The Summer Nail Art Trends You Must Try

Forget standard-issue manicures, and wave hello to a whole new breed of nail art that is taking over tips. These summer nail art trends go way beyond conservative nude hues and sunny bright shades.

After perusing this list of 12 nail art trends, we have a feeling you’ll be dialing your manicurist for more than just a polish change. Or, for the more adventurous beauty addicts, you may be rushing out for a few new bottles of polish to nail these DIY looks at home.

1. Stripes and lines

manicure with stripes

We’re wild for stripes. | @cassmariebeauty via Instagram

Stripes are so in. Designers including Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Altuzarra, and Opening Ceremony all sent linear-inspired manis down the runway in single-line and multi-line variations. Whether you go vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or all of the above, your nails are going to benefit from the graphic, cool edge that stripes deliver. Minimalism works perfectly here with monochromatic, simple line art. Or, you can wear your stripes in Technicolor hues for no lack of bright, summery vibrancy that will exude from every finger.

2. The new French manicure

updated French manicure

Try a new take on the French manicure. | @nataliepavloskinails via Instagram

The French manicure is back. But, this isn’t your high-school prom paint job. The new French mani is chicer and more modern than ever. Cool-girl design label Cushnie et Ochs featured an updated version at their runway presentation for spring. And you should give one a whirl for yourself as this trend looks like it here’s to stay. Skip those thick white lines on top of the nail, and exchange them for a diagonal, half-moon twist. Or, paint that updated line in a bold color — or black. It’s all fair game with the new French.

3. Unicorn nails

try some unicorn colors on your nails

The unicorn trend has even translated to nail polish. | @hannahroxit via Instagram

From Starbucks lattes to superfood smoothies and trendy toast, the unicorn obsession is everywhere — right down to your very fingertips. While you can take it to three-dimensional territory with a mini unicorn horn, the more streamlined, mod way to wear the look is strictly through color. My Little Pony-inspired swirls of azure, pink, and purple are like a fantasy trip for your fingertips.

4. Emoji feelings

emojis nail polish

Try this cute twist on a manicure. | @oliveandjune via Instagram

We use emojis in nearly every single text message, so why shouldn’t our fingers express our feelings, too? Emojis have popped up on nails recently, and it’s a kitschy-cute way to send a message in these text-heavy times.

5. Rainbow digits

rainbow nail polish

Nails inspired by a rainbow are pretty cute. | @oliveandjune via Instagram

Just call your new summer manicure, Roy G. Biv. Rainbows are appearing on nails everywhere, in both the more literal arc interpretations — perfect for the shape of the cuticle — and in more figurative forms with just the wash of multiple colors. It’s your nails’ ticket to a pot of gold.

6. Logo nails

logo-painted nails

Show how much you love a particular logo in a fun, less obvious way. | @chelseaqueen via Instagram

From Nike to Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs, designer nails are having a moment. Rather than sport a luxe logo on your clothes, this trend is all about painting it on your nails. And, no, these manis aren’t Instagram #sponsored. It’s a great way to show your affinity for a brand — and to look cool while doing it.

7. Marble

nails painted like marble

Stone-inspired nails are surprisingly pretty. | @nailjob via Instagram

Polished marble is one of the glossiest, most beautiful surfaces you can have in your home. So, why not take it to your nails? Creating a faux, swirled marble look is not easy with a manicure. But, when done right, it looks glossy and chic. Who knew that natural stone would look so good on fingertips.

8. Flowers

flower nail polish

Florals look surprisingly fresh when painted on your nails. | @beautyaddictedd via Instagram

We’ve seen the bohemian, flower-child look blossom in the fashion arena, and now the trend is extending to the nails. From sweet daisies, to sunny sunflowers, and an explosion of flower buds, the sky’s the limit to painting on the blooms. For a more minimal look, just paint one or two fingernails with flowers. Or, turn over a new leaf with a floral applique that’s quite charming and pretty.

9. Abstract art

nail polish to look like artwork

Treat your nails like a canvas. | @torih_torih via Instagram

Manicures have lately transformed into mini abstract paintings with all measures of squiggles, colorful geometric shapes, mod dots, and more. And, this isn’t about matching each nail, either. Creative liberties are welcomed here — just as in art. Designers are making nail extensions of their looks, too, with Proenza Schouler, Carmen Marc Valvo, and Christian Siriano all artistically painting nails to match their sartorial statements.

10. Negative space

modern nail design

Try letting some of your natural nail show through. | @cassmariebeauty via Instagram

Negative space is an important artistic composition, and it’s making waves in nail art. Manis are popping up with pretty designs that make use of the natural nail bed, too. This trend’s all about not painting the whole nail to emphasize the overall design. And we love the look for its equal embrace of polished and naked nails.

11. Shimmer

shimmering gold nails

Give your nails a little bit of shimmer for a fun change. | @torih_torih via Instagram

Sometimes a subtle metallic mood can make a world of difference on your digits, providing depth and a bit of reflective shine. Try the Midas touch of gold on your tips, or paint on the shimmer in bits and flashes with miniature stars, stripes, and other accent shapes.

12. Embellished cuticles

cuticles painted with gold glitter

Decorative cuticles might be non-traditional, but they can be gorgeous. | @luxebytracylee via Instagram

The design houses Rodarte and Fyodor Golan have both offered up decoratively rimmed cuticles on recent runway presentations. And, the most effective way to enhance yours is with a shimmery, gilded effect, mini jewel accents, or a bold shade. It’s like a little necklace for your nails!