I am a neutrals girl through and through. And for years, I’ve chosen almost sheer shades of pink and white at the nail salon. But there’s something fun about wearing a little color in the warmer months. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with vibrant shades and fresh nail designs that capture the essence of summer. As the temperatures rise, I find myself weaving in a little bit of color in my wardrobe, and I don’t know what happened, but I’ve been wearing bold colors on my nails, too. Whether you prefer classic hues like I usually do or bright, trendy tones, there is a perfect shade for every skin tone and style. Here are the best summer nail colors to keep your manicure looking fabulous all season long.


The Best Summer Nail Colors to Try in 2024


As the days grow longer and the weather warms up, even I gravitate toward bolder colors for summer. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, heading to the beach, drinking a spritz on a patio (my favorite) or attending a summer soirée, the right nail color can complement your look and enhance your style. I’m going to share best summer nail colors, trends, and tips to ensure your nails are as bright and beautiful as the summer sun.


My Favorite Clean Polishes

Let’s talk polish. I made the switch to clean beauty years ago and with that, came clean polish. I’ve only done gel polish a handful of times for trips and won’t touch it now. Gel manicures aren’t great for your nails and I’ve read too much about the increased risk for  skin cancer and premature skin aging on the hands, so that’s out. I have been using Dazzle Dry and love it. First, it’s quick-dry so I’m less likely to mess it up. It’s also nontoxic, free of harmful, carcinogenic, and endocrine disrupting ingredients. So it’s free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, nitrocellulose, TPHP and other toxic ingredients. Another new favorite that’s great for those of us who, like me, aren’t great at doing their own nails is Londontown. Their accelerating drying oil is amazing. I’m going to share my favorite shades and colors from my favorite brands since they’re clean, quick-dry, and work so well. 

I’ve tried lots of clean brands and had the worst luck with Olive & June, Ella + Mia, Zoya, and a few others, and they never lasted long enough for me. 


Vibrant Shades for Summer

Summer months are synonymous with vibrant shades that make a bold statement. One of the top summer nail trends is embracing brighter seasonal shades that pop against sun-kissed skin. From electric blues to neon yellows, these colors are perfect for those who love to stand out.

Electric Blue: Bright shades of blue nail polish, especially in electric or sky-blue tones, is a standout choice for summer. You can opt for cobalt blue, too, but I prefer something a little lighter. This color not only evokes the serene vibes of the ocean but also pairs well with almost any summer outfit. It’s a versatile shade that can be worn on both short and long nails, making it a favorite for many.

Bright, Vintage Green: Green nails are having a moment. And I don’t know that I’m bold enough to pull it off but I kind of what to try. Does it remind anyone else of Palm Royale? 

Coral is a quintessential summer shade that blends pink and orange. It’s an ideal color for both casual beach days and more formal summer events. Coral complements most skin tones and can be the perfect shade for a chic and stylish summer manicure.


Classic Summer Colors

While vibrant shades are a summer staple, classic colors like red nails and nude nail polishes also make a significant impact. These timeless hues are perfect for any occasion and never go out of style.

Bright Red Nails: These are a classic choice that transcends seasons. In summer, opting for a bright, cherry-red shade can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your look. 

Dazzle Dry

Red Hot Chili

This has been my color this season. It's the perfect bright red with hints of orange and is just so fun.
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Nude Nail Polishes: Nude nail polishes are another timeless option that works well during the summer. They provide a clean, polished look that is perfect for both professional settings and casual outings. Nudes come in a variety of shades to match different skin tones, from light beige to deeper caramel hues. This makes them a versatile choice for a subtle yet chic manicure.



Trendy Summer Shades

Keeping up with summer nail trends can be one of the easiest ways to refresh your look. This year, some of the top trends include pastel colors, metallics, and unique finishes that add a modern twist to your nails.

Pastel Colors: Pastels are soft, muted shades that are perfect for the warmer weather. Light lavender, baby blue, and sage are all popular choices. These colors are not only trendy but also offer a subtle pop of color that is both refreshing and sophisticated. 

Dazzle Dry

Light Blue

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Metallic Finishes: Metallic nail polishes add a touch of glamour to your summer look. Gold, a silver shimmer, and rose gold shades are particularly popular and can make your nails look like they’ve been dipped in precious metals. These finishes are perfect for evening outings and special occasions during the summer months.

Iridescent and Holographic Polishes: For those who love a bit of sparkle, iridescent and holographic polishes can be fun. This is too bold for me, but my girls love this iridescent purple – it gives major mermaid vibes. These polishes change color depending on the light and angle, creating a mesmerizing effect. 


Matching Nail Colors to Skin Tones

Choosing the perfect nail color also involves considering your skin tone. Certain shades can enhance the natural beauty of your skin, making your nails look even more stunning.

Fair Skin Tones For fair skin tones, light pastels, and soft pinks work beautifully. These shades provide a delicate contrast without overwhelming the natural paleness of the skin. Additionally, bright reds and corals can add a striking pop of color that looks especially vibrant against lighter skin.

Medium Skin Tones Those with medium skin tones can experiment with a wide range of colors. Rich blues, greens, and warm oranges are all excellent choices. These shades complement the natural warmth of medium skin, enhancing its golden undertones.

Dark Skin Tones Dark skin tones look incredible with bold and bright colors. Neon shades, deep purples, and metallic golds are particularly striking. These colors offer a beautiful contrast and highlight the richness of darker skin tones.


Short Nails in Summer

Ok, so I’m a short nails year-round kind of gal. Short nails are often more practical and easier to maintain, especially during the active summer months. And having short nails doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. Vibrant shades and trendy colors can make short nails look just as stunning as long ones, and they’re so much easier to work with. 

Bright Colors on Short Nails Bright colors like electric blue, neon yellow, and vibrant pinks can make short nails pop. These shades draw attention to the nails and make them look more prominent, creating a bold and stylish look.

Minimalist Designs Minimalist nail art is a great way to add some flair to short nails without overwhelming them. Simple geometric shapes, tiny dots, or a single stripe can add a modern and chic touch to your manicure.


Neutral Nails 

You might not think of neutrals when you think of summer nail colors, but I love neutrals for summer. Especially white. For those who prefer a more understated look, neutral nails are always in style. Neutral shades like beige, taupe, and soft pink are perfect for any time of year, including summer. They provide a clean, elegant look that can be easily dressed up or down.

Beige and Taupe: Beige and taupe are versatile shades that match well with any outfit. They provide a sophisticated and polished look that is perfect for both professional and casual settings.

Soft Pink: Soft pink is a classic neutral that adds a touch of femininity to your nails. It’s a subtle yet beautiful shade that complements all skin tones and is suitable for any occasion.

White: My sister hates my white polish but I love it so much. There’s something so fun and bright (to me) about white polish. It goes with everything and really pops in the summer months. 


My Favorite Clean Beauty Products

I made the switch to clean beauty years ago and my skin has never looked or felt better. These are the best products I've been using for years.
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The Importance of a Top Coat

Regardless of the color you choose, applying a top coat is essential to maintaining the longevity and shine of your manicure. A good top coat can prevent chipping, add extra gloss, and ensure that your nails look freshly painted for longer. It’s one of the best ways to protect your nails from the wear and tear of summer activities.


The key to a perfect manicure this summer season is not just in choosing the right color but also in maintaining your nails with a good top coat and regular care. So, this summer, take the opportunity to try out new shades, follow the latest trends, and have some fun with your nails.


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