If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the little things in life, I think the spring/ summer 2020 nail trends are for you! We’ve got all kinds of exciting nail ideas, carefully curated from the New York, London, Milan, and Paris runways.
This was a season of opposites when it came to the nail shapes. The two standout nail lengths were naturally short or very long – so long that the nails were usually press-ons. Often, it’s these press-ons that acted as the canvas for the copious appliqué-based nail designs.
Otherwise, we also saw the classic rounded and square nails, guaranteeing that even the wilder summer nail colors can be applied to classic nail shapes. Speaking of, the most popular colors for the season were yellows, metallics, and reds, as well as lots of glitter.
On the tame side of the summer 2020 nail trends, bare nails, nude nail polishes, and French manicures were a big hit. For the artistic types, there were plenty of twists on the traditional French tips, both when it came to colors and designs. Let’s dive into the spring 2020 nail ideas!
Spring/ Summer 2020 Nail Trends: Shapes & Length
#1. Short Natural Nails
The runways proved that you don’t have to have fabulously long nails to have fun with nail polish. Models on a wide range of runways had nails that were filed down so short that they didn’t even have a free edge to go past the fingertips. This was the case on some of the runways we’d say were otherwise very over the top, like Anna Sui and House of Holland, where nails were covered in shiny polish.
#2. Long Oval Press-Ons
Oval press-ons add instant drama to the hand, but they are a little classier than a sharp and scary stiletto nail. The most fun thing about them is that you can just pop them on to feel a little more dangerous while sticking to practical short nails the rest of the time – we imagine that’s how the runway models felt this spring/ summer season!
We saw oval press-ons on a wide range of runways, including Afffair, Chromat, Marta Jakubowski, Courreges, and Oscar de la Renta.
#3. Naturally Round Nails
No surprise, but most models this season kept their nails in a rounded shape and at a normal length, with just enough free-edge to give length to the fingers but not so much as to make basic functions difficult. We saw this natural, round shape at Dolce & Gabbana, as well as Hugo Boss, proving that even the more dramatic runways can accommodate simple nail shapes.
#4. Stiletto Nails
Stiletto nails are the most dramatic of all, with their extra sharp shape and incredible length. Often compared to claws or talons, stiletto nails have a sharpness that nicely complements their femininity.
The clear stilettos at Halpern stood out, as did the extra sharp nails at Tom Ford, which were painted with a very ironically muted pink. We always expect to be wowed by nails at The Blonds, as well, which were sharp and heavily embellished.
Spring/ Summer 2020 Nail Trends: Colors & Designs
#5. Bare Look
If you’re the minimalist type (or, like me, simply low-effort), then this might be your favorite of all the 2020 nail trends – simply keeping the nails looking bare and natural, with just a light coating of a clear polish for strength and shine.
We saw such low-effort nails at Boss, which looked clean and manicured without any fuss, while at Chanel and Cynthia Rowley, bare but lightly glossy nails looked even simpler, if possible. At Coach, models rocked the most natural-looking manicure of all, thanks to a matte finish.
#6. Classic French Mani
A classic French manicure will never go out of style, since it’s like “no-makeup makeup” of nail polish, making the nails look just a hint smoother and the tips just a bit whiter. If you don’t want to do anything too unusual, this is one of the spring 2020 nail trends you can adopt.
A lovely French manicure paired nicely with the clean spring 2020 makeup and abundance of flowers at Prabal Gurung, while it gave contrast to the dark makeup at Max Mara. The French manicure at Khaite was just as lovely, with the white tips painted just a little bit thinner than usual, which had a finger-elongating effect that emphasized negative space.
#7. Accent Nail
Accent nails are not going anywhere, so for another season, you’re not restricted to using just one polish color over the entire hand. There weren’t too many consistencies about what an accent nail can’t or can’t be so you can get creative with your summer 2020 nail ideas, changing up which nail is the accent nail from mani to mani and playing with designs as well!
The accent nail at Afffair was often decorated with an extra-large appliqué, while in other instances it was just press-on in a different shade, while at Off-White, as a twist the accent nail painted a different color was the index finger rather than the ring finger.
#8. Little Touch over Bare Nail
Whether these manicures play with minimalism or negative space, there is something lovely about adding a touch of something to a bare nail.
One of the nail designs at Kith, for instance, consisted of a bare-looking nail decorated with a single line of metallic nail polish going down the middle. At Zero + Maria Cornejo, little circles of blue decorated bare nails, sometimes showing up near the side of the nail, other times closer to the nail bed, and other times at the tips, making for a very unique and dynamic manicure.
#9. 3D Appliqués
The options for 3D nail appliqués were quite varied this season, ranging from sparkly and feminine to the more industrial, so no matter your style, this is one of the summer nail ideas we’re sure you can get behind.
Tibi was on the industrial side of things, with a loop of wire glued over taupe-painted nails. It was all about the drama at The Blonds’ Moulin Rouge-themed runway, with massive stiletto nails embellished with crystals, roses, and a ton of sparkle.
The CND team went way overboard in an artistic way at Libertine, where nails were stacked with florals, abstract shapes, and our favorite – more nails!
#10. Pearl Appliqués
Of all the gems and crystals, pearls had the biggest moment in the 3D appliqué subcategory of the spring/ summer 2020 nail trends. Pearls also had a showing as a hair and face decoration, so adding them to nails added nice continuity.
On the delicate side of things, a little pearl was added as an embellishment at the tips of nails at Simone Rocha. It was the same idea but turned up a notch at Alice + Olivia, where the French tips were covered with teeny-tiny pearls. Finally, at Adeam, pearls were clustered in the center of the accent nails, like little four-petal flowers.
#11. Hanging Appliqués
The hanging appliqués were so extra that they deserve their own section of the spring 2020 nail ideas, instead of being lumped in with the more reserved stick-on decorations.
There were chains hanging off the tips of long stiletto nails at Julien Macdonald, adding a bit of edgy sway to every hand movement, while at Bibhu Mohapatra, a crystal-studded chain was glued over the ring finger nail and extended out past the free-edge to dangle and shimmer.
At GCDS, the appliqués hanging from the tips of nails were actually little letter-charms in gold proclaiming the brand name!
#12. Clear Press-Ons
We’ve already mentioned massive press-ons as one of the spring 2020 nail trends, but whether oval or stiletto, many nail artists chose clear-press-ons to which they only added partial touches of colorful design or embellishment.
Blue and yellow ruled at Chromat, with these shades (along with the Chromat brand name) decorating clear nails without hiding their transparency. At Halpern, the lower part of press-on nails was painted with a design that emphasized negative space, making the clear tips on the extra-long stiletto nails seem even more special.
While most models at Area sported subdued nails, a few got the glam treatment with clear, almond-shaped press-ons decorated with gleaming crystal flowers. We also saw clear press-ons at Paula Knorr, and Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood.
#13. Colorful Tips
At this point, colorful twists on French tips are as acceptable as the original manicure with nail artists playing with a variety of shade options for these nail ideas.
It was all about metallics at Bibhu Mohapatra, with each nail tip painted a different shiny shade, including silver, gold, bronze, and gunmetal. The vibe was dark at Koche, with black nail tips replacing the usual white. Finally, at Nicole Miller, nail tips were matched to the eyeshadow with neon yellows and oranges.
#14. Off-Kilter French Manicure
Another way nail artists changed up the traditional French manicure for the spring 2020 nail trends was by slightly shifting its elements.
For example, at Kith, stripes of white were used both near the nail bed and on the tips, like a nail-hugging take on a French manicure, while at Ulla Johnson, the color was applied slightly off to the side, like someone took the typical tips and twisted them over.
#15. Nude Peach and Pink
A natural peach shade looks soft and delicate – it’s nearly a nude, but with a hint of added warmth that is so perfect for summer 2020 nail ideas. We think this shade offers a twist on the bare, clean manicure that ruled the runways.
We half expected the nails at Dries Van Noten to be painted gold, but instead, they were painted a natural pink-peach shade that suited all skin tones. The peach tone at Erdem was a little warmer but still natural and lovely against the more colorful garments. We also saw peachy-pink shades used at Longchamp, Etro, and Helmut Lang.
#16. Yellow Nails
When it comes to colorful spring nail trends, yellow was by far the most popular nail polish color on the runways that wasn’t trying to pretend to be a nude.
At Lela Rose, the yellow nail polish was rich and warm, verging on orange but not quite. Jin Soon Choi used a variety of colors for manicures at 3.1 Phillip Lim, and yellow actually stood out as one of the brighter shades.
Neons ruled on the Pam Hogg and Mark Fast runways, where nails were painted with all kinds of colors, yellow chief amongst them.
#17. Red Nail Polish
The sexiest of the 2020 nail colors is obviously red, which is timeless and seductive. Red nails were paired with red lips in the most retro way possible at both Dolce & Gabbana and Moschino, while at Kate Spade and Marco de Vincenzo, where solid nail polish colors ruled, a red tone was one of a few colors.
#18. Wine Red
While it might seem like a better shade for autumn, the fact of the matter is that luscious and dark wine red was one of the big spring 2020 nail ideas that stylists had in mind.
What better shade to pair with the intense smokey at Guy Laroche then a deep and dangerous wine red? The shade added an upscale touch to shorter nails. Deep burgundy nails at Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya were mostly extra-long and artificial, and shaped in a variety of different ways.
#19. Gray Polish
In addition to simple nudes, you also have the option of rocking gray nails – the color that we think of as the spring 2020 nail trends alternative to harsh black. It’s still an edgy shade, but it’s a little lighter and softer.
On the Matty Bovan runway, ultra-short nails were painted with a glossy warm gray shade, which almost seemed like a nude. At Marta Jakubowski, ultra-long press-ons were painted a whole range of light shades, including gray. There were a few different nail colors at Marco de Vincenzo, and gray was by far the most subdued of them all.
#20. Glitter Nails
Glitter is one of the more festive summer nail trends, but it’s easy as well! The best thing about glitter nails is that you can keep things simple and wear it alone or layer it over any kind of nail polish shade you like.
Models wore a glittery variation on French tips at Christian Siriano, with the tips painted a green-gray shade with a silvery glitter decorating the entire nail. Glitter was one of the star elements of the entire beauty look at House of Holland, where the same shade of glitter enveloped both the eyes and the nails.
Finally, at Vivetta, chunky, colorful glitter jazzed up a peachy nail turning a soft manicure into something playful.
#21. One Dot
Nail artists eschewed twee polka dots for the 2020 nail designs, and instead opted to dot single dots for a more minimalist and chic effect.
At Rag & Bone, one of the main nail designs was a dot above the nail bed over a solidly painted nail. At Oscar de la Renta, the dot was placed similarly right above the nail bed, but with a nail design that gave us a colorful take on the French mani.
#22. Animal Print Nails
It’s notable that animal print was one of the big summer nail ideas, considering animal prints weren’t big on the runways otherwise (especially not compared to autumn!).
At Rebecca Minkoff, models sported Kiss press-on nails, with many of the accent nails decorated with a shiny tiger print. The ‘80s-inspired neon nails at Jeremy Scott were very busy, with both zebra and leopard print designs decorating many of the conspicuous press-ons.
#23. Metallic Polish
Metallic is in for the spring 2020 nail trends, but we’re staying away from obvious shades like gold. Instead, it was all about the soft, pink metallic polish covering short nails at Anna Sui, with a few models sporting a similar nail look at Pam Hogg. On the more dramatic side of things, extra-long press-ons at Julien McDonald were colored in shiny chrome gradients.
#24. Artful Nail Designs
There were some stunning spring 2020 nail designs that leaned in a more artistic direction, with colors and shapes that will surely inspire fans of extravagant nail art.
Sketchy lines of color over bare nails at Pyer Moss looked like abstract art, while at Roland Mouret a similar line-based manicure was actually put together to match the jewelry each model wore.
One of the more abstract designs at Jeremy Scott consisted of colorful geometric shapes over a solid black nail. At Christian Cowan, gel nail strips were the secret behind the artful designs decorating long nails.
Photos via Livingly