Nine Hot and Cold Summer Nail Trends
There is no right or wrong way to approach your summer nail aesthetic. For some, long nails will just never be in the cards — be it due to personal preference or your day job. For others, lime-green polish will just never meld with your favorite arsenal of nudes and pinks. And that is A-okay. As with every aspect of beauty, we encourage you to do what you like and to have confidence in your unique beauty choices.
That said, we live in a world overrun with fleeting and exciting fashion and beauty trends, many of which bombard us via our phone and computer screens. Regardless of how eager you are to switch up your current nail game, trends can be a fun source of inspiration to influence a completely new you or perhaps a slight deviation from what you are already doing. Either way, trends are fun, not gospel. And nails are a perfect place to start.
We have been seeing all sorts of cool trends thus far in 2019, and for summer, cool color choices, nail shapes and artistic nail designs have only intensified. So to get the official scoop on what’s “out” and “in” this season within the nail circuit, we asked three top nail salons (L.A.-based Olive & June, N.Y.-based Paintbox, and bicoastal Tenoverten) for their thoughts on summer nails.
Out: Acrylics, Extensions & Dipping
In: Au naturel nails
Not only are acrylics, extensions and dipping powders not the best for our nails’ health (or their growth trajectory), but according to Paintbox founder and CCO Eleanor Langston, they are also out for summer 2019. Instead, she recommends resisting the temptation to go faux nail and work your natural nail instead. “Our clients much prefer working with the natural nail via soft gel,” she said. “You can still get length, and your nails will look sophisticated and stunning.”
Out: Press-on nails
In: Chic nail stickers
Yes, nail art is in, and even though press-ons were having a moment and can be an easy way to take care of horrifying nails fast, both Langston and Olive & June CEO and founder Sarah Gibson Tuttle agree that a more minimalist strategy is the ultimate trend this summer.
If you don’t want to test your own artistic skills and go by hand (Langston’s personal preference), Tuttle advises trying these celeb-loved stickers instead.
“Nail art continues to be a major trend, especially telling a story across a few nails,” explained Tuttle. “We love combining our sticker packs to lean into a special moment. The white outlined stars and open circles in our Pattern Party ($8) sticker pack are really dynamic when paired with the diamonds in our Desert Mood ($8) pack.”
Out: White nails
In: Breezy blues
Although all of our expert sources agreed that really any shade of pastel is perfect for summer, variations of light blue take the top spot over a previous summer favorite: stark white.
“The most modern blues are ones that are softer, such as sky blue, cornflower blue or even cerulean,” said Langston. “The gentler blues give your fingertips a seaside vibe that’s really nice for warmer months.”
Out: Solid nudes
In: Nudes with neon detail
To try this expert-approved summer nail trend, you have two options: a nude or caramel paired with any kind of bright or a barely there, see-through base with a shot of hot neon.
“See-through or nude-toned nails with geometric, linear pops of neons (vibrant fuchsias, limes, oranges, highlighter yellows) feel fresh and lively for warmer months,” Langston said.
Out: Long oval nails
In: Short nails
Shorter nails are having a moment, and we are 1000 percent here for it.
“I absolutely love a short square nail with slightly rounded edges,” said Nadine Abramcyk, co-founder of Tenoverten. “It is very elegant and appropriate for summer when you need to be able to do anything with your hands. A short nail can seem boring to some, so the way to make it feel more fun and summery is to add a touch of simple nail art.”
Out: Stiletto nails
In: Almond-shaped nails
We get it. Just as some people can’t stand long nails, some can’t stand short. A pretty almond-shaped manicure is the perfect middle ground between the intense stiletto trend and ultra-short cut.
“Anything that is not fully functional for your daily life has faded trend-wise,” said Tuttle. “Our clients have been liking shorter length coupled with an oval or almond shape.”
In terms of polish, instead of opting for classic pink or red, try opting for the seasonal favorite, pastel, but a tone with a brighter finish. “I love Tenoverten’s polish in Poolside Mama from our new collaboration with Hatch,” said Abramcyk.
Out: Classic French manicure
In: Thin French manicure
In addition to pops of neon, a more modern take on the classic French manicure is one of the best nail trends to try this summer.
“Both neons and thin French manis are hot this season,” Tuttle said. “What’s better than a hot-pink French with your favorite white summer dress?”
Out: Packed glitter
In: Ombré glitter
“We haven’t seen as many packed glitter manis as we’ve seen in the past,” said Tuttle. “While glitter is always in, the focus this summer is glitter as an ombré.”
For a super-chunky look like the above, try adding actual glitter to a demi-wet basecoat, let it dry and then seal with a topcoat.
Out: Full-on metalics
In: Angular bright-gold looks
“Gold foil and angular bright-gold looks are unexpectedly flattering when paired with peachy-pinks,” said Langston. “The Paintbox Golden Girls design is by far the most popular look of our S/S 19 collection.”
She recommends elevating accents of gold foils with beautiful pastels — soft lilac and pallid yellow are both pretty options.