Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (2024)

Is it just me, or is the best part of a new season the excuse to switch up your nail colors? Nothing makes me feel excited for warmer days ahead like scoping out some new summer nail designs. Because unlike winter nail art, which spends most of the time hidden away and shivering under gloves and layers, summer nail trends are just a whole different vibe—I mean, does anything beat a bright neon mani wrapped around a frozen marg?

So to get you in the summery spirit, I found a ton of Insta-worthy summer nail designs that you’ll want to try ASAP. And trust me, whether you like super detailed nail art or an easy-peasy, under-10-minutes manicure, there’s inspo for you here. Ahead, the 33 prettiest summer nail ideas.

Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (1)

1. Silver nails for summer

This silver-dotted manicure is giving major party vibes, perfect for summer. Dip a nail dotting tool in silver nail polish and place dots all over each nail to recreate the look. Or to make it even easier, pick up a pack of nail stickers and just peel and stick ‘em on your nail.

Your at-home mani kit:

Nail clippers

Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (3)

Revlon Nail Clipper

Nail files

Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (4)

Revlon File On Nail Shaper

Nail polish

Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (5)

OPI Infinite Shine Long-Wear Nail Polish

Top coat

Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (6)

Ella + Mila In a Rush Quick-Dry Top Coat

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2. Smiley face summer nail art

How fun is this smiley face nail art for summer? This is another one that’ll be easiest with nail stickers (unless you’re, like, really in the mood to paint little yellow smileys on each finger—which, more power to you).

3. This cloud summer nail idea

What better idea to pair with your cloud makeup than this cloud nail design? NGL, it’s not the easiest nail design to recreate, but if you feel up to the task, I suggest watching a few tutorials first.

4. Berry red summer nails

The best part of red nail polish? There’s a shade for every season, like this berry red shade. It’s equally cute with a full glam makeup look and outfit as it is by itself.

5. This heart nail design for summer

Did you think hearts were just for Valentine’s Day nails? Think again. This combo of light and dark pinks are bright and fun enough to be a great summer nail idea, too.

6. Wavy nail art for summer

Colorful waves are my favorite trend right now, and this graphic detail is just so cool. You’ll def need some skinny nail brushes to ~nail~ that detailing. Need some suggestions? Try the Doublemoss Arte Brushes (which nail artist Betina Goldstein used here), or the Olive & June Nail Art Brush Set.

7. This black and silver nail idea for summer

If you're not into bright colors, opt for a simple black and silver nail design for summer like this pic. The 3D look is a bit ambitious, I’ll admit, so try a simpler method: Paint a black nail polish base, then once it’s dry (and I mean dry—no shortcuts here), paint a few small circles with silver nail polish on top.

8. This cherry nail design

Brb, planning all the ways I’m going to pose my set of cherry nails for my Insta story (around my water bottle? Against my face? Suggestions welcome). You’ll want to make sure you have a bright red nail polish, a green nail polish, and a light pink base color for this summer nail idea.

9. This cuticle nail art for summer

If you’re a minimalist but still want a touch of color on your mani, this cuticle nail art is a happy medium. All you need is a nail art brush and some of your favorite bright colors to paint some half-moons against your cuticle beds. The best part about this look is that because the color doesn’t touch the edges of your nails, you won’t see much chipping.

10. Contemporary French tips

This summer nail idea is giving me “on my way to get a promotion” vibes. Paint a white stripe diagonally down the side of your nail from the halfway point towards the tip, and once it’s dry, repeat on the other side with black nail polish, making sure to overlap the white polish at the tip.

11. Gradient summer nails

A great way to give your manicure some ~personality~ without adding two many colors is by picking one color family and creating a gradient look like nail artist Mimi did here. It’s also a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to mess around with nail art.

12. This minimalist summer nail design

Looking for a super minimalist nail set for summer? You’re lookin’ at it. Dip a thin nail brush into white nail polish and swipe it across your nail and up and down for this grid pattern on just a couple fingers. Leave your other nails blank for a clean look.

13. Butterfly summer nails

I mean, do I even need to explain why butterfly nails are a cute nail design for summer? But let’s be honest, most of us can’t hand paint a full butterfly on our nails, so definitely grab a sheet of butterfly nail stickers ahead of time. Once you stick them down, coat your nails with a glossy top coat to soften the sticker edges and keep them from lifting.

14. These summery pastel nails

While pastels are mostly known for their spring nail or Easter nail vibes, I’m also a big fan of them for summer. You don’t even need a whole spectrum of colors—just pick three and mimic this pattern: Paint one color on your thumb, index, and pinky fingers, then paint two accent colors on your middle and ring fingers.

15. This fruity summer nail design

Come for the summery fruit nail art, and stay for the classic French manicure underneath in this summer nail idea. My advice for painting the lil fruities? Practice them on a piece of tin foil with a thin nail art brush first to get the hang of it before taking it to your nail. Then pls DM me a pic of your final work.

16. Summery rainbow dots

Not only does this rainbow dot nail art make a great summer mani, it also fits in perfectly for pride nails. And it takes very little time to recreate (remember when I promised you easy nail ideas? This is one of them). What you’ll need: A nail dotter tool and every nail polish color in the rainbow (or scrap the rainbow idea and just use what you have). Then dot each color in a row down the center of your nail and seal with a top coat.

17. Mixed pattern nail art for summer

Want to add some variety to your regular French mani look? Add a totally different pattern to your middle and index finger, like nail artist Melanie did here (with the Sally Hansen Insta Dri x Peeps Nail Polish Duo, btw). It’s basically power-clashing, but for your nails.

18. This neon summer nail design

We can’t talk about summer nail ideas without talking about neon nail polish. It’s just as fun during the day as it is going out at night (wait, is that…still a thing?). Paint your full nails neon for a vibrant result or just stick to the tips, like nail artist Nia Ho did.

19. This checkered summer nail art

There's a reason you keep seeing this checkered print all over your IG feed: It's the prettiest combination of subtle and bold and it translates to the perfect summer nail art. Go for classic black like this design, or switch things up with a splash of pink or red nail polish.

20. This blue flame summer nail idea

Turn your classic flame mani into a cute design for summer by going for lighter, brighter nail polish colors (like this turquoise blue). P.S. Clean, round nails are a great way to show off this nail art.

21. This statement summer nail design

Not sure you want to go full throttle with your summer nail design? Go for a neutral base (like white nail polish or light pink polish) and paint two accent nails on either hand. This pink heart design is definitely on my list.

22. This butterfly nail design

Of course Dua Lipa would wear the coolest nail design from celeb nail artist Chaun Legend. Channel the singer's butterfly vibe this summer with a few nail decals and some acrylics.

23. This rainbow nail art

Can’t decide on a single color scheme for your summer 2021 nail art? Mix and match your polish on each nail until you’re left with a bold rainbow manicure like this one.

24. This cow-print nail design for summer

There’s a reason you keep seeing cow-print nail art on your Insta feed. It’s neutral enough to wear for weeks on end (like, who would get sick of black and white?) and since it doesn’t require any clean or sharp lines, it’s fairly easy to DIY too. BRB while I recreate this super-creative approach from Alicia Torello.

25. This star nail art idea

The best thing about this summer nail design is that it’s suuuper easy to recreate. All you’ll need is a light pink nail polish, a shiny top coat, and a pack of nail art stickers. Prepare for everyone to think you got your mani professionally done.

26. This yellow French manicure for summer

You already know the French mani is having a ~moment~ right now, so why not jump on board with this cute yellow design for summer? The key to recreating this look is choosing the right yellow nail polishyou want something brighter than a pastel but not quite neon.

27. This picnic nail idea for summer

Give your nails the picnic-blanket treatment with a bold red-and-white checkered pattern. The key to this nail art? A thin striper brush to make sure the edge of each square is super sharp.

28. This fruit nail design

Basically all your favorite fruits are in season during summer—so what better way to show them love than by painting them all over your nails? Reminder: If nail art isn’t really your thing, you can def get away with using a few stickers here.

29. This paint splatter nail art for summer

These multicolored paint splatters make the perfect summertime mani, thanks to the bright colors and super-easy application. Pick your favorite shades, simply dot the polish onto your nails, and finish the look off with a clear top coat.

30. This summer floral nail design

You can’t go wrong with floral decals for summer. Start by drawing pastel florals on top of a bold pink nail by dotting on each petal, filling it in with polish, and finishing it off with a different color in the center.

31. This colorful summer nail idea

Don’t feel like you need to stick with basics and nudes this summer. Instead, opt for an OTT rainbow look like this one. To copy it, paint your nails like you would a French manicure, but instead of white tips, swap them out for colorful free edges.

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Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (37)

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Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (39)

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Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (40)

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32. This abstract nail design for summer

An abstract tropical print like this is so spot on for summer. Between the vibrant leaves and the bold colors, this manicure pretty much looks like a Hawaiian shirt.

33. This tie-dye summer nail design

Tie-dye prints are basically synonymous with summer, and these teal, pink, and yellow swirls will definitely pop on each of your nails. Just make sure you bring the whole look together with a shiny top coat.

Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (43)

Sami Roberts

Sami Roberts was the previous beauty assistant at Cosmopolitan. Keep up with her cat-filled life in New York on Instagram.

Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (44)

Ruby Buddemeyer

Ruby was the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covered beauty across print and digital. Her work has appeared on The Zoe Report, Fashionista, and StyleCaster. Follow her on Instagram.

Presenting: The Cutest Summer Nail Ideas to Try This Year (2024)


What nail color is best for summer? ›

10 Summer Nail Colours That Are Smoking Hot
  • Jelly coded. With their bright shades and translucent finish, jelly colours are some of the most fun manis options for this summer. ...
  • Vintage green. ...
  • Tomato red. ...
  • Latte beige. ...
  • Off-white. ...
  • Yellow taxi. ...
  • Fiery orange. ...
  • Capri blue.
3 days ago

What is the nail color for 2024? ›

Primary Colors

Bright, saturated shades will have their place in 2024, each with a pop-art infusion that makes the palette feel fresh. Goldstein expects a want of bold primary colors like cobalt blue, mustard yellow, and scarlet red, while Choi predicts vibrant wildflower hues like fuchsias and oranges.

What's a good nail color for August? ›

If you're a sucker for hot, summery colors, consider sticking to shades of pink and orange. To make it easy on yourself, opt for an airbrushed sunset effect.

What is the rich girl nail trend? ›

A twist on the classic nude nail look, the rich girl manicure features neutral polish in a slightly unexpected way, whether it's a sheer coat of color, a mega glossy finish, a milky ombré effect, or something in between.

What nail color is on trend right now? ›

Vibrant Neons: Neon nail polish shades are all the rage in 2024. These bold and eye-catching colors add a pop of excitement to any manicure, making them a favorite choice for those who want to make a statement with their nails. Pastel Hues: Soft and delicate pastel nail polish colors are also trending this year.

Should nails and toes match? ›

Should toe nails be painted the same color as your hands? If you like everything to match, then sure. It's quite common to have different colors on toes and fingers, or even multiple colors on both.

What is the most attractive nail color? ›

In a representative survey, the German Paint Institute found that men generally likeblue , but also likegray , black and brown . Both sexes like green about equally, while women are more likely to like red ,yellow ,beige and orange .

What two nail colors look good together? ›

Nail Colors that Go Together
  • Red, White and Blue. Pick a sparkly blue for the majority of your nails. ...
  • Mauve and Pink. This combo is not too surprising, but go with a sparkling or glittery mauve. ...
  • Berry Gold. A deep berry color is always classy and interesting. ...
  • Minty Orange. ...
  • Neon and Nude. ...
  • The Blues.
Jan 31, 2017

What nail colors age you? ›

Dark polishes, particularly stark black, run the risk of making mature hands appear less youthful, especially when it comes to cool-toned shades like deep navy, bluish reds, and wine purples. These exacerbate any skin dullness or dark spots caused by sun damage that you might be worried about.

What nail color is popular in summer 2024? ›

Summer 2024 Nail Trend: Metallic Jelly Nails

“These clear and often multicolor-shifting shades give a beam-like shine in popular purples and blues,” she says. Try sandwiching a chrome or metallic nail polish with a jelly polish to achieve that sheer look with lots of shimmer and shine.

What is the quiet luxury nail trend? ›

TikTok's latest 'stone nails' are the quiet-luxury manicure to try this spring. Alix Earle is a fan. Spring nail colors usually call to mind pastels like lilac, baby pink, and light yellow.

What are the best beachy nail colors? ›

Opt for neutral shades like nude, beige, or soft pastels for a refined and polished look. Consider adding subtle nail art accents, such as delicate white or gold details, for a touch of luxury. Embrace simplicity and let your nails showcase your graceful style as you indulge in the beauty of the beach.

What color should I paint my toenails for summer? ›

Beige and Neon. "Beiges and neons are the biggest trends for summer, and they were all over the runways," said celebrity manicurist Ashlie Johnson. "I've been loving an opaque shade on the hands paired with an amazing fluorescent tone on the toes."

What is a floating French manicure? ›

The floating french, created by nail artist Tracey Lee, takes elements of a traditional french manicure — the stripe of white, for instance — but instead of the stripe running horizontally along the tips, it runs vertical along the nail, from the cuticle all the way to the end of the nail.

What is the trend in nails for 2024? ›

Sheer Nail Colors for 2024

In a sea of opaque-chrome manicures and neon shades, a sheer, rosy pink has a fashionable edge (hence why it was the go-to shade at Michael Kors spring/summer 2024 show by nail artist Jin Soon Choi).

What is the most attractive nail? ›

Red nails are often seen as a symbol of confidence and boldness, and they can be incredibly attractive to many guys. Whether it's a classic, deep red or a vibrant, eye-catching crimson, red nail polish is a safe bet when you want to make a strong impression.

What is the nail trend in spring 2024? ›

Spring 2024's Coolest Nail Trends Include Square Tips, Subtle Shimmer, and Bows. Mix and match is also still going strong. Sophie is a beauty news writer for Byrdie.

What is the new nail technique better than gel? ›

Polygel nails are stronger than gel nails and more flexible than acrylic nails, which makes them less likely to chip or break. “If someone is hard on their hands, it bounces back more easily instead of cracking,” says Kandalec.

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