Indy’s Hottest Nail Artists Share Their Must-Have Holiday Manicures

Book those appointments, stat.

Whether you prefer an over-the-top mani with all the trimmings or a subtle accent nail, these fresh styles from the city’s most in-demand nail experts will have you ‘sleighing’ all season.

Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.

holiday manicured nails

Maeve Peterson-Miller or Mani Maeve

There’s a reason that independent nail technician Maeve Peterson-Miller—a.k.a. “Mani Maeve”—has over 5,000 Instagram followers and is so in demand that new clients can only book two appointments per year with her in the Castleton area. Her nail art skills are that incredible. Yes, even her address is provided on a need-to-know basis. It’s no surprise, then, that the mani she whipped up for Indy Maven is a jaw dropper. 

“I designed this look to show off some seasonal trends that could each be worn as single accent nails with a solid color manicure, but also come together to create a glam-but-edgy holiday style,” she says, adding, “I incorporated an astrology symbol as well as the Hebrew Star of David to showcase that holiday nails can and should express what makes the season important to you—and not everyone celebrates Christmas!”

If you want to try to replicate this look at home—big props. But if you’re looking to simplify, Maeve recommends an all-glitter look—she used “Set in Stones” by Essie—because “you don’t have to stress so much about your precision painting skills with glitter.” Her tip: For fuller coverage, apply glitter polish with a makeup sponge instead of a brush. 

To copy her polka-dotted style, Maeve suggests using a toothpick to create the dots: “Just dip and dot, and if you want bigger dots, clip the tip of the toothpick off with nail clippers.” Finish it all off with a blingy bow charm, and to help the look last as long as possible, “don’t forget a good topcoat—try OPI or Essie—to seal the deal,” she says. 

Instagram: @manimaeve

For appointments: Call/text (317) 847-4959 or email 

red maniured nails with gold highlights

Hanna Deem, Emmetts the Studio

It takes a total nail-art badass to go by the moniker “Death Claws,” and Hanna Deem, who works out of Emmetts the Studio in Broad Ripple, more than lives up to her name. Deem has built up a cult of devotees, including more than 2,000 IG followers, and she only has a handful of appointments left for the year, so if you want in—stop reading and book now

Deem designed this ultra-luxe style specially for Indy Maven readers, choosing “Burgundy Mist” by DND (Daisy Nail Design) as the base, then adding hand-painted accents in Young Nails “Aura,” topped off with golden studs centered near each cuticle. “I think this look is perfect for the holiday season because it incorporates classic holiday colors, but gives a fun, unexpected edge to it. You can rock these nails through all your Christmas get-togethers and even to the New Year’s parties,” she says. 

Pressed for time? “I also love the half-and-half look of two different hands painted with different glitters,” Deem explains. “That’s something anyone can do themselves for a fun holiday look.”

711 E. 54th St., Indianapolis, (317) 475-0777,

Instagram: @death_claws 

For appointments: DM @death__claws or call the studio.

manicured nails

Jody Alexander and Madison Arnold, City Nail Bar

Whether you’re looking for an alternative to the red/green combo or are celebrating the Festival of Lights, shades of blue feel especially fresh. “Blue is very popular right now because it’s symbolic of winter—and we don’t mean ‘winter blues,’” says Jody Alexander, owner of downtown’s City Nail Bar. “It’s actually a very upbeat hue for your nails and looks perfect if you’re rooting for the Colts or Pacers this holiday season.”

Alexander collaborated with City Nail Bar technician Madison Arnold to create this “negative space” design that puts a contemporary spin on the traditional French manicure. “A negative space manicure is achieved by adding nail art—like lines, dots, or shapes—to a portion of the nail while leaving the rest clear or nude,” Alexander explains, adding, “The beauty of this look is that it allows a little longer wear because the grow out isn’t as noticeable.” In this version there are three different shades of blue: CND Shellac in Blue Eyeshadow, Denim Patch and Winter Nights, “but if you want a more scaled-down look, you can just use one color and make the effect pop on a single accent nail.”

71 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis, (317) 426-3890,

Instagram: @citynailbar_indy

For appointments: Book online or call the salon.

nails by Porsha Begly

Porsha Begly, BASIC

You may have to barter with the cancellation fairy for a holiday mani with Porsha Begly, co-owner of BASIC Salon in Fountain Square; the natural nail guru’s calendar is booked through January. While you may not be able to snag seat time with Porsha herself, you can still try your hand at one of her stunning, season-appropriate looks. Begly is feeling “deep, dark jewel tones, especially emerald green” this holiday, and she chose OPI’s “AmazON…AmazOFF” as the gorgeous green polish in this reverse French manicure with hand-painted marble accent nails. If you want to tone down the look a bit—but really, why would you?—you can simply replace the marbled nails with nude polish. “I am always a fan of nudes and the color I use the most often is a classic from OPI called ‘Tiramisu for Two,’” Begly says. But if you’re game for giving the marble-ized technique a try, check out this step-by-step tutorial.

Whether you decide to go all-out with your nails or leave ‘em bare, Begly suggests massaging your nail beds with cuticle oil a couple of times a week—NCLA makes one of her faves.  “I preach cuticle oil as a daily must for anyone looking to make a small change,” she says, adding, “it helps with the prevention of hangnails and keeps the cuticle soft and moisturized.” 

1335 Prospect St., Indianapolis, book here.

Instagram: @porshab 

For appointments: DM on Instagram.

manicured nails

Alexis Millsaps, Megan Du, and Alex Jester, Salon 01

This trio of nail technicians—Alexis Millsaps, Megan Du, and Alex Jester—at Salon 01 in Carmel worked like a team of Santa’s elves to come up with this glittery, glam mani that’s sure to be the hit of any holiday fête. 

“Ruby red polish is a timeless trend for the holidays,” Millsaps says, “but you can update the look by adding a glitter overlay to a pair of accent nails.” CND Shellac gel polish in Rebellious Ruby is one of their staff faves, but if red’s not your thing, you can always opt for something more your style. “Other trending colors we love this fall and winter are navy blue, mauve, and lighter purple,” explains Du. For the sparkling finishing touch, paint two layers of a glitter-flecked top coat on your middle and ring fingers.

And if your hands are starting to feel the effects of winter, “Don’t forget that the next time you go and get your nails done in a salon, you can also book a quick moisturizing service, like a paraffin dip, which will help keep your skin hydrated,” Jester says.  

200 City Center Drive, Carmel, (317) 580-0101,

Instagram: @salon01carmel

For appointments: Call the salon. 

Stephanie Groves is a freelance writer in Indianapolis who is an expert at smudging her manicure during the short walk from the chair to the dryer.