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Summer’s Hottest Nail Trends Include Mermaid Manis & Milky Nails

Plus, affordable ways to get the look.
nail trends

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Welcome to the sunny season of vibrant colors and bold nail art. As temperatures rise and we bid farewell to winter blues, it’s time to embrace the hottest trends in summer nails. From playful pastels to eye-catching embellishments, the world of nail fashion is brimming with exciting possibilities.

Summer is all about letting your creativity shine, and what better canvas than your fingertips? This year, nail trends are reaching new heights with innovative designs and a plethora of captivating shades. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or attending a beachside soiree, your nails can make a stylish statement that complements your summer wardrobe.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of extravagant nail art or prefer a more understated look. The world of summer nails has something for everyone. So grab your favorite nail polish and get ready to make a splash with the hottest trends of the season straight from the pros.

Mermaid Nails

Call it The Little Mermaid effect. “I am loving mermaid/beach-themed nails for summer because it’s the perfect classic manicure look for going out to dinner but also ties in the sea-inspired trends we have seen a lot of,” says nail artist and Color Street ambassador Elle Gerstein.

Morgan Haile, nail expert and brand spokesperson for Morgan Taylor, agrees. “The length of this sunny season is short round to keep it natural and medium stiletto to be adventurous,” she says. “The ocean is our inspiration so have fun playing with textures like glitters, chromes, and pearl finishes.”

color street
Color Street.
the little mermaid nails

Coquette Nails

“Embellished or simple pearl details bring this trend into full wearability,” Gerstein says. “You can get creative by adding extra embellishments like pearls.”

Modern French Mani

“I love a classic French with added detail for a statement,” Gerstein says. “For me, this is such a great way to have a statement manicure and still be able to keep it neutral.”

impress nails


Like clothes and makeup, Barbie pink is trending like crazy. “The frills and daintiness of pink nails don’t have the same meaning this summer,” says nail artist and Sally Hansen partner Sigourney Nunez. “With the upcoming release of the Barbie movie, this season pink is powerful. The movie is expected to be an iconic, feminist masterpiece. So for nails, any mani that is pink will be bold.”

Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Sleek a Boo
Sally Hansen.

Nail Care

“With the rise of DIY gel nails, many people may have unintentionally damaged their nails due to improper removal,” Nunez says. “So some are trying to nourish and mend the integrity of their natural nails but don’t want to compromise on the color.” And don’t forget cuticle oil! “It will help your nails prevent them from getting brittle and breaking, but don’t forget to massage it in,” she says. “When you take the time to massage it in, it helps with blood flow and increases blood circulation that ultimately stimulates nail growth.”

Sally Hansen’s Color Therapy in Sheer Nirvana
Sally Hansen.

Jelly Nails

Nail artist Brittney Boyce is loving the continuation of sheer jelly nails this summer. “Summer 2023 we will be continuing with sheer jelly colors and the iridescent nail trend, but updated,” she says. “Using pearly chromes and holographic topcoats that have a subtle shimmery ethereal look. Also, layering with 3D gels to create texture and sculptural looks.”

Apres Nails.

Milky Nails

Update your glazed donut nails from last season. “If you like to keep your mani pretty natural, the milky nail or glazed donut trends fit the ‘your nails but better’ mold,” says Thea Green, founder of Nails.INC. “If you opt for something more experimental in terms of nail art, then try blush nails – a fresh take on the sheer ombre look using any powder blush in your makeup bag, sealed with a topcoat.”

milky nailks trend
Nails Inc.

Princess Nails

Grab your tiara. “This summer I am noticing a lot of us tap into our inner child when choosing our nail looks,” says nail artist Stephanie Stone. “I’m getting so many requests for princess nails, Barbie-core and mermaid nails. I think that could be due to the fact that so many of our favorite nostalgic childhood memories are being launched as upcoming movies and also, that we want something fun and sparkly to look at to brighten our days.”

Expressie FX Nail Polish
Ulta Beauty.
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