Watercolors, Pearls, and More Summer Nail-Art Ideas

Watercolors, Pearls, and More Summer Nail-Art Ideas

Getty | Daniel ZuchnikGetty | Daniel Zuchnik

Kids may look forward to summer because it means no school and lots of time off, but we look forward to summer because it means we can finally dig out the summer nail ideas we’ve been saving over the last few months and get started crossing looks off of our bucket list. Cherry manicures? “Digital lavender” hues? Watercolor designs? Check, check, and check.

We love each season and the many beauty trends they bring, but there’s something about the warm weather and the summer nail designs that come with it that just make us feel good. The nail-polish shades get brighter; the designs, more creative — supplying us with the best of the best ideas. And something tells us this year is going to be better than ever.

“I love that everyone has been thinking outside the box in terms of inspiration,” Tammy Taylor, celebrity manicurist and brand founder, tells PS. “Inspiration can come from anywhere: summer clothing, the beach, festivals, makeup, summer holidays, and the list goes on.”

So, what summer nail-art designs should you save for your next salon appointment? Keep reading to find out, as some of the industry’s top makeup artists share their favorite ideas for inspiration.

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Classic French Manicure

One of our favorite easy summer nail designs is the classic french manicure. You can customize the look by adding additional nail art and tweaking the colors you use on each finger.

Pearl Nails

Pearl nails just scream summer. The nail-art design will make you look like a mermaid and have everyone asking where you got them done.

Y2K Embellished Manicures

Trends from the early 2000s have made their way back into every area of our lives — nails included. “Nineties and early 2000s beauty will always be a favorite era for me, and its resurgence has influenced the length of nails and designs,” says celebrity manicurist Leanne Woodley. Embellishments like crystals and charms have “always been trendy, but there is something about summer that makes these elements so much more amazing.”

Chrome Nails

Chrome nails have popped up on a handful of celebrities at recent red carpet events. The nail design is coming back in a big way, but for summer, you’ll want to put a twist on them. “Instead of chroming the entire nail, I’ve been seeing accents of chrome throughout nail art and absolutely love it,” Taylor says. “I think it adds the finishing touch to any nail design.”

Woodley agrees: “Chrome abstract details will have their time this summer and through the rest of the year.”

Color-Blocking French Manicures

The classic french manicure trend has been spun into countless other designs, but Taylor sees colorblocking french manicures taking over this summer. “Instead of doing the traditional pink and white, use pink and a bright color [for the] edge,” she says. “Or, mix and match your favorite colors in a colorful french style.”

Flower Nails

The ’90s and 2000s aren’t the only decades we’ll be pulling inspiration from this summer. “I think bright, ’70s, groovy-inspired prints heavily influence summer nail art,” says Woodley. “Flower power is forever, and for sure always, a great summer design.”

There are countless different ways you can go with floral nails, but if you’re looking for easy summer nail-art ideas, you’re bound to find something that fits your style.

3D Nails

Woodley first called that 3D nail art would be a huge trend starting in 2021, and she was right. However, there’s no sign that that’s changing anytime soon. “3D nail art is here to stay for a while, but with a multicolored aesthetic,” she says. These pop-out designs take abstract manicures to a whole new level.

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Deconstructed French Manicures

Another twist on the traditional french manicure to try this summer is the “deconstructed french,” which sees abstract, blob-like colors on the tips of the nails instead of a smooth stroke of color. “The entire look is more free flowing and follows more of that abstract trend that’s still going strong,” says Brittney Boyce, celebrity nail artist and founder of Nails of LA. “But it’s more minimal compared to a swirly abstract look.”

Abstract Nail Designs

Nail art is always better when you use your imagination to come up with abstract designs. “Fun and funky patterns have been trending and are here to stay for a while,” Taylor says. Try swirls, orbs, blobs, and line work “using your favorite color scheme.”

Watercolor Nails

Everything about watercolor nails just screams summer — from the bright color palette to the light and airy diffused finish. Celebrity manicurist Kim Truong previously told POPSUGAR, “These nails were created using an actual airbrush machine to blend the various colors together seamlessly.”

Cherry Nails

If you’re looking for super cute summer nail designs, try cherry nails. It’s already proven to be a favorite of celebrities like Saweetie and Kourtney Kardashian. The manicure design is equal parts nostalgic and cutesy, and it offers lots of versatility in terms of overall look.

"Digital Lavender" Nails

For a simple summer nail design, try “digital lavender,” the new neutral. Celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec previously told POPSUGAR that the shade is “cooler-toned and a bit more muted” than your classic lavender and makes for a great understated yet still fun manicure.

Jessica Harrington is the senior beauty editor at POPSUGAR, where she writes about hair, makeup, skin care, piercings, tattoos, and more. As a New York City-based writer and editor with a degree in journalism and over eight years of industry experience, she loves to interview industry experts, keep up with the latest trends, and test new products.


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