Summer-ready aesthetics usually include stunning mani/ pedis with brilliant summer nail colors. There is a cool color option for every preference and style. Not only will we show you our top picks for the best summer nail colors, but also, we’ll let you know the best way to maintain your nail color and the health of your hands and summer nails.
The truth is everything about summer can cause issues for your nails, which actually grow faster at this time of year. Read on, keep the precautions in mind and try out as many summer nail polish colors as you like! If you would like to recommend any or have tried some of the summer nail colors on this list, let us know your favorites!
In this article:
Our Picks of the Best Summer Nail Polish Colors
Perfect for matching to your short summer dresses or those cute off-the-shoulder tops, our picks of the best summer nail colors are bright, fizzy and cheerful, including lots of neons, pinks, yellows, and summer blues.
1. Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Giallo Napoli
If your summer aesthetic includes a manicure with the perfect summery shade of yellow, then Chanel’s nail polish in Giallo Napoli is one of the perfect summer nail colors for you. The color is even cheerier and brighter on than it looks through the bottle. The high-shine finish and long-lasting wear won’t let you down, and the happy color will definitely be noticed. Get a bottle for your upcoming summer looks from Nordstrom!
2. Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Suburban Warrior
Suburban Warrior is one of those prettiest summer nail colors that straddle the line between warm and cool shades. The incredible shade of fuchsia is opaque with a glassy shine finish. The applicator is well shaped for an easier application process and perfect streak-free result. This color looks great on all skin tones so order one for yourself from Net-a-Porter today!
3. OPI Nail Lacquer in Gelato On My Mind
The OPI nail polish in Gelato On My Mind is a soft blue summer nail polish color that is surprisingly bright and enigmatic. The applicator brush is excellent, allowing for easy application. The formula is designed to be ideally opaque, chip- and fade-resistant. Order or pick up a bottle of your own from Ulta!
4. Context Nail Lacquer in Ain’t Love Strange
Context’s quick-drying nail lacquer has a mirror-shine finish and well-pigmented opaque summer nail colors. The formaldehyde- and toluene-free formula is considered one of the best, and the color Ain’t Love Strange is described as a soft dusty pink. If this aligns with your summer aesthetic, order a bottle from Revolve and perfect your summer mani and pedi!
5. Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Polish in 118 Oui!
Marc Jacobs Beauty provides incredible, highly pigmented summer nail colors and in no nail polish is this as evident as in the brilliant sparkling magenta violet shade known as 118 Oui!. The glitter within the polish is so fine that it creates an impeccable shimmer effect even within the richness of the color. Get a bottle (designed to be reminiscent of a smile) for yourself from Sephora!
6. Base Coat Nail Polish in Krissy
Base Coat prides itself in providing health-safe nail polish that is responsibly made. Their efforts have turned out a slew of summer nail colors including Krissy, an ultra-light pastel shade of mint green. Each custom-formulated bottle is hand-poured and nontoxic. Order a bottle for yourself from Nordstrom!
7. Essie Nail Polish in Play Date
For those of us who love purple, Essie brings one of the most ideal summer nail colors around, a soft rich lavender known as Play Date. This color is a certified fan favorite in the group of 70 different shades of nail polish. The nail polish finish is flawless, with ideal opaque coverage and a chip-resistant formula. Grab a bottle for your collection from Ulta!
8. Christian Louboutin Beauty Nail Polish in Crosta Meteor
If your dream summer nail polish color is vivid and unexpected, then Crosta Meteor is for you. The bright orange color is everything you want in a highly visible manicure. The triangular brush ensures an easy, streak-free application and finish, and the formula creates a high-gloss shine. Get a bottle of your own from Net-a-Porter!
9. Dior Vernis Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer in Muguet
Muguet is a vibrant yet soft peachy pink that works with a variety of skin tones, making it a perfect choice of summer nail color. The glassy finish is chic, and the long-wear formula won’t let you down. It is a great gel-effect nail polish option that is actually still easy to remove. Get a bottle for yourself from Nordstrom!
10. Le Mini Macaron 1-Step Gel Polish in Pearlescence
Embrace your unicorn soul this summer trying one of the most mesmerizing summer nail colors known as Pearlescence, which is a pastel iridescent shade with soft reflecting shimmer. This is a perfect day to night color for summer nails and it’ll look cute both alone and in combination with other colors from this list for creative summer mani. Get your bottle at Ulta!
11. Zoya Nail Lacquer in Genesis
Zoya’s professional lacquer comes in a wide range of shades, including bright and bubbly summer nail colors. For those looking for the perfect option, white is always a summer nail polish staple. Zoya’s entry into the fray of the white nail polish color options is Genesis, a crystalline white nail polish that will look great from every angle. Pick up a bottle from Ulta and have the perfect summer manicure!
12. China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Highlight of My Summer CR
What better summer nail color is there but one named Highlight of My Summer? China Glaze’s nail lacquer formula includes hardeners designed to help your nails, extend the life of your manicure and provide an easy and interesting summer mani and pedi. The soft, light green polish definitely won’t blend in, further improving its perfection as a summer polish option. Pick one up for yourself from Ulta!
13. Givenchy Beauty Nail Polish in Pink Perfecto
Pink Perfecto is the ideal soft shade of neutral pink summer nail polish by Givenchy. The color has full, rich pigmentation that is further enhanced by the super glossy finish. The application is foolproof thanks to the curved brush and great formula. Order yours from Net-a-Porter!
14. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Rhapsody Red
Sally Hansen produced a 2-step at-home gel nail polish system to give you the long-lasting, high-shine finish of a gel manicure at home. The system needs no light to cure, and the shades of nail polish are bright and rich. The perfect example of great summer nail colors is Rhapsody Red, a brilliant ruby red shade of nail polish that is perfect for summer. It even comes off as easily as regular nail polish. Get yours from Ulta as the perfect addition to your summer colors!
15. Nails Inc. Fashion Fix Nail Polish in Jeans Pur Lease
Nails Inc’s nail polish comes in several easy-going summer nail colors, but Jeans Pur Lease is a soft, light blue denim-inspired shade that will go with all of your summer outfits. This is the color predicted to become a summer staple for everyone who owns it thanks to the great color payoff and long-lasting, high-gloss finish. You can get a bottle for yourself from Sephora.
16. Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Color in Dream a Little Dream
Deborah Lippmann’s nail polish is designed to give you a perfect gel manicure and all of the benefits like cushion and gloss as a gel manicure, but without any of the damage. Though you’ll still need a base and top coat, 2 coats of this polish is all you need to get the full impact of color, which in this case is known as Dream a Little Dream – a shimmering soft pink shade with a pearlescent infusion. You can get a bottle for your summer nail polish collection from Nordstrom.
17. ORLY Breathable Treatment+ Color in Rehab
ORLY’s nail lacquer is designed to be an all-in-one nail option. The formula is designed to give you a good punch of color, in this case a soft neutral pink known as Rehab. The formula also produces full-opaque coverage in fewer coats with a longer-lasting wear, as the treatment included in the lacquer gives you longer, stronger and overall healthier nails. You don’t even need a base or top coat. Get a bottle for yourself from Ulta!
18. Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Mink Brule
Tom Ford’s famous nail lacquer is known for its excellent formula and high-gloss shine. Mink Brule is one of those striking summer nail colors with the right amount of depth to make it rich but the perfect amount of lightness to really enhance the shine. You can order or pick up a bottle from Nordstrom.
19. Le Mini Macaron 1-Step Gel Polish in Sparkling Sea Salt
If you are looking for a glittering shade of blue-based green, Le Mini Macaron has the perfect shade for your nails – Sparkling Sea Salt. This one-step gel polish is smoothly applied and perfect in only one or two coats. One of the prettiest summer nail colors, this shade is only available online, but can be purchased at Ulta.
20. OPI Nail Lacquer in How Does Your Zen Garden Grow?
OPI’s latest collection of nail lacquer includes the soft mint green shade known as How Does You Zen Garden Grow?. While the name is fun and whimsical, the color itself is equally so, the perfect shade to carry from spring into summer for a light but fashion-forward look. Order a bottle or two from Amazon!
21. Sally Hansen Insta Dri Nail Color in Peach Buzz
Warm peach nail color is definitely not a shade to be overlooked. Enjoy the new insta-dri formula and the lovely bottle shape. The formula is a combination of base coat, color and top coat for an impeccable summer nail look. Pick one up for yourself from Ulta!
22. Jessica Phenom Vivid Color in Copacabana Beach
Bright blue nail polish is definitely a good color to show on your summer nails. This particular shade of blue has a lightness to it that is enigmatic. The color is perfectly set and opaque with just two coats of polish. Get a bottle for yourself from Amazon!
23. Ella + Mila Nail Polish in Cause I’m Happy
The brilliant and bright orange color known as the smile-inducing Cause I’m Happy by Ella + Mila is one of the few summer nail colors offered in the online-only Samba collection. The formula is quick-drying and chip-resistant and blessedly cruelty-free and vegan. The color is as bright when dry as it is in the bottle, making it a perfect color for summer nails that you can pick up from Ulta.
Nail Care Tips for Healthier Summer Nails
Summer is definitely the time to have your nails out on full display. Whether it is your fingernails or your toenails on display with a single color or a design using a plethora of summer nail colors, your nails will look better on healthy hands and feet. Below you’ll find a few dos and don’ts to keep your hands, feet and nails looking spectacular all summer long. Be careful to avoid yellowing, brittle and weak nails and ragged cuticles.
Yellowing can be avoided by using double layers of base coat. Ragged cuticles can be avoided or healed by moisturizing and protecting them with a protective balm before swimming in the pool or in salt water. Both saltwater and chlorine can dry out and damage your cuticles.
Use a less strong nail polish remover when changing your summer nail colors. Protect your nails from the elements by using a base coat with a nail strengthener in it. Check out a few more helpful dos and don’ts below!
- Do use cuticle oil every day – it might seem excessive, but your hands will thank you!
- Do take vitamins, especially Biotin to help keep your nails growing healthy.
- Do drink lots of water, which helps your nails as well as your overall health.
- Do keep a bottle of moisturizing hand lotion with SPF around to use when you’re on the go. Make sure to use it daily on both your feet and hands.
- Do protect your hands with appropriate gloves when doing things like gardening, working with chemicals or tools.
- Do use a nail strengthening base coat to keep your summer nails protected from everything you can, including air conditioning, salt water, chlorine, UV rays and general damage.
- Do apply a top coat with SPF protection and keep in mind that applying two coats won’t hurt.
- Don’t use anything (like a hand softener or scrub) with lemon or lime juice before going out. Even if only a little is left on your skin, the combination of sunlight and lemon or lime juice can cause chemical burns.
- Don’t forget about your feet. Your feet will sweat more during summer and walking in sandals will expose your feet to a lot of light, dirt, heat and dryness.
- Don’t apply nail polish to wet nails. Wet nails are waterlogged and expand, which can ruin the finish of your nail polish, shortening the life of your manicure or pedicure.
- Don’t forget to shape your nails (both fingernails and toenails) when you cut them. It looks better and is safer.
Photos via @janicejoostemaa, Nordstrom, Instagram