9 Seasonally On-Point Summer Nail Art Ideas From Top Experts

9 Seasonally On-Point Summer Nail Art Ideas From Top Experts
Photo: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

As warm weather starts to creep in, you’re probably more than ready to replace winter’s dark and moody palette with something brighter. And while this may include transforming your makeup with carefree romantic tones, it could also mean elevating your summer nail art game. In other words, now is the time to bring bold color and texture to the forefront.

To highlight the best nail art of the upcoming season, we tapped four nail pros to break down nine ideas that will definitely keep your onlookers guessing. From cheery tropical designs to cow prints fit for any trendsetter, read on to reveal your next signature summer nail look, whether you go the DIY route, order a set of press-ons, or *gasp*, snag a salon appointment.

1. Tropical Designs

Celebrity nail artist Elle says tropical designs will be prevalent in the nail art space this season, as she explains they are great transition looks that will carry us over until the fall. And since you can incorporate cream pastels into any tropical nail art look, she adds that it’s a great way to honor those summertime tones we all know and love.

“It’s lightening up for the season, and this design definitely speaks to the spring and summer months on the way,” Elle tells StyleCaster. “I love the tropical vibe of the design, and that its pastels are neutral, but still add a necessary pop of color.”

LeChat Nails Dare to Wear Madras Polish

LeChat Nails.

2. Lilac Tones

Lilac is always a great color choice for spring, according to Elle, especially if you can find a tone that can read purple or pink. “The small details pair well with the chosen shade (florals with lilac),” she says. “I like that the design is subtle and complementary without being too bright and bold.”

And while lilac makes a statement on longer nails, it can also be worn office-to-evening on a shorter nail, making it a versatile color for all lengths to appreciate.

LeChat Perfect Match Mystic Lilac Polish

LeChat Nails.

3. Color Wash Nails

If you love your nail looks bright and bold, Elle suggests trying your hand at this fun look, as she says it tells a colorful story filled with bright pops of neon.

“This is a color wash trend—great for when you can’t decide on just one color, but still want to tell a story,” she says. “It’s all about blending colors (especially brighter tones!) that contrast, but still blend well together.”

However, Elle warns against choosing colors that look too similar, otherwise, you won’t get that desired contrasting effect. Doing so, she adds, will mute the look and make it appear more subtle.

essie Turquoise and Caicos Polish


4. Multi-Chrome Nails

Celebrity nail pro Tracylee Percival says this nail look will continue to dominate through the summer months as a great way to play with shades found within the same color family.

“This trend will continue through spring, as we all seem to love the shade-shifting effects of multi-chrome nail color,” she explains. “It’s also an easy way to create a modern-day galaxy nail look.”

Sally Hansen Sundown Socialiate Polish

Sally Hansen.

5. Cow Print Nails

Last season may have brought tortoise and leopard-inspired prints to the forefront, but Percival implies that animal prints will take a cue from cows this year.

“The last two seasons, we saw a hell of a lot of tortoise and leopard prints, but this season it’s all about the moo,” she tells StyleCaster.

China Glaze White on White Polish

China Glaze.

6. Glass Nails With Monochromatic Hues

Glass nails may have taken off late last year, but nail artist Jaree Vinson says that the coming summer season will give this cool-girl trend a much needed monochromatic revamp.

“A crystal clear base, paired with pops of colors within the same shade family, is the perfect combination for anyone that loves a really clean, yet neutral look,” she says. “I specifically love to create a peek-a-boo effect at the very tip of each nail; this allows the clear base to peek through and become a part of the design.”

Sally Hansen I-Rush Luck Polish

Sally Hansen.

7. French Tips With A Twist

If you are growing tired of a traditional French manicure, celebrity manicurist Naomi Gonzalez-Longstaff suggests switching things up by placing fun pops of color at the tips. Doing so, she explains prevents #nailboredom, and keeps your nail look ready for summer.

“Have fun creating an updated French manicure by using non-traditional colors (soft pastels and pops of bright neon color included ) in place of white tips,” she suggests. “You can also try mixing two complementary colors for the base of the nail and the tip.”

Kiss Le French Pop Impress Nails Rebecca Minkoff


8. Pressed Flowers

Accent nails also receive a refreshing twist this spring, as Gonzalez-Longstaff explains that the emergence of pressed flowers will send bejeweled and bedazzled accent nails packing.

“Pressed flowers appear delicate and fresh, very reminiscent of spring,” she says. “This look may be a little harder to achieve on your own, but doable if you press a flower or stem into the wet polish, and adhere with a top coat.”

essie ballet slippers


9. Color Blocking

Taking a cue from streetwear looks, Gonzalez-Longstaff says color-blocked nails will also take center stage this summer, as they combine vibrant and classic tones together to create unique designs worthy for Instagram.

And aside from its eye-catching appeal, she adds that it’s also a pretty easy look to achieve at home, especially since it requires only a striping brush (for the thinner lines) and an eye for color.

“One of my favorite spring nail looks is crisp clean color blocking,” she says. “Use your favorite palettes with bright pops of color that allow you the freedom to create combinations as unique as your personalities.”

Ella Mila Kiss Kiss Polish

Ella + Mila.

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