Summer nails are a THING! For summer 2023, we’re seeing nostalgic, candy-hued nails, easy-to-use press-ons and more. Keep reading for all our top recs for nontoxic nail polish colors AND exclusive to TNK codes to save!
By: Nicolle Mackinnon
IN THIS POST:
- Candy-colored nails
- Neon nails
- Neutral nails
- Negative space designs (include stickers)
- Metallics + glitter
- Press-on designs
- Exclusive discount codes for TNK readers
Painting my nails is a bit of a vice for me. Well, not so much a vice as a weekly self-care activity (see that reframing? I took a lesson from Lisa). Though I can’t say I’m a profesh when it comes to at-home manicures, I have improved immensely thanks to both the Olive & June clean up brush, and the Dazzle Dry at-home better-than-gel kit (more in-depth reviews of both can be found here).
I also use painting my nails as a way to prevent chewing, biting, tearing and peeling my cuticles. It works when I’m not super anxious, and having my nails done makes me feel put together without much effort (seriously, get the Dazzle Dry kit—you can have a smudge-proof mani in less than 20 minutes, I KID YOU NOT…and check out this hack for using it with any nail polish color you already own).
So, I’m always eager to see what new nail trends are around the corner, hence why I’m your guide for summer nail trends. Here come the hottest colors, designs and more to swipe on your fingers (or toes) right now.
RELATED: Read our complete guide to choosing the best nontoxic nail polish here.
Summer nail trends: candy-colored nails
We’re leaning into nostalgia here with candy-hued nails reminiscent of your favorite childhood candy. Think Smarties (though whose favorite candy was Smarties? I’d like to know), bubble gum, taffy and the like.
Olive & June Counselor in Training | $9
A light, frothy orange that brings to mind those Schwans orange sherbet Push-Ems that my friends used to have stored in their basement (read: kid) freezer.
What’s more candy-esque than bubble-gum pink?! Super light, almost-white pinks have been all the rage for years now, but this brighter pop of pink brings the trend into summer 2022.
A laurel green with just enough blue in it to remind me of those melt-in-your-mouth mints that used to be in a candy bowl on all office receptionists’ desks, everywhere (obvs, this was pre-WFH).
côte No. 84 Purple Lilac | $18
Nearly the exact shade of grape Laffy Taffy, amiright? Also, bonus points that it’s the shade of my favorite late spring / early summer flower.
Summer nail trends: neon nails
We’re still in the nostalgia realm with a doubled-down focus on neon nails for this summer, a trend that’s more Y2K than tearaway pants.
Olive & June Hot Strawberry | $9
I once had a boyfriend who, when I jumped into his Pathfinder for a trip to his family cabin wearing a bright-pink nail polish color, said, “Whoa, that is really bright—not really my family’s style.” Needless to say, that was NOT a long-term relationship. This shade reminds me of that color—and that I should not care what other people think. 😂
This is a bold pop of fluro orange that I can see going amazingly with wide legged cargo pants and a crop top. I refuse to add a bucket hat though.
If you’re going neon, go ALL OUT. And what’s more late 90s than a nail polish that’s the color of Nickelodeon’s Slime?
Dazzle Dry Plastic Soul | $22
Want to be on trend but don’t want to make the brightest splash? This neon purple is the hue for you—it’s bold, but a little less bright than a neon yellow, and has a lovely blue undertone.
Summer nail trends: neutral nails
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: neutrals are always in. But this season, we’re going soooo neutral, it’s like you’re not even wearing polish—the sheerer the better. Gasp!
RELATED: The best way to get a no polish manicure.
A very sheer white that works on many a skintone, which can be hard to find. This is for the person who wants a pulled together look without any distractions.
Dazzle Dry Prima Ballerina | $22
Remember when French manicures were SUPER in (like not just for reality stars with square acrylics)? Yeah, they’re back. And this is the perfect sheer pink base.
Speaking of the French…here’s your perfect sheer taupe for French manicures or for a last minute mani that you don’t have to worry about coloring outside the lines with.
good.kind.pure Coconut Milk | $7
A milky white sheer that’s more cool-toned than pink-toned, and a must-have for your neutrals arsenal.
Summer nail trends: negative space manicures
A little more expertise is needed for these more complicated manis (aka an at-home attempt might leave you looking more like you taught a finger painting class), but take these to a nail salon for inspo / snag this Olive & June nail art brush set before attempting these on your own. The goal? A clear base with a fun pop of color.
Half Moon Manis
This one can be done at home (I’ve tried), though it takes a bit of practice. Choose your fave on-trend shade and swipe on carefully after applying a clear base coat.
Another simpler negative space mani that I would try on my own. Again, that Olive & June brush set is invaluable, but then all you need are a couple complementary shades to criss cross on your nails.
Very modern and yet Gatsby-equse, no? I love the monochrome of the detailing here, but it’s NOT something I’d go after at home.
Color Pop French Manicure
Okay, I KNOW this can be done at home because, it me. Yeah, I did that French manicure cum bold colors mani and I didn’t even have that O&J brush set I said you should get! If you can do a French mani on yourself, you can do this trend.
RELATED: Quarterly Faves: Summer 2022
Summer nail trends: metallics + glitter nails
Once, in third grade, my mom painted my nails a metallic blue over the weekend and then when I got to art class on Monday, some snotty-nosed kid made fun of them. So I guess what I’m learning from writing this trend report is that a) I have some traumatic memories that involve nail polish and b) all the things that were cool when I was a kid are now cool again. Metallics and glitter nail polish included.
Olive & June The Glitter Minis Set | $43
Hop all over this sparkly train and do not miss a stop with this glitter minis set. You’ll get a gorg array of colors for whatever your whims and also WHO DOESN’T LIKE A MINI?
I have to say that sometimes I love a dark mani for the bright summery days—it’s totally a mood, and this gunmetal gray, shimmery dark polish is a go-to.
The best part about glitter nail polish, IMO, is that it’s kinda fool proof. You don’t have to paint perfectly, and it’s easy to peel off of your cuticles if you make a mistake. This glittery gold is top of my list.
Olive & June Sprinkle Cookie | $9
Combine the candy-colored trend with the glitter trend and get this practically polka-dotted manicure. Come to think of it, it kinda also hits the negative space mani movement, so this is an easy choice.
good. kind. pure Golden Quartz | $9
Warm, rosy, golden… what more could you want in a metallic polish? I love the hue of this shade, which leans closer to rose gold IMO.
Summer nail trends: press-on nails
The last time I tried to do press on nails, I ripped them off after approx 5 hours because I’d put one of them on slightly crooked and it was just getting my perfectionistic goat that I had done it wrong (also, I was 12 and my fine motor skills were not as well honed as they are now). Thankfully, the press ons of today are simpler and easier on your nails (in fact, we did a whole review of them here). Bonus: You can easily rock some of the summer nail trends we’ve already talked about without going to a salon.
Olive & June Cockatoo Press Ons | $10
Take your candy-hued mani to the next level with this pinky lavender shade that is basically the same shade as my favorite Tangy Taffy flavor.
Olive & June Jewel Pop Press Ons | $10
I have this neon blue shade in O&J’s polish and it’s my favorite for this summer. It’s like you dipped your fingers into a bright turquoise ocean.
Olive & June Neon Rainbow French Press Ons | $12
Neon? ✅ French manicure? ✅ Negative space? ✅ Press ons? ✅ You’ve got 4 trends in one with these bold press ons.
Olive & June KAG Press Ons | $12
For someone who wants ease and sophistication without the messiness of liquid polish. A perfect combo of the neutral trend and the press-on trend, and in an on-trend shape to boot.
A take on the metallic nails style with even more ease in a press on. I love that these skip the grittiness of a glittery polish, while giving you solid gold fingertips.
RELATED: Winter nail colors and trends.
Exclusive discount codes for TNK readers
- Code THENEWKNEW will save you 20% off all Olive & June systems (including Mani, Pedi & Complete Systems).
- Code NEWKNEW will save you 15% sitewide at Dazzle Dry.
- Code TNK15 will save you 15% on your first order at The Detox Market.
What’s your go-to summer nails shade?
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ErinApril 24, 2022
Hi Lisa, are you doing a kit with your color selections for 2022? Any color trends to watch for this summer?
Lisa FennessyMay 8, 2022
Hi Erin! I am not doing a kit with O+J this year BUT we are publishing our summer nails color and trend recs in the next few weeks. Nicolle writes our nail trend posts so stay tuned for that! Thanks for checking in. xo, L