There’s so much to love about summer. Between the outdoor activities, al fresco dining, and beach vacations, it’s a perfect season. The only thing I could do without? Triple-digit temps. Though I do my best to brave even the hottest, sweatiest days, I always feel like summer limits my self-expression. I can’t stand to wear more than my most lightweight summer basics and I strip my beauty routine down to serums and sunscreen. But to take back my style personality, I’m going big with my summer nails.
Whether you keep your nails short or you prefer bold designs, there’s a summer nail trend for everyone. This season, the nail spectrum spans natural nudes to neons and everything in between. I’ve scoured social media to find the coolest nail trends by celebrity nail artists and crafty DIYers alike. Bookmark this page and save for summer nail inspo that you can take to the salon or try your hand at (!) yourself.
Featured image from our interview with Babba Rivera by Belathée Photography.
No doubt, Barbiecore is the hottest trend of the summer. Pink is the shade, Barbie is the reason. To me, Barbiecore is a reminder to add some whimsy to your life and do something fun for your inner child. Nothing says that like all pink everything—including your summer nails.
Another way to pull off the pink trend is to channel your favorite summer drinks. This glittery texture imitates the perfect fizz of a strawberry lemonade or a fun summer spritz.
Rosé All Day
Short, nude-esque nails are all the rage. (We have the quiet luxury trend to thank.) This pinkish, rosé-inspired hue is perfect for a summer vacay.
For a truly classic look, you can’t go wrong with a glossy nude. And this summer, you’ll be seeing them everywhere.
Pastels are back, mostly in milky shades. I can already picture enjoying these candy-coated summer nails while savoring a soft serve on the beach.
Red hot for summer: this spicy classic. Go for a firey shade or a more tomato hue to channel the latest Italian summer trend—#TomatoGirl—for your vacation nails.
A fun twist on a classic red nail is this easy-to-DIY strawberry look. We’re loving strawberries on everything this year—nails are no exception.
Adding fun pop art on your nails is like a low-stakes version of a cute sticker tattoo. This year, fruit salad decals are all the rage. Your mani will be the star of any potluck.
All the best fruits are in season, and what better way to celebrate the harvest than with your summer nails? Adding a cherry detail to a French manicure (or really any other look) is a fun summer flair.
Channel this classic summer vibe with a breezy gingham print. Inspired by picnic baskets and summer dresses, this whimsical look works in every color.
Flower crowns may be passé, but flower crown nails are a fresh take on florals. Cap off a colorful French mani with a string of flower details.
Tenniscore is everywhere this summer. On or off the courts, we’re channeling the preppy style this season. Give your green nails—which were trending this spring—an upgrade with this tenniscore twist.
If watching The Little Mermaid live-action at the start of summer inspired you as much as it did us, you won’t be surprised by the resurgence of mermaidcore. Anything that feels ethereal and underwater goes for this one—bonus points for glitter and iridescent sparkles.
For the ultimate throwback mermaid reference, channel the beautiful beachy vibes with an aquamarine blue. You could say we’ve got a blue crush on this shade.
Now that we’re out of the June gloom, the skies are finally crystal clear and your nails can follow suit. One of the most popular colors this summer is sky blue. Just head to your local salon for the proof.
Head in the Clouds
Even if the skies are clear, soft clouds on your nails are an easy DIY that makes any color even more interesting.
This one’s for anyone who checks CoStar daily and asks everyone they meet for their star sign. Clear summer skies mean a night sky full of stars. It’s the perfect reason to add star decals to your nails.
The world is your oyster—a truth your summer nails know well. If you’re a fan of adding 3D ornaments to your nails, pearls are an elegant way to get in on this trend. Quiet luxury meets ornate nail art. It’s the best of both worlds.
Another opulent way to adorn your nails is to add crystals. A dusting of clear crystals will elevate even the most simple summer looks.
Take the crystal trend one step further with colorful gemstones. To make it even more personal, research your birthstones and use those to inspire the look.
Take it back to basics and add a glitter coat to your nails. Get the glam look without the upkeep of 3D nail jewelry.
Is your disco ball your favorite piece of home décor? Do you always take a video of every disco ball you encounter on a night out? Same—and this nail trend is for us. It’s perfect for summer concerts, from Eras (hello, mirrorball) to Renaissance (disco tips!).
This colorful take on the disco trend will make your nails look like stained glass. It’s funky, cool, and guaranteed to catch everyone’s eyes.
Fairycore is the ethereal extension of cottagecore that we’re totally here for. Exploring nature all summer long? Do it with fairy-inspired nails. Think: mossy, earthy colors with colorful accents.
One of the biggest rainbow trends we saw this June was a subtle rainbow tip. Good news: this look is going strong all summer.
New takes on the classic French are all the rage. And while ombre hair and ombre clothing are trends of the past, a subtle ombre gradient on your nails is cool and classy.
Want to take your ombre look to the next level? Try mixing neon gradients with unexpected colors for a bold beach nail look.
Another way to try neon is a neon outline around a nude nail. Balance.
Textured details are a cool way to embrace 3D nails without intense upkeep and protruding nail jewelry. Neon lines and textured curves are huge this summer for a playful look.
Embrace the chrome trend and the texture trend with these chrome flame nails. Add some edge to your look while manifesting many nights spent beside outdoor fire pits.
The snake trend is a simple DIY with a super cool result. Whether you add snake decals or just stick to embracing snake print, it’s a cool way to give the illusion of texture and add a funky print to a plain color.
A classic for summer. Channel afternoons at the botanical gardens with butterfly details on your nails.
The cowboy and western aesthetic is here to stay. Bring back cow print everything. I’m fully here for it.