The intensified sunshine and inevitable sweatiness of summer may call for a lighter hand with foundation or a simple gloss instead of matte lips. A mainstay in our beauty routines, however, is nail polish. Summer nail colors are always fun to play around with. In fact, these warm-weather months might just lead to the best, brightest, and boldest nail art looks you try all year.
Sure, you may not reach for the same shades you used during the fall equinox or when prepping for a holiday party, but summer inspires just as many colorful nail ideas as the rest of the calendar. If you’re looking for suggestions for your new favorite summertime nail lacquer, we’ve got the latest, greatest, and prettiest polish shades rounded up below.
Meet the experts:
- Hang Nguyen is a nail artist with Nailing Hollywood in Los Angeles.
- Galdina Jimenez is a nail artist and OPI education manager based in Oceanside, CA.
- Hemi Park is a nail artist and a LeChat Nails brand educator based in Los Angeles.
In this story:
1. Bubblegum Pink
You know the saying: April showers bring bubblegum pink manicures (or something like that). Now that the dreary weather has cleared up, it’s time for a pick-me-up. If a scoop of strawberry ice cream is how you celebrate the summer solstice, Zoya in Jodi is the perfect creamy hit of sweetness. If you want to up the ante a bit more, Deborah Lippman in Love Sensation has a touch of holographic shimmer.
2. Sunny Yellow
We can picture it now: A picnic in the park, gingham everywhere, and a sunny manicure to match an icy-cold glass of lemonade. Manicurist Galdina Jimenez predicts we’ll see cheery yellow manicures everywhere this summer, but picking the right hue is key.
A pastel like Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Ovni will stand out on medium to dark skin tones. Lighter skin tones might want a bit more saturation, like that of the banana-colored Static Nails Liquid Glass Lacquer in On the Bright Side.
Not quite coral, and not quite orange, apricot is a sophisticated manicure middle ground that would look perfect on short, no-fuss natural nails. If your summer plans include sailing off of the coast of Nantucket, Gucci Glossy Nail Polish in Peggy Sunburn is the perfect preppy peach. If you’re spending summer in the city, we like a cheeky, sugared apricot like OPI Nail Lacquer in Sanding in Stilettos.
If Malibu Barbie slipped on her pink espadrilles and drove her pink Jeep Wrangler to the nail salon (top down, of course) this is the manicure she’d get: classic Mattel magenta. Essie in Swoon in the Lagoon is a pitch perfect hue for the Barbiecore trend and would look super sleek on almond-shaped nails (Barbie’s favorite). If you want something a little less on-the-nose, Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer in Desir is a deeper, more sultry alternative.
5. Summer Sand
Picture yourself sitting under a palm tree on a Caribbean beach with warm turquoise water beneath your feet and a coconut cocktail in hand. To capture that experience in a manicure, you’ll want an off-white to match the fine, white sand on the beach (you know, the kind that squeaks when you walk through it).