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The unbearable heat and humidity in the summertime (especially in NYC) often pushes me to have many make-up free days. This means I put more effort into keeping my nails cute because life (and beauty) is all about balance. Even when I’m not running off to the salon to get dramatically long claws, I’m at home trying out the best nail colors for the summer—bright and bold hues that scream summer is here. Though I’ve nailed achieving the almost perfect at-home manicure, I’m no stranger to bringing my own polish with me when I head to the salon because boring nails are against my religion.
The best part of summer, besides bottomless brunch and day parties, is the opportunity to paint our nails the most vivid hues that we can get our fingers on (pun intended). In efforts to save my money to put towards the activities on my summer bucket list, I’m turning to DIY manicures until further notice. From my experience, the best motivation for getting a picturesque manicure at home is a beautiful polish. However, if you suck at doing your nails, you could always bring your favorite shade to the nail salon with you—we promise your nail lady won’t judge. From on-trend neon greens to signature reds, here are the best summer nail polishes for your next manicure.
KBShimmer Race Against Slime Neon Green Cream Nail Polish
This 5-free polish is as neon as neon green gets. Honestly, you’d be stunned when you see it in real life. The slime-inspired shade glows under a blacklight, so be prepared to awaken the child in you.
$10 at KBShimmer
Gabriel Nail Polish in shade Turks & Caicos
Don’t have time to book a summer vacation? Live vicariously through your nail polish with an instant vacay-ready mani. Your nails will love every second of this non-toxic, 10-free formula.
$8.50 at Gabriel Cosmetics Inc.
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Radiant Arancio
The already iconic Chanel nail varnish has been reformulated to wear longer than ever before. This high-shine metallic orange is the perfect signature nail color for a hot girl summer (although you’ll want to bring it with you into the fall).
$28 at Chanel
OPI Neons Collection in V-I-Pink Passes
Just in case you’ve been living under the radar, we’re here to tell you that neon nails are trending and not going anywhere anytime soon. More importantly, a popping neon pink like this one from OPI needs to be in your collection.
$10.50 at OPI
essie Nail Enamel in Tangoed In Love
This just in—purple neon exists, and your next manicure is the perfect way to incorporate the shade into your summer wardrobe. Wear it matte or throw on a shiny topcoat—the choice is yours.
$9 at essie
Deborah Lippmann in Double Dutch Orange
Take it from us; a bright orange manicure is the best way to brighten up your day. Also, when you purchase this polish made in collaboration with supermodel Lara Stone, the brand donates a portion of the proceeds to charity.
$18 at Deborah Lippmann
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color in Let’s Jam
Vibrant reddish nail color should always be in your arsenal, and this one from Sally Hansen is the perfect addition to your collection. You’ll love how fast this formula dries. You have no more excuses for skipping out on painting your nails this summer.
$3.99 at Target
NCLA Lacquer x Barbie Nail Lacquer in Barbie Dreamhouse
If you ever wished that you could have Barbie’s dream house, you can now manifest it through your next mani with this limited-edition nail polish. Just one question—is there a Ken nail lacquer to help manifest the love of our lives as well? Asking for a friend.
$16 at NCLA Beauty
Jinsoon Nail Polish in Tweety
The shade name alone is enough reason to add this nail polish to your virtual shopping cart. Pastel yellow nails will honestly never go out of style.
$18 at Jinsoon
Flora 1761 Nail Lacquer in Zinnia
Named after the ever so beautiful and sun-loving zinnia flower, this warm red-orange lacquer will transport you to a sunny summer day even in the middle of a rainstorm. Nail luxury has never looked so good.
$16 at Flora 1761
Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Shattered Souls
Metallic nails anyone? Just in case you’re looking to channel aspirational levels of extra with your nails, this glittery gold polish is the perfect summer nail color for you.
$18 at Smith & Cult
OOO Polish in Sunni Ali Ber
Much like many of our favorite early 2000s trends, baby blue-esque nails are back and making a huge statement. Do yourself a favor and grab this shade from OOO Polish so you can stay ahead of the crowd.
$5.50+ at OOO Polish
Floss Gloss Nail Polish in Wet
A bold turquoise nail polish is always at the top of our list for summer nail colors. If summer vacation were packaged and sold, “Wet” would be the product for purchase.
$9 at Floss Gloss
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