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9 Summer Nail Trends To Ask For At The Salon

Now that springtime is here and summer is on the way, it’s time to start clearing the winter coats from your closet (honestly, you might want to keep a few out, thanks to Mother Nature’s uncertainty) and dusting off your favorite sandals. But as you make way for summer days, there’s one timeless beauty ritual that you shouldn’t forget about: getting a fresh manicure. Whether you prefer round, coffin, square, or stiletto shape, solid or abstract designs, nudes, or bright colors, a nice mani can be the perfect complement to a dopamine-inducing outfit

Nail art and design trends have become super popular over the last decade, and according to The Guardian, nail art and cuticle culture date back to as early as 5,000 BC. According to Byrdie, China is often credited for creating the first nail polish, though it was most likely less glamorous than the glitter, acrylic powder, and shiny gel polishes we have today (think egg whites, gelatin, beeswax, and dyes). Nonetheless, manicures served as a symbol of high social status, and, according to historians, were a way for women to feel rich and signify their elite social status
With the nail industry consistently changing and evolving, especially after a long two-and-a-half years of little to no in-person salon appointments, beauty enthusiasts and local nail techs are ready to get back into action. Here are the best nail trends to try for spring and early summer, according to some of the hottest nail technicians in the biz.

3d Floral

If you don’t have a green thumb and have trouble keeping your flowers alive, don’t worry — these flowers don’t require watering! Inspired by the desire to make your nails “pop” or stand out, the 3D flower design features realistic flower petals and shapes made with colorful or neutral acrylic for a texturized and unique look. 

At the salon, you’ll want to ask your manicurist for “3D flower art” on your set. Keep in mind that acrylic is the best texture to work with for 3-D due to its clay-like texture (sorry, poly gel lovers).  If you need some inspiration, check out these designs on Pinterest and if you’re in the NYC area, support Black-owned nail salon Barry’s Beauty Bar and ask nail tech Shadika for this style.

classic french

According to Who What Wear, French manicures have been around since 1976, when Jeff Pink, the creator of ORLY, coined the design with the classic soft pink. French manicures are a great design if you want something that is simple or could match any outfit, or if you’re feeling bold and want show-stopping colors. And while “French tips” have been a classic look for years, they recently got a facelift. You can now choose from the classic, soft rounded french, a sharp, v-cut adaptation, or a chic and minimal abstract style

pearly mani

Next to diamonds, pearls truly are a girl’s best friend — and now, you can wear them on your nails. The pearl trend is both classic and elegant, and adding little pearls to the surface of your nails can even create a 3-D look that resembles freshwater droplets on dewy grass. Achieve the pearl nail look by asking for a classic pink and white manicure base, then, for the pearls to be delicately placed with tweezers and nail glue. For a lesser, more 2-D effect, you can also use pearl-like stickers. Unlock your inner royalty or live out your Bridgerton dreams with this style.

abstract vibes

If you’re looking for a subtle way to express your artistic side, abstract nails are definitely for you. Abstract nails involve a compilation of swoops, squiggly lines, erratic dots, and more, and the look has exploded on social media in recent years. Abstract nails are a perfect balance of color and simplicity, and the ability to play with minimal or bold patterns translates to a perfect summer glass. If your choice of drink is a margarita or tequila straight, these nails put you in the mood with euphoric, psychedelic colors, reminding you of beautiful blazing sunsets or calm walks on the beach.

crocodile print

According to Allure, the crocodile trend slithered its way into the nail industry about two years ago and has been spotted on celebrities like Lizzo. The style is unique, featuring 3-D, coarse, crocodile-like “scales” created with acrylic powder and nail polish. When you think of crocodile print, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a purse or shoes — but everyone knows every accessory needs a great set of matching nails! 

“My favorite thing about croc nails has to be that they’re so easy and quick,” nail artist Sole Iman tells Her Campus. “No matter which method you use, you’ll be done designing in 25-30 mins.”

While crocodiles may have rough skin, these nails are anything but. Dress them up and down by playing with colorful ombre and glitters, or go bold with contrasting colors such as white or nude. 

“The croc nails can be achieved a few ways depending on the look you’re going for,” Iman continues. “If you want something more textured and slightly 3D like the picture, you would handprint and the lines and dots as clean as possible with gel polish, then throw some clear acrylic over it and cure for 60 seconds in the gel lamp.”

fresh berry

Nothing marks the beginning of spring and summer like a fresh basket of fruit. If picking fruit off the vines while dodging caterpillars (even though they’re cute & harmless) and other weird insects that come out of the ground isn’t your thing, opt for this manicure. Berry nails integrate your favorite fruit, typically strawberries or cherries into cute and simplistic designs. A cherry french or picnic plaid strawberry style is the perfect way to say “I’m ready for summer!” even if you prefer your berries in the form of a margarita, like me. 

twinkly rhinestone

All that glitters is not gold, it’s your nails reflecting the summer sun. While bling nails have been around since the late 90s and early 2000s, they recently got an upgrade. Crystal nails are the perfect accessory to add class and glamour to a look, and a simple crystal at the cuticle or a full-finger bling is the perfect kick-off to a hot girl summer. Now, you don’t have to wait for them to put a ring on it, because you’ll have enough bling for the both of you. 

sleek glass

Okay, so maybe glass slippers aren’t your thing and you don’t want to be Cinderella. But, glass nails are to die for, just hear us out. As ’90s trends slowly integrate their way back into society, it’s not a bad idea to have jelly nails to match your jelly sandals or clear nails to match your clear bag. Either way, glass nails are for the ultimate minimalist and can compliment your summer glass of wine perfectly.

solid gel

Nothing beats a classic manicure. If you’re on the go or on a budget, a classic and simple gel manicure can be just the thing to brighten up your day. Choosing from shapes such as a coffin, almond or even a simple tapered square can make all the difference. Being a college student means your pockets aren’t always full, which is why I personally love Le Mini Macaron. It allows me to perform great at-home manicures with salon-quality, all for around $35. 

Náosha Gregg is an aspiring journalist & freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York, currently obsessed with anything blush. Follow her on Instagram: @knowingnaosha or say hi: naosha.gregg@gmail.com