Whether the sun makes an appearance or not, these are the hottest looks you and your nails are going to want to wear this summer

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Summer is here (no really, it is) and that means it’s time to ditch the darker and more sultry nail polish shades we’ve been loving during the darker months and find some lighter, brighter nail designs that will make you happy every time you look down at your hands. But where to start?

“Social media is a great place to find nail inspiration so I often point clients in that direction,” says nail technician and owner of nail salon Cloū, Danae Gooch who is also the co-host of beauty podcast The Beauty Download Podcast. We certainly witnessed that when Hailey Bieber glazed donut nails almost broke the internet last year not to mention the rise of the pierced nails trend. “But also tap into your mood, how you feel and what you’re up to. If you’re off on holiday and planning on wearing brighter tones then why not choose a colour to match? Or if you’ve got a series of different things in the next fortnight and need your nails to suit a few different moods and outfits opt for something a little more neutral like the milky nails trend that we’re currently seeing.”

Gooch also predicts that nail art is going nowhere. “Nearly all of my clients are asking for a little bit of nail art, whether that’s a really subtle and small heart on a ring finger, using negative space to create a design or a touch of metallic or glitter on the tip or around the cuticle. I love that nail art has become something for everyone, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how long your nails are you can always find something that suits you.”

So, with all that in mind, we’ve scoured the internet to find a plethora of summer nail designs to take along to your next appointment. From colourful tips, designs inspired by Greek holidays, there's even a mani to match your Matcha and looks to suit every nail length and shape. Happy manicuring! 

1. Double-dipped

Why have one coloured nail tip, when you have two? We love the use here of the same tone in a lighter and darker shade, but you could choose two contrasting or complimentary colours too.

2. Under the sea

Take inspiration from the sea for your next summer manicure, whether you will be dipping in it or not. These cute starfish make a whimsical design to copy against a gorgeous backdrop of sea blue or green.

3. Strawberries and cream

Arguably the dessert of the summer season so of course that makes it prime inspo for nails too! Here it has been teamed with daisy and block strawberry red nails but there’s no reason why you couldn’t have strawberries adorning every nail.

4. Evil eye inspired

Whether you’re spending the summer in Mykonos or just dreaming about it, why not let your nails take you there with this gorgeous design that incorporates a protective evil eye with subtle flecks of gold leaf. Gorgeous.

5. Watermelon sugar

If strawberries aren't for you then another contender for fruit-inspired designs is the watermelon. We particularly love how a neon coral colour has been used in this look and then carried on to the tips. But our favourite moment has to be the watermelon slice filling the natural curve of the nail bed.

6. Streaks of glitter

Glitter in the sunshine is a match made in nail heaven. If you’re not sure about committing to it all over your nail then do as has been done here and have it focused around the tip. Here a different colour has been used on each nail but you can, of course, go with one shade on all.

7. Gelato drips

Managing to strike that perfect balance between being summery and fun but still stylish and cool is this melting ice cream design. This is a great option for shorter nails as the length of the drips can be adjusted to fit the nail bed. We love the pastel shades used and the nude tone used on the base of the nail.

8. Pastel stars

For some reason stars always feel like more of a Christmas nail design but by utilising soft pastel shades it instantly makes it feel summery and looks exceptionally pretty. The elongated design of the starbursts makes nails look longer too.

9. Matcha mani

If you’re not matching your mani to your matcha tea from cult coffee house, Blank Street, are you even living your best 2024 life? Also a great way for those who aren’t partial to a cup of the green stuff to indulge in the gorgeous, light and bright shade.

10. Moments of pink

Whether you’re pink-obsessed or you fancy a bit of pink but not too much then this sort of look works for everyone. You could, of course, have more block-coloured nails or none at all, plus this is the sort of style that (if you have a steady hand) you could do yourself at home.

11. When life gives you lemons

Then get yourself a lemon-inspired manicure! We love everything about this look, from the soft pastel colours to the lemon designs. It’s a great way to try pastel yellow on your nails without committing to a block version of it, but more importantly than that it’s fun, joyful and is bound to make you smile.

12. Pearl nails

Pearl skin has been a huge skin and makeup trend so it’s not surprising it has made its way to nails too. And it is arguably the easiest way to nail (pun intended) the trend as it just involves a few coats of shimmering white polish. An easy look to do yourself but make sure to spend a bit of time on the prep as lighter shades like this can highlighter ridges and flaws on the natural nail.

13. Summer sunset

A look that ticks lots of boxes. It’s a little bit low-key thanks to the natural base colour but then has a moment of colour with the pink, orange, purple and blue ombre moment at the tip of the nails. This is a great option for shorter nails as it makes nails look longer.

14. Flower Power

Gardens are in full bloom and so should your nails. Shorter nails will appreciate a larger flower to fill the entire nail and we love how the colours are reversed on each hand.

15. Sage green gorgeousness

A little earthier in tone than Matcha green, this tone looks great against all skin tones and is arguably a little easier to match with your wardrobe as it works with navy, black, white and grey.

16. Gingham print

It’s one of the big trends for the summer, so of course you can transfer gingham to your nails too. This requires a very steady hand to endure the straightest of lines, so either look out for pre-designed falsies, nail stickers or book in with a pro.

17. Touches of blue

Whether you’re dreaming of a week away on a Greek island, or if that’s where you’re headed in the summer - take inspo from the gorgeous, true blue of Greece and incorporate it onto your nails. We love just a hint of the floral design peeping from different angles.

18. Pastel tips

Switch up your regular white-tipped French manicure for something a bit more colourful with pastel shades instead. Putting all the colour at the end of the nails does mean that it looks best when there is a bit of length to the nail but you don’t need to have super long nails to make it work.

19. Punchy polka dots

Such a simple look - if you have a steady hand this may even be a spring nail design you could do yourself at home - but it’s so effective. Choose three colours you love and cluster small dots around the tip of your nails.

20. Mermaid glaze

We’ve already mentioned Hailey Bieber glazed donut nails and this is the even more glazed version. It can be recreated by your nail pro using chrome powders for maximum light-reflecting shine. It’s also a great option for less obvious regrowth.

21. Little bit of love

We love the coordinating pink tips with the love heart and simple spring nail designs like this are bound to make you smile. We also think by isolating the heart motif just to the ring finger stops it from looking too twee.

22. Micro-mani black-tipped French

One of the chic-est nail designs for the season (in our opinion). Another great option for less obvious regrowth as the base nail polish colour should be as close to your natural tone as possible and the black tip needs to be as thin as possible.

23. Top and bottom

Again, keeping the base colour of your nails neutral allows you to play with colour at both the tip as well as around the cuticle. We love how it has been done here with two coordinating shades.

24. Marbling

If you normally opt for a French manicure but fancy trying something different without it being too much of a step away from your comfort zone, then this is the look for you. Stick with your usual pink base but then use the white to create marbled lines across the nails instead.

25. Neon frame

Hot neons look good any time of the year but particularly when the sun is shining. Why not take the neon onto the tips but then also frame down each side of the nail for a more modern look?

26. Smell the daisies

One of the most appropriate summery nail designs, we think. The daisy motif is quite delicate and by keeping them framed to the oval shape of the nails they look sophisticated. This look does require some length and a very steady hand!

27. Metallic framework

Rose gold metallic polishes are the most flattering of all as it works with all skin tones so why not get your nail pro to adorn your base colour (we love it here with a soft pink but it would also work really well with white, bright pink and lilacs) with some different lines.

28. Milky nails

This is probably the key nail trend of the moment. Milky nails are all about using a colour that’s a little bit pink and a little bit white. It very much plays into the clean-girl and low-key aesthetic and works on absolutely any nail length. It’s also a super easy spring nail design to do at home.

29. One-sided affair

There is something exceptionally pleasing about the one-sidedness of this nail look and we love the use of teal-blue.

30. Summer goth

Of course, you can wear black nail polish in sunny months, but if you want to soften it slightly, this sort of look is a great way to go. It combines the block black nails and then the most subtle nail art on some of the nails. We love.