These Red-Hot Nail Trends Are Making Me Even More Excited for Summer

I don't know about you, but the minute the weather gets above 60°, I'm overcome with a sense of happiness that colder temperatures just can't give me. Summer just hits different. I'm already looking forward to long, sun-steeped days, cold drinks alfresco, and balmy nights on the town. Of course, I've already begun getting my summer wardrobe together (I work at Who What Wear, after all!), but as a beauty editor, my attention has turned to more pressing matters: my nails.


I love nail trends more than most people, and learning what they'll be before everyone else is one of life's simple pleasures. I talk to nail experts all the time, so I typically have a pretty good idea of what the nail trend forecast looks like. This season, I'm sharing the wealth early. I talked to Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of Glosslab, and Deborah Lippmann, celebrity manicurist and founder of her eponymous nail brand, to find out summer 2022's biggest nail trends in advance—thank me later. 

1. Nautical Vibes


(Image credit: @ktberohn)

From abstract wave patterns to pearlescent, shell-inspired colors, a few of this summer's major trends are inspired by the deep blue sea. "Wave patterns are super popular right now," says Apfel Glass. "The abstract designs are both fun and reminiscent of the ocean, so we will definitely continue to see them all summer long." 

On the colorful side of things, Lippmann says shades inspired by seashells will have a moment. She recommends opting for nail colors that have a mother-of-pearl finish like the inside of a shell. 

Shop the trend:

2. Y2K Comeback


(Image credit: @thehangedit)

We've seen the resurgence of Y2K trends in clothing, and now, it's time to infuse the early aughts into your fingertips. "We're seeing a comeback of Y2K fashion—rose-colored glasses, baggy jeans, crop tops, and raver space buns," says Lippmann. "For nails, that means we're bringing out the space-age nail polish with multifaceted shimmers, color travel, and cosmic colors."

Lippmann says the best way to try the trend in nail colors is to look for shades that aren't quite one thing. Don't go for a true take on a color—try one that's in between, like a duo-chrome shimmer. 

Shop the trend:

3. Timeless Summer Shades


(Image credit: @harrietwestmoreland)

Think updated neutrals that never go out of style. "Shades of green, nude, light pinks, and blues are colors that will be trending throughout summer," says Apfel Glass. "All of these colors are great for a subtle nail refresh and are perfect for highlighting that summer tan! These bright, vibrant-yet-cool tones are timeless colors."

Shop the trend:

4. French Tips


(Image credit: @oliveandjune)

French tips have been going strong for a while now, and Apfel Glass predicts that they will keep going strong. This chic option works on every nail shape, and yes, you can even do a French mani on short nails. Have fun with it by keeping the base clear and trying out patterned tips. 

Shop the trend:

5. Subtle Decals


(Image credit: @mobinapeiman)

When it comes to nail designs this summer, tiny touches will reign. Lippmann predicts that these small designs will be going strong for a while. 

Apfel Glass agrees, saying that subtle nail art has taken over the Glosslab studios. "Minimalist nail art, such as small lines and tiny dots, is a trend I see sticking around all throughout summer," she says. "It is easy, fast, and the perfect accent for your colorful and fun summer wardrobe." Apfel Glass also recommends adorning your nails with foil for a shimmery twist. 

Shop the trend:

Next, 4 Nail Colors That Everyone Will Be Wearing in 2022

Associate Beauty Editor

Katie Berohn is the associate beauty editor at Who What Wear. Previously, she worked as the beauty assistant for Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and Prevention magazines, all part of the Hearst Lifestyle Group. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a major in journalism and minor in technology, arts, and media, and earned her master's degree at NYU's graduate program for magazine journalism. In addition, Katie has held editorial internships at Denver Life magazine, Yoga Journal, and Cosmopolitan; a digital editorial internship at New York magazine's The Cut; a social good fellowship at Mashable; and a freelance role at HelloGiggles. When she's not obsessing over the latest skincare launch or continuing her journey to smell every perfume on the planet, Katie can be found taking a hot yoga class, trying everything on the menu at New York's newest restaurant, or hanging out at a trendy wine bar with her friends.