieb1953: Thank you! I really like this look, so I'm glad I could share it with someone else who likes it too!


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