Consider Halloween the unofficial favorite holiday of fashion girls everywhere. After all, it provides the ultimate excuse to step out of your comfort zone, buy that avant-garde runway piece you’ve been eyeing (hey, it’s for a costume!), or, at the very least, sport some fresh nail art for the occasion. But when it comes to Halloween nail art, the line between chic and creepy can be very thin.
A cursory scroll through Instagram will guarantee a host of coffin-shaped nails with 3-D accents, pointed tips “dripping” with blood-red polish, and cutesy interpretations of ghosts, pumpkins, skulls, and skeletons — all of which are impressive, if not exactly subtle. But that didn't help the search to find the perfect low-key Halloween mani.
“Try something that’s still chic but unexpected,” Honey Nailz, a nail artist whose work regularly appears on the cover of Vogue, tells The Zoe Report, suggesting simple nail art that makes a statement: glittery tips, ombré effects, and deep pumpkin shades. It's the same idea as using one beauty product for your costume: The name of the game is to keep things simple, so you can focus on having a good time on All Hallows' Eve.
Ahead, see seven expert-approved Halloween nail looks that are equally festive and fashion-forward.
“Do an ombré style with a glitter tip,” Honey suggests. While ombré nails are notoriously tricky to execute at home, glitter ombré is a little more forgiving; in other words, you can totally achieve the look on your own.
“Place a glob of glitter polish on the tip of the nail after the base color has dried,” she instructs. “Then add a drop of clear polish to the brush of the glitter polish, and drag the brush toward the base of the nail. Alternatively, you can just dab the glitter on to the nail using a brush or a toothpick.”
The Evil Eye
“Evil eyes feel very chic while still being bespoke and hand-drawn,” Sarah Gibson Tuttle, the founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based nail empire Olive & June, says. She’s made it super easy to nab these nails for Halloween, too — you can shop the Olive & June All Eyes On You decal set on the brand's site, which includes evil eyes, lashes, hearts, and star decals to “create the most magical mani.”
Drag nail art, which refers to color that’s been “dragged” along the tip of the nail, is another Honey-approved option for Halloween. “You could do this style using any color, and it doesn’t have to be perfect,” she tells us.
“When executing the drag art look, I recommend making your own fine tipped brush by cutting a brush from an old polish brush,” she says. “Pour acetone into the old bottle of polish to clean it out, then trim the bristles at the root of the brush to give it a more fine tip.” Then, apply your base color and allow it to try before dragging your top color along the tip of the nail. (Or, you know, just book an appointment with your manicurist.)
“I’m also really loving this mystical glitter look that incorporates multiple polish shades,” Honey says. “To get the look, apply SinfulColors Powerful Potion as a base all over the nail. Add drops of SinfulColors Bad Witch and SinfulColors Witch, Please. Using one of the nail brushes, drag and swirl the drops of polish across each nail as desired. Finish off with a SinfulColors top coat.” These shades, all from SinfulColors Conjured Color Collection, are only available in-store at Walgreens — but you can achieve the same vibe with a mix of Revlon Holochrome Collection Nail Enamel in Fairy Dust and Amethyst Smoke, CND Vinylux Weekly Polish in Eternal Midnight.
This “juicy gradient” paint job from nail artist Madeline Poole looks suspiciously like Halloween’s favorite treat. On Instagram, the manicurist revealed that she created the effect with the shades Say it Lycra Mean It and Slime Scene from her own collection with Sally Hansen Nails.
Shades of Pumpkin
Of course, you can’t go wrong with a plain pumpkin-hued mani. To find the best shade for your skin tone, Honey suggests paying attention to the polish’s undertones. “Light skin tones look nice with polish shades that have more pink undertones,” she tells us. “Medium skin tones can get away with a wider range of shades, and deep skin tones look good with earthy undertones.”
And finally, for all of the basic witches: black is always in style. Opt for two coats of matte polish for a look that’s so sophisticated, it's scary.