While having an eye-catching manicure is a great idea all year round, there’s something about summer that makes you feel more adventurous. Whether it’s embracing ultra-bright colors, fresh new textures, stylish shapes, or daring designs, now’s the time to shake it up. Keep reading to discover fun ways to update your signature style, as well as this season’s most on-trend summer nail design ideas to take your manicure to the next level.
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1. Summer Rainbow Nails
This is the season to go as bright, warm, and tropical as the weather! Create a fruity cocktail of pastel shades – think pink, mint, lilac, yellow, and baby blue. When summer arrives, the rules go out the window, and it’s time to show off your creativity in manicure form. Plus, there are no gloves to hide behind – so your nails can get all the attention they deserve!
2. Summer Peachy Apricot Nails
While summer offers plenty of opportunities to experiment with your nails, one of the biggest trends is a simple look. Peachy apricot tones are a summer staple every year, and it’s easy to see why. This hue is universally flattering on every skin tone. It also goes well with a full spectrum of other colors, from navy to pink and white. It’s feminine and understated while still being playful, and it looks gorgeous paired with gold and rose-gold jewelry – another massive trend for summer.
3. Summer Coffin Nails
The coffin nail shape, also known as ballerina nails, is what it sounds like: lengthy acrylics with a tapered, squared-off edge that looks like a coffin or ballet shoe. This nail shape has a lot of attitude and also gives you plenty of space to play with color, design, and decoration. You can take them to the next level with holographic foiling, ombré coloring, beads, and jewels or nail art. These are the nails you get if you want to make a statement – so it’s not a shock that coffin nails are a favorite of Instagram stars and influencers.
4. Summer Round Nails
For a more understated vibe, the classic round shape is also on-trend for summer. A catwalk favorite, this chic and straightforward nail shape is very versatile. Round nails can attract attention when painted with bold or pastel color; alternatively, they can be the height of sophistication when paired with a nude polish. Natural and low-maintenance, round nails are a great choice if your style is classically elegant or a little androgynous.
5. Summer Square Nails
Square nails are a great choice if you have naturally narrow and flat nail beds; they will make your fingertips look wider. They’re also considered the healthiest nail shape for most people as there’s less risk of nails flaking, catching, or breaking. If you’re opting for long acrylics, squared ends are also a popular style. This is because the squared tip makes the nail look wider, balancing the length of the nails. Experiment with bright natural tones and pastel colors, they are a trendy choice this summer.
6. Summer Almond Nails
Long and tapered to an elegant point, almond nails are a sexy and glamorous shape. They get their name from the shape of the almond nut. A universally flattering style, almond nails make fingers, and nail beds look slimmer and keep your talons quite strong. Because this nail shape requires some length to create, some opt for acrylics to get the almond look. Mix pastel ombre with the block color nails, for the playful and fun summer style.
7. Summer Mountain Peak Nails
One of the lesser-known nail shapes, mountain peaks, has become a big trend in the past few years. Nails are kept to medium length and tapered to a small, fine point. The mountain peak shape follows a similar pattern to stiletto nails, but it doesn’t require the fingernails to be as long. As a result, it’s possible to get this shape with natural nails if yours are healthy and not prone to breakage.
8. Summer Acrylic Nails
Acrylics are the fastest way to get the long nails you’ve always dreamed about. They’re also a simple way to change the shape of your nails, and they don’t require lamp curing like gels. The extra length and on-trend shapes you can get from acrylics are perfect for summer. You’ll need to go to the salon regularly for fills and replacements. This may be more common in summer, as being outdoors and swimming can increase your risk of lifting or breaking the acrylics.
9. Summer Gel Nails
A gel manicure is an easy way to make your nail color and design last. Gel nails are also softer and more flexible than acrylics, so they have a more natural look. If you want to extend the length of your nails but don’t want the upkeep of acrylics, gel is a choice for you. Sticking with the natural theme or bright color palette, gel nails for summer look beautiful paired with all your favorite warm-season outfits. Shake it up with different finishes like matte and gloss, and add cute details like smiley face or stripes. If you get sick of your gel color, you can easily remove it at home. But for the best result, go to a professional for a fresh manicure.
10. Summer Graphic Art Nails
For a standout look this summer, go for graphic nails. To properly show off this artistic look, either grow out your nails or choose acrylics in round, almond, stiletto or square shape. Then, let your creativity shine with contrasting colors, finishes, text and textures. Quotes, logos, messages, and organic shapes are a big trend at the moment, why not try them out this summer?
11. Summer Neon Nails
When it comes to the neon trend, it’s all about choosing the color that’s right for your skin tone. Ultra-bright, acid hues like lime green, electric blue, and yellow pop against deeper skin – in fact, all neons will suit you if you have a very dark complexion. Meanwhile, if you’re on the fairer side, stick to hot pink and purple manicures to make the most of this vibrant trend.
12. Cute Summer Nails
What’s more attractive than floral manicures? This super sweet nail trend is a summertime classic. It’s pretty, playful, and a little bit retro. For a new take on the trend, combine pastel shades with florals on feature nails. This look is very Instagram-worthy, you will be spotting it everywhere this season.
13. Summer Glitter Nails
The most straightforward design to shake up your look for summer is the glitter element. For the most low-maintenance – and time-saving – option, apply glitter topcoat all over nude color nail polish. You can also create unique artwork with glitter polish. This summer, incorporate gold or multi-colored glitter into your nail design for a fun take on this trend. It’s a disco for your hands. If you’re cutting back on plastic, choose a polish with biodegradable glitter particles.
14. Summer Fun Nail Design
Add a playful touch to your manicure with bright colors and unusual designs. Pop hues like orange, blue and pink are an instant mood booster. The key is to complement the tones while creating an eye-catching contrast. It’s also an opportunity to try out different designs all over or just on one feature nail. Experiment with colors and shapes for a fun and fresh summer look.
15. Summer Pastel Nails
When summer’s in the air, the pastel polish comes out! From mint green to butter yellow, pink, and periwinkle blue, there’s an adorable shade to suit everyone. These bright yet muted hues remind you of fresh flowers and ice cream. Paint a different pastel shade on each finger, or choose your favorite and go all out. Another big trend is to create a French tip design with a range of pastels, on a neutral base like nude or white.
16. Summer Color Blocking Nails
For all those glamorous summer nights out, why not try this chic take on the color block trend? Pop colors add a playful touch, while natural tones take this design in an elegant direction. Chevron tips create an arrow effect, drawing the eye down, so both your nail beds and fingers look longer. This type of design also works with other color combinations.
17. Summer French Nails
The classic French tip design combines a nude base with a white edge, usually on square or squared-off oval-shaped nails. This look first became popular in the ”70s and had a big revival in the ‘90s and early 2000s. It has a retro appeal. For an on-trend summer twist, replace the white tip with the color of your choice. Blue pairs well with the original nude basecoat.
18. Summer Floral Nails
Who doesn’t love floral nail design? This ultra-feminine look is perfect for summer when daisies are in full bloom. To make the flowers stand out, use a neutral basecoat in a light hue as if you were painting on canvas. If you don’t have the time – or expertise – to hand-paint floral designs on each nail, you can use decals or stencils. Alternatively, create a floral feature nail on your ring finger.
19. Summer Toe Nails
You can get away with neglecting your toenails in winter, but when the warm weather hits, it’s time to give your feet a treat! Summer is the essential time to have a picture-perfect pedicure because your toes will be on show in sandals, heels, and at the beach. Match your pedicure to your manicure, either in terms of the color, design, or finish.
20. Summer Mixed Nail Designs
Not only should your color choice get more creative in summer, but the season is the perfect opportunity to show off different designs too. You can mix it up by wearing multiple different types on the same hand. For a flattering look, choose the same basic color palette like sunset hues and go for different finishes like ombré mixed with glitter. Geometric shapes also look great when contrasted with polka dots on a feature nail. The only limit is your imagination.
21. 3D Seashell Nails
Bring the sea with you everywhere you go! This nautical manicure is an excellent way to express your creative side and showcase your love for the beach. Find a nail artist specializing in 3D art; this requires a particular technique using gel to help create the rippled effect. Add a small pearl or crystal close to your cuticle for the appearance of a precious find within a clamshell. It’s a great way to channel your inner mermaid for a hot day on the sand or in the water.
22. Pastel Floral Nails
Soft colors are all the rage this season, so why not add them to your nails for a summer twist? This adorable art is perfect for a party, a picnic, or just a cute Instagram photo session. Mix it up by adding different colors on each petal and flipping them around on each finger. Have fun with it by including a small stripe of baby blue, pink, orange, or green along the cuticle – interchange the shades, so they match the petal facing closest to the top. You’ll be getting compliments instantly with nails this cute.
23. Blue Sky with Clouds Nails
This blue sky nail art is a great way to case the sunshine every day. The vibrant shade is an instant pick-me-up for your casual attire, and the fluffy little clouds create depth and a bit of fun to an already gorgeous manicure. Using a small brush and white paint, dot a series of circles sporadically across each fingertip, then add another one directly next to it – make sure it touches the first. Add another two or three until you have something that looks like a cloud. Make them as small or large as you prefer, and space them out across each nail to look as much like the sky as possible.
24. Bright Playful Nails
Summer is all about embracing color and having fun experimenting with your style, so this manicure is the best way to begin. This retro style has been a trend for some time now, and infusing them into your nail art is a great way to mix things up. Make each nail a different color, such as bright pink, blue, purple, and orange – mixing more than one shade in the same swirling pattern will add depth and extra oomph to an already amazing set. Add little daisies or flowers on top in contrasting shades to enhance the playfulness of the design. This is sure to garner plenty of compliments, plus it might inspire others for their next trip to the salon.
25. Classy Summer Nails
For a summer event, such as an outdoor cinema event, boat party, or trip to the Bahamas, there’s nothing quite like a simple and classy manicure. This style is modern and classic all at once, combining the latest trends with something a bit traditional. The universally flattering almond shape elongates the fingers, and the white base color makes your skin look golden and glowing. Using a pearl-finish polish, apply small waves over each nail – this will catch the light and create a multi-dimensional effect that is sure to impress.
26. Colourful Daisies Nail Art
Take a trip through a field of daisies just by looking at your hands. This fresh manicure is full of life and is the perfect choice for summer. Start with a neutral base, such as nude or soft pink. Using a thin brush, paint flowers of varying colors on each nail, spreading them out evenly across the base of each finger. Choose your colors however you wish – popular choices include yellow, purple, pink, and baby blue. When you have finished each petal, complete the look by adding a small yellow dot in the middle, instantly bringing each flower to life!
27. Cute Retro Nails
The last few years have been all about bringing back the patterns that were huge in the ’60s and ’70s. Designs such as checks, stars, swirls, and flames have made a huge comeback but have been infused with a modern twist. On each finger, choose a design that you love – this is a funky way to keep things interesting without deviating from the theme. Instead of sticking to the retro colors – brown, orange, bottle green – mix in modern shades such as fern green, cherry blossom pink, and magenta.
28. Green Summer Nails
Green is a shade that never really goes out of style, making for an excellent choice on your nails this summer. We’ve seen a lot of swirly patterns dominate the last few seasons, and this manicure is no exception. Start with a lighter shade as your base – sage is a great choice as it is universally flattering and matches various outfits and occasions. Once dry, use a small brush to paint a few organic lines down the length of your fingers in a darker shade. Ge creative with the way you design the patterns – have them go in different directions of a more fluid and fun feel.
29. Hot Pink Summer Nails
Channel your Hot Girl Summer with some matching hot pink nails. This season is all about embracing the warmth and feeling energetic, so this manicure is sure to spark the feeling inside. Begin with a neutral base, something clear or nude to create the appearance of longer nails. Then, choose three colors, two pink and one white. Create shapes along each finger in varying directions for a playful touch, and don’t be afraid to make some lines thicker than the others. It looks great with other colors, too, so you can play around with multiple palettes this season.
30. Lightning Nails
The retro trend is certainly back with a vengeance, and if you want to channel your inner Ziggy Stardust, this is the best way to do it. This lightning bolt nail art is edgy and stylish while packing a punch. Add other patterns on the remaining nails, such as small flowers, polka dots, stripes, clouds, or even a French tip. Play around with colors on each finger for a multi-dimensional feel. This looks best with longer nails, so you can paint a larger design on it – try an oval, almond of coffin shape for maximum results.
31. Playful Summer Nails
The eyes have it this season. For a playful spin on your regular go-to manicure, this fun design will turn heads. Avoid painting the base in a color that stands out too much – opt for neutrals, nude, or baby pink. Pick out any colors you love, be it blue, orange, purple, green, pink, or yellow -add them all at once for a more vibrant result. Paint eyes of all shapes and sizes on each nail, and intertwine other shades for the eyelashes, irises, and any other patterns you might enjoy in the negative space.
32. Purple Summer Nails
This manicure feels like ice cream, which is the perfect option for your next summer session in the salon. Purple is a great color for the season, as it’s bright enough for the warm weather and matches a wide range of outfits and occasions. This is similar to the traditional French manicure but uses more than one shade to create the pattern – add a small white line as a melting effect towards one side of each finger to look perfect for the hot day ahead.
33. Short Summer Nails
Having cute nails doesn’t always mean having long nails – you can create pretty designs on nails of shorter lengths, too. This fun approach to the classic French manicure takes the traditional elements and puts a summer spin on them. Instead of traditional white, swap it out for pastel pink, blue, purple, and yellow – make the tips a different shade on each finger. Add a couple of daisies on each nail bed for a playful touch, or just leave it for a feature nail if you want a more simple look.
34. Simple Summer Nails
Sometimes the most simple looks have the biggest impact, and this manicure is no exception. With only five colors, you can make a serious statement. Choose five colors from the rainbow, opting for their pastel alternative for a softer feel, and paint one color on each finger. You don’t have to stick to the traditional outlay of the rainbow – swap them out how you feel and express yourself! This is a great option for a multitude of different lengths and shapes, but the most universally flattering style is squoval or almond – it lengthens your fingers and shows off more of those gorgeous nails.
35. Strawberry Art with French Manicure
Strawberries are a summer favorite and for a good reason. From Harry Styles’ summer jams to that famous dress that took the internet by storm, this is a great pattern to emulate when seeking nail art inspiration. Start with a classic French manicure, and use a tiny brush and red paint to outline the shape of the fruit. Fill it in with the color, and add the green leaves to the top. Finally, place a few tiny white dots on the strawberries for the finishing touch.
36. Summer Blue Nails
No matter the season, blue nails are always a great idea. This season, mix it up by combining two shades – one darker and one lighter – into an organic blend of swirls. What appears as water flowing through your fingers is a great choice for hot weather, instantly transporting you to the serene feeling of the sea. You can even make this pattern a feature nail if you’re short on time – sticking to one of the primary shades for maximum impact.
37. Summer Butterfly Nails
What says summer better than a series of delicate butterflies dusted across your nails? This manicure is delicate and dainty and looks incredible for any occasion. Choose a soft shade of blue or periwinkle for your base, and leave two nails as French manicures using that same color. Rather than painting the winged beauties individually, which would take hours, find stickers that contain similar colors and place them across the fingertips. To give the effect of them flying, switch up the direction each one is facing. Add some glitter or crystals to the cuticles for a touch of sparkle.
38. Summer Coral Nails
Coral is a summer staple and is a great color for a manicure. If you prefer simple nail designs, this is the best option for you. The beauty behind this simple manicure is its effectiveness in elongating the fingers and enhancing your summer glow. No matter how long or short you wish to wear this style, it matches everyone’s skin tone and looks great with myriad outfits. It’s also a great base hue for a more elaborate design if you wish to add something later.
39. Summer Dip Nails
Pastels are a summer favorite, and dip nails are a safer and healthier alternative for your manicure. Instead of gels with harsh lights or acrylics, dip powders give the same secure effect as other methods without damaging your nail bed as much. You can do a lot with these powders, too, such as ombre, glitter, or just plain. Choose your favorite shade – this season, it’s all about different purple tones such as lilac, lavender, heather, and periwinkle.
40. Summer Neon Green Nails
Every season neon comes back differently. This season, we’re putting it on our nails. It’s an excellent option if you love highlighting a certain color in your outfits – nothing says summer like bright green! Get this look with a neutral base, and add the vibrant shade with a fine brush in organic swirls across the lengths of the nails. Try different designs for each finger to give the manicure a more abstract and complex feel.
41. Summer Ombre Nails
The French manicure has been tried and tested, but the ombre nails alternative is a crowd favorite for so many reasons. This upgraded version of the classic is a go-to for those who love minimal and timeless designs, but still want to elevate their outfits. This nail art works best for those with longer nails, as you can fit more of the gradual color, but it also works well for those with shorter lengths. The most common way to achieve this look is with dip powder – use a brush to softly dust the white from the middle of your finger down to the end, applying more to the tips for maximum impact.
42. Summer Orange Nails
Quench your thirst for summer by adding some juicy oranges to your manicure. There’s much more to this manicure than first appears – it may look like polka dots, but it’s actually a fruit bowl of oranges across your nails. Most manicures like this require a neutral or nude base to help the pattern pop. Using a dotting tool, apply small orange circles all over your nail beds, and then paint tiny leaves on the top of them with a tiny nail brush. This demands gentle application, so attention to detail and a steady hand are required.
43. Summer Peach Nails
Make a statement this summer with peachy nails. Whether you love the color or the fruit (or both), this manicure is a great option for those long, hot days. Start with a minimal application of the peachy color on four of your five fingers, leaving one in a neutral or nude shade. Paint the fruit all over the ring finger, using the same shade as the rest of your hand. This is sure to garner a compliment or two – trust us!
44. Summer Press On Nails
For the time-sensitive or those who can’t make it to a salon, press-on nails are the perfect alternative! These nails are super easy to apply and look so fabulous for an event or Instagram photoshoot. You can find a wide range of patterns and colors available, such as these floral beauties. Make sure you begin with clean and dry fingers for the best application technique. Select the sizes that best suit your natural shape, and apply them using the provided tack or glue. Shape them to your preferred style and length, and watch as your fingers become the main attraction to your outfit. They usually last for one or two weeks, depending on your activities while wearing them.
45. Summer Shellac Nails
Make your nails the focal point of an outfit! This Shellac design is super cute and looks great with a wide variety of ensembles. Plus, it’s created using shellac polish, which is considered one of the safer options for your nails. In fact, it can actually prevent a lot of damage to your natural nail when it’s time to remove them, and they also last longer than your traditional manicure – bonus! Opt for a natural base color when recreating this look, then choose a different shade on each finger. Applying a little bit of color in sections looks like a cracked Easter egg and provides an artistic feel to an already interesting design.
46. Summer Smiley Face Nails
This season is all about having fun and being with your loved ones, so why not show off your joy on your nails? This nail design appears simple, with only a few colors that make a real statement. Choose the shades you prefer – popular choices include pink, blue, and green – then add small circles all over your nails, spreading them out evenly. Once dry, use a small brush to paint two dots and a smiley line to form a friendly face. If you’re a novice at nail art, this is a great place to start.
47. Summer SNS Nails
SNS is one of the most popular options for manicures, as they’re considered far safer tan acrylics with similar results. With nutrients in its ingredients to strengthen the nail bed, they can actually make them feel stronger and more resilient. If that’s not enough, they also last longer than your typical acrylic and don’t need to be refilled for at least three weeks. When choosing a summer shade, opt for something bright and fun, such as yellow, green, or blue. You can wear any length or shape with this dip powder, too, but the most popular choices are almond or squoval.
48. Summer Sunflower Nails
Sunflowers always face themselves towards the light, and you can do the same with this beautiful manicure. This feminine design is sure to garner several compliments and is easy to replicate. Start with two of your favorite colors – yellow and pink are common choices. Paint two or three of your fingers one shade, and leave two the other. On the pink or neutral nail, paint the flower emerging from one side and finishing in the middle.
49. Summer Yellow Nails
These nails will certainly cause a stir on Instagram! This trendy and fresh take on summer nails is the perfect option for your next salon session and looks great for any occasion. Interchanging the traditional French manicure with a delicate floral design perfectly blends the modern and classic designs. Choose the shades of yellow you prefer, such as lemon, pineapple, and canary – mix them with white for maximum impact and a multi-dimensional look.
50. White Hearts and Flames Nails
Edgy and sophisticated rolled into one, these white flame nails are an excellent option for your summer get-up. Unlike traditional fire-inspired manicures, this one also resembles a heart, giving it a softer edge than what you see initially. As an alternative to a French manicure, you can use the same base color of neutral and the crisp white paint to formulate the look. Begin by painting upwards from the bottom half of your nail towards your cuticle. This process requires a steady hand, so it’s best if you turn to a professional to get the best results here. Change the colors around if you wish, or leave it as it is for a seriously cool interpretation of the art.
Summer Nail Designs FAQs
What is the most popular nail style?
The most popular nail styles are coffin/ballerina nails, round, square, oval, almond, squoval, and stiletto.
What nail shape is in for 2022?
The top nail shapes which are trending in 2022 are almond and coffin/ballerina. These nail shapes are popular amongst celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian.
How do I choose my nail shape?
Take into consideration your finger shape, nail bed width, and nail length to find your ideal nail shape. If you keep your nails short, choose between square and round shapes. If you have medium or long nails, oval, almond, and coffin shapes will suit you best.
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