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Our Top 5 Favorite Summer Nails

BY: EDITORIAL TEAM | 5.25.2017 |

Nothing puts you in a sunnier state of mind more quickly than walking into a nail salon and walking out with bright summer nails. Just looking down at cheerful pink, yellow, or orange polish sparkling in the sun is enough to make you think of lounging poolside while sipping frosty margaritas, or strolling to town on a quest for ice cream. Sporting nails with vivid shades and fun nail art can give you the type of pick-me-up normally only associated with lying under the coffee machine with your mouth open. But which hues and styles should you try this summer?

To give you a little inspiration for your next mani, we've rounded up our top five favorite summer nails. They're all easy for a nail technician to re-create, and a couple are good for experienced DIYers.



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Lavender Squares

The look: If you're one of Kylie Jenner's 93.7 million followers on Instagram, you've probably seen her rock this nail shape. Long, square nails have been her go-to for at least half a year now, which means the public is just now slowly beginning to try them out for themselves. We love how this nail artist finished off the square manicure with a lavender polish that pops against the skin.

Is it easy to DIY? No. To get this dramatic look, you have to add length to the natural nail, which means using acrylic tips. That complicated process is hard to execute, and should be left up to the professionals.


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Dark Florals

The look: Yes, these nails do have a black base, a color typically associated with fall and winter, but that base makes the pansy-esque flowers on these cute summer nails stand out. This black flower mani is ideal for those who want a little edge to their summer nails. Plus, botanical nails are especially on-trend for summer 2017.

Is it easy to DIY? It's not easy, per se, but it can be done if you have a steady hand, lots of time and patience, and some basic nail-art tools. The easiest way to create similar flowers is to dab a large dot of colored polish on the black base. While the colored polish is still wet, dip a dotting tool (or a toothpick) into yellow polish, and swirl it inside the bigger dot of polish. Repeat with new colors to create different flowers. Then use a smaller dotting tool dipped in green to draw leaves. When the centers of the flowers dry, use a toothpick to dot three tiny black dots inside the flower. If that all sounds like too much, have a pro do it.

Shop the Look

Jin Soon Polka Black ($17.99); KleanColor nail polish set in Candy (6pc., $7.99); Zodaca nail art dotting pen ($8.99)


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Swimming-Pool Blue

The look: Aqua is one of the best summer nail colors because it's bright without looking too neon. It complements all skin tones, but is particularly flattering on tan and dark skin. And it instantly reminds us of a cool blue pool on a hot summer day.

Is it easy to DIY? This look is super easy to DIY because all you need is a brilliant aqua nail polish and a high-shine top coat. For the polish, we like Essie's In the Cab-Ana, and for the top coat, we're obsessed with Seche Vite because it dries to a glossy shine in minutes.

Shop the Look

Essie In the Cab-Ana ($8.22); Seche Vite Dry-Fast Topcoat (2pk., $8.99)

Unexpected Color Blocking

The look: Color-blocked nails add a fun, sporty vibe to summer outfits, and they pair remarkably well with athleisure pieces. Color-blocked manis have been around for a few seasons now, but the pink-and-burgundy color combination and the thick, curved smile lines pictured here feel fresh.

Is it easy to DIY? It's easier than drawing flowers on your nails, but it also requires, you guessed it, a steady hand and patience. If you're going to attempt it, it's best to do it in stages. First, apply two bright pink coats (the polish seen here is Essie Backseat Besties) and allow them to dry completely. Then, using a burgundy color (this one is Essie Designated DJ), carefully draw a line up the side that comes out at an angle, and add a curved line across the top.

Shop the Look

KleanColor pastel nail polish set (6pc., $6.99)—get the pink polish and a few bonus shades; OPI Got the Blues for Red ($7.99)


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Sunset Acrylics

The look: These red-orange nails tiptoe the line between almond and stiletto, but while their exact shape may not be clear, one thing is: they are fierce. These nails are ideal for a sultry summer night and beautifully re-create the sky just before the sun sets.

Is it easy to DIY? No. This is another look that requires carefully applied acrylics and years of practice to perfect.