At the start of every summer, I like to treat myself to a bright, fun manicure to celebrate the start of the new (and in my opinion, most fun) season of the year. Right now, I've been thinking about that and the anticipation of summer in general. Although things are still so uncertain, it makes me feel good to daydream about the future—and it certainly takes my mind off of what's going on in the present. Call it escapist, call it delusional, but let me have it, okay? We all have our ways of coping with stress and unknowns.
As part of my daydreaming, I've been thinking about what kind of designs or colors I'd want to try out. There are so many options out there—just a scroll on Instagram can lead to endless possibilities. For inspiration, I tapped a couple of nail artists for their predictions on what they think will be popular summer nail designs. Hint: They're all very happy, so be prepared to smile. And better yet, a lot of these recommendations are easy enough to DIY should we all find ourselves staying home a bit longer.
Take a look below and start envisioning these on your nails. You know I've already done it for all of the options.
"Each season there are endless color combinations to create the perfect ombré mani. For summer, it's all about a mixture of brights that don't have to be in the same tonal family. Mix and match until you find a color palette that speaks to you. The only rule is, there are no rules." — Sarah Gibson Tuttle, founder and CEO of Olive & June
If you're doing it on your own, you can try a different shade on each nail like above. Or leave it to a pro to blur and blend colors like below.
"The '90s floral moment continues into summer. Start with a simple base on the nail and add a few hand-drawn daisies (or floral nail art stickers). It's perfect for adding a little something extra to a neutral mani, and it's so easy to do." — Gibson Tuttle
"For summertime nails, people usually want color of some sort. Minimal, negative-space nail art will always be the trend no matter what season. I think art that includes a variety of colors will be quite the hit during summer. — Hang Nguyen, celebrity nail artist, whose work has appeared in Glamour and InStyle
"Negative space is always popular in summer and also with more people doing their own nail art at home an easier way to create something fun." — Imarni
"Our favorite summer hack is to add color on top of bare or nude nails. Why? Because as the design grows out you can't see nail growth, which is perfect for making your manicure last longer during all of your summer activities. Neon pops of color will be very popular this summer!" — Carrie and Lauren Dunne
This is one trend we're calling for summer. It's one of the easiest designs to pull off too. You don't need the steadiest hand because you're just painting each nail a completely different color.
"A crisp white mani is a statement on its own. Wear it alone or try adding black or metallic nail art stickers for a mani everyone will envy on your Zoom calls." — Gibson Tuttle
I'm always a big fan of palm fronds and other tropical foliage as nail art for the summer. And if you can't be on a remote island or beach during the workweek, at least your nails can be!
For summer 2020, you will be seeing a combo of your favorite neutral shades along with bold and soft neons. I also think that simple, minimal nail art will be the way to go this summer, which is always my favorite type of nail trend, from line work to color-blocking." — Brittney Boyce, consulting nail artist for Orly
Bright Skinny French Manicure
"Summer brings together two of our favorite nail art trends: the skinny French and bright polish hues. It's super chic and the bright tips are an immediate mood booster." — Gibson Tuttle
What is more fun than wearing summer fruits on your nails? We have started channeling summer vibes by painting our favorite fruits on our nails—strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit… You name it; we will put it on our nails!" — Carrie and Lauren Dunne
"We're loving a half-moon or a triangle tip with a bright hue (like our JLR shade) to freshen it up." — Gibson Tuttle
To us, the polka-dot motif never gets old. Update it for summer with some bright colors and you've got an easy mani idea you can DIY.