There’s nothing like sporting a fresh eye-catching mani on your fingers to signal the official start of summer. You become an instant hand-talker, subconsciously posing for Instagram pics with your hands holding all of the things, and may actually enjoy hailing a cab on a hotter-than-hot day.
But when it comes to narrowing down what nail art design to get on your nails, sifting through all the options can be almost as overwhelming as creating a custom salad at Sweetgreen. In an effort to ease some of that anxiety (after all, a manicure should be a relaxing experience), we turned to a trio of trusted nail experts to give us the lowdown on all things trending nails for the summer: Nadine Abramcyk, co-founder of Tenoverten;Kristin Pulaski, owner of Paintbucket Nails; and Essie Global Lead Educator Rita Remar.
So what can you expect the fashion set to have on hand this summer? Lots of spins on the French manicure (now it comes with a floral twist and in Barbie pink), cow print is officially a thing, and, for those that like a more subdued look but taken up a notch, many manis with neutral hues and subtle designs that still give you that summery je ne sais quoi.
Read on for our favorite nail art inspo and must-have products recommended by the pros.
“Every girl deserves [nail] flowers. A perfect summer twist on the classic French mani, the Floral French will give you ethereal, chic vibes perfect for garden parties or simply to rock in your day to day as an unexpected, feminine burst of color.” — Kristin Pulaski
OPI My Gecko Does Tricks ($9)
OPI Do You Lilac It? ($9)
“A simple dot against a lighter background or a simple French manicure feels quite fresh for summer 2019.” —Nadine Abramcyk
Essie Topless & Barefoot ($9)
Beaute Galleria 2-way Dotting Tool Pen ($7)
As seen coming down the Opening Ceremony spring 2019 runway, black and white gingham nails are bold yet positively charming.
Essie Tribal Text-Styles ($9)
China Glaze White On White ($12)
Mismatched + Bright
“Mismatched nails give the effect of nail art without any detail work and are perfect for those who can never pick just one color. This look is achieved using five or more complementary shades and polishing a different shade on each finger. This look is especially great for the summer using vibrant neons like Soles on Fire or Tangoed in Love from Essie’s summer 2019 collection.” — Rita Remar
Essie Tangoed in Love ($7)
Essie Soles on Fire ($7)
Simple With a Twist
“Simple nail art is the way to go for a summer nail design look. We’re seeing people opt for a negative space half moon with a solid color, which is a chic yet subtle nail design and a great way to also make the nail look longer. I’m also loving linear nail art, a simple line down the middle of the nail looks great and even a bit like a beachy stripe” — Nadine Abramcyk
OPI Black Onyx ($8)
Essie Full Swing ($7)
Moon and Stars
“Another play on the French mani, this summer design is the perfect balance between classic simplicity and nautical elegance and is sure to complement any look.” — Kristin Pulaski
OPI Alpine Snow ($14)
OPI Clear Top Coat ($7)
“Bold prints are another trending manicure this season. Try the unlikely yet irresistibly cute Instagram hit of cow-print nails made famous by Ariana Grande and Kendall Jenner.” — Rita Remar
Essie Blanc ($9)
Essie Licorice ($5)
“Powdery blue hues, ivory silhouettes, and a geometric pop remind us of summer clouds against a city skyline; soft with just the right amount of edge.” — Kristin Pulaski
Essie Bikini so Teeny ($9)
Zodaca Nail Pen Kit ($2)
“You could also take a cue from the fashion print of the summer and polish tie-dye nails.” — Rita Remar
Essie Geranium ($9)
Essie Butler Please ($9)
Slice of Life
A juicy watermelon mani feels equal parts farmers market fresh and downright adorable.
OPI Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie ($11)
Essie Turquoise & Caicos ($9)
This wave style manicure evokes all the retro endless summer vibes.
OPI It’s a Boy ($10)
China Glaze Daisy Know My Name? ($8)
Essie Mojito Madness ($9)
Reminiscent of the yellow highlighter you had in high school, but with a posh fashion-forward twist.
China Glaze Lime Time ($11)
Fringe Guides DIY Line Tips White Nail Decals Stickers ($5)
The moon in all its phases, but on your nails!
Defy & Inspire Pack Your Bags ($6)
OPI Pink Ladies Rule the School ($11)
This reminds us of our favorite brunch cocktail. A frothy peach hue with bubbles of glitter and sunset hues at the tips.
Essie Tarte Deco ($9)
OPI A Mirror Escape ($7)
A clear base with a bright Barbie pink French tip feels beach blanket–ready.
OPI Hotter Than You Pink ($9)
OPI Natural Nail Base Coat & Top Coat Combo ($16)
A Splash of Sparkle
“I’m loving a concentrated glitter on a negative space accentuating the corner of a nail, across the tip and down one side to the cuticle. Smith & Cult has some great…