The summer is the one time that I almost always have my nails done. When you’re in a super cute swimsuit at the beach with a straw hat and rocking a nice tan, gorgeous nails really complete the look.
The great thing about doing your nails is that it doesn’t take that long and they’ll be done for quite a while (especially if you do your own gel nails at home).
Nail trends don’t change a ton from year to year, but there are crucial small differences. A few years ago, stark white nails were not in; last year, white was the color over 85% of women were wearing during the warmer months.
This year has some of the coolest trends and summer nail colors yet!
Summer Nail Trends
This summer, the trends are very similar to last, but there’s an emphasis on classiness. Unlike 2020, you won’t want to overdo bright colors with tons of decorations. Keep it subtle and classy but add some distinct patterns.
As far as the shape goes, almond and square both popular this year. If your nails are short, I recommend asking for gel tips with a dip manicure. I find that the dip manicure works best because it keeps your nail strong so it doesn’t break.
Don’t forget: if you opt for press-on nails, you can always cut and file them yourself to fit the current nail shape trend. I like to buy press-on nails on Etsy, but I use this glue to get them to stick for a good long while.
Shiny and matte nails are both popular right now; it’s a matter of personal preference since you can’t go wrong either way.
The Prettiest Summer Nail Colors
Summer nail colors for 2021 are very similar to the last few years. Bright white, off white, pink, peach, and turquoise will all be the most popular.
If you have darker skin or like to stay tan, then white, off white, and pink will all look great on you. The idea is for summer nails to pop!
Summer nail colors for pale skin are a little tougher since most of these colors tend to look better when there’s a big contrast. I’d stick with brighter colors such as peach, pink, and turquoise, as long as it’s simple and clean.
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Summer Nail Inspiration
Here are the 40+ prettiest summer nail colors of 2021! Some of these are pretty complicated designs while others are simple summer nail colors.
Feel free to save any of these photos to your phone so that you can show your nail technician. Just press down on the photo and click save to camera roll.
Shades Of Blue Marble
Light Purple Flowers
Soft Cloud Ombre
Bright Abstract Manicure
White Clouds On Blue
Off-Kilter Colored Tips
Deep Blue Marble Accents
Blue Marble Butterfly Nails
Light Blue & Black
Pale Pink Geometric
White With Gold Accents
Pale Green With Accent
Blue & Nude Geometric
Tropical Pink Design
Ice Cream Orange
Pale Blue With Daisies
Shades Of Blue
Squiggly Summer Nails Design
Blue Tips & Accent
Pink Hued White
This is a nice white because it isn’t insanely stark but will still stand out against most skin tones (and work with most outfits).
This is one of my favorite summer nail colors for pale skin! It looks great with any skin color but is especially a good choice for those with skin that doesn’t tan easily.
Pale Peach With Palm Tree
Navy blue is one of the best summer nail colors for pale skin. I love how navy is slightly preppy so it will never go out of style.
Pale Flower Tattoo Design
This is one of the prettiest summer nail colors! I love how it’s simple (and neutral) but still has a summer feel. These are stick on nails so they’re easy to use in a pinch.
Neutral Summer Nail Colors
Nude & Silver Design
Pink Nude Matte
If you really want to make your nails pop, try incorporating rings. I like to do a few on each hand. There’s lots of rings available on Amazon that are pretty decent quality for a low price!
Some hand jewelry will give your nails that extra flair that makes them stand out. Even the prettiest summer nail colors can benefit from some rings calling attention to your hands.
Another important piece to make your summer nails look especially amazing is a nice tan. Whether you’re super pale or naturally tan, you can always add a few levels or even just get a nice glow that makes summer nail colors really stand out.
While nails especially look great with a tan and add an important extra element to any outfit. If you’re not the type that likes to lay out in the sun (and you want to be especially careful with your skin), then opt for a spray-tan or an at-home tanning lotion. Make sure to apply either before you do your nails, especially if they’re a light color!
If you’re looking to do your own get nails at home, head here for my full guide! It’s a quick and easy way to get gorgeous nails all summer long without having to sit and pay at a salon.