This Summer's Must-Have Nail Colors & Trends

Summer's officially in full swing, which means it's time for your deep polishes to hibernate. But with millions of shades out there, how can you possibly know what to swap your trusty burgundy out for? We've made it easy, highlighting this season's hottest hues and providing the perfect Pinspiration for your next nail look. 

Nail Colors


If you're trying to look tan without exposing yourself to harmful rays, orange should be your go-to color this summer. In tons of brilliantly bright shades, from coral to the trending papaya, you'll be sure to find a shade that's right for you. And if you're struggling to choose, Essie's Clambake ($8.50, Macy's) is hard to beat and named oh-so-appropriately for summer! Just steer clear of duskier oranges, which are more fitted for Fall.

Anything Sheer

Sheer is extremely on-trend this summer; they also look great coated on top of another color. Red and orange sheers are in, and look stunning as an overcoat to another summery shade—especially if you're looking to achieve a personalized nail color or an ombré effect. They also work great for nail art, as you can overlap sheer shades to your heart's content. The best pick this summer? Dior's Tie Dye Top Coat ($28, Lord & Taylor), which looks amazing paired with Dior's newest colors this season, Sunkissed and Sunwashed ($27 each, Lord & Taylor). Both are part of the the newest generation of Dior Vernis polishes, which belong to the 2015 Tie Dye Summer Collection


We see minty greens year after year, and we're definitely not surprised. They're impossibly chic and practically a summer neutral, working incredibly well with your glowing tan. This summer, go greener, picking shades that aren't as modest or soft for an update on the classic color. Essie's First Timer ($8.50, Nordstrom) paints on bright for a seamfoamy shade that is sure to become your newest summer nail staple.


We're talking purples that are nearly neon. Your winter plums and eggplants should be stored away in favor of a pop of electric and energized color. Try Dance Baby, Sweet Hook, or Rich and Famous, all by China Glaze ($6.99 at Sally Beauty Supply).

Nail Art


Fresh fruit is the highlight of our summer—who can pass up a slice of lime in their drink or an amazing fruit salad for dessert? Wear your love on your nails with this citrus-inspired nail art.


Summer is nicknamed festival season for a reason. While there's tons of festival-inspired nail trends to look out for, you can never go wrong with the classic tribal print.


We're noticing a trend here—fruit is lovable and adorable. Pineapples are an international symbol of hospitality, incorporated into resort designs and thus totally reminiscent of beachside relaxation. This yellow fruit is on the rise, now one of the season's hottest prints. 


What else is summer known for? Shark Week. If you're terrified of actually swimming with sharks or watching them devour seals on TV, we've got a safer way to hop on this summer trend. These shark-inspired nails are far from scary—the little guys are actually kind of cute!


We are obsessed with these unique and chic nails. The shiny, whimsical color resembles the underside of a shell and will totally help you channel your inner mermaid. 


Say aloha to some floral nail art. And if you aren't ready to dedicate hours to perfecting those petals, paint just a few nails tropical and leave the rest a bright white—a shade reserved solely for summer.


We've never seen these before, which means you should sport them stat for a trendsetting look! This marbled pattern looks exactly like the gemstone. Even better, the shade matches your pool and pairs perfectly with summer's top color, coral.


French tips are a nail polish classic, but that doesn't mean you can't revamp the style for summer. Instead of a white tip, opt for neons or other summery colors (yellows, magentas, and teals work great) and make the strip wider for a more pronounced and modern look.


Another festival classic, geometric patterns are a total "do" this summer. Not sure how to achieve those incredibly straight lines? Work layer by layer, and use tape to make shapes.

Summer is the perfect time to try something bold and new, as the season permits crazy colors and bright patterns that other seasons don't endorse. Grab some new polish, scan Pinterest for how-tos, and prepare to nail the trendiest styles (pun intended!)—you'll have the perfect manicure to match your margarita in no time.