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30 Must-Try Summer Nail Colors for 2023

UPDATE summer-nail-colors-thumbnailUPDATE summer-nail-colors-header
Photo by Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images

It’s time to ditch your winter wardrobe staples and look forward to summer Friday’s, popsicles, sunsets, and (our favorite of course) upgrading your beauty routine. You’ll want to swap out those ultra-hydrating skincare products while making sure you’re stocked on SPF and essentials to keep your skin calm, cool, and collected with the rising temps.

But there’s one thing you can’t forget to spruce up in the name of beauty; your summer nail polish collection. As always, it’s the best season of nail art and funky colors. Summer nail colors truly never disappoint. Nail expert Evelyn Lim has a few nail related words to live by. For one, she encourages DIY nail artists to never be afraid to wear any nail polish color they feel a connection with. If you plan to experiment with summer nail trends and nail art, Lim suggests choosing shades within the same color family for a harmonious look.


About the Expert: 

Evelyn Lim is the chief educator at Paintbox, a cutting-edge nail studio located in New York City.

Below are 30 summer nail polish colors you're about to see everywhere this year. Read on to find your new fave (or faves!) so you can plan your nails all summer long.

1. Electric Blue:

LAKUR ENHANCED COLOR BY LONDONTOWN in Iconic

LAKUR ENHANCED COLOR BY LONDONTOWN in Iconic
Courtesy of LONDONTOWN

This color screams happy. It will match your Outdoor Voices tote bag and will complement more outfits than you think. It’s bright and bold but for some reason ties things all-together. Electric Blues are great colors to try a colored french tip nail look too.

2. Sunshine Yellow:

OLIVE & JUNE in Lemony Lemon

OLIVE & JUNE in Lemony Lemon
Courtesy of OLIVE & JUNE

You may be thinking bright yellow is odd for a nail color but trust us! Yellow nails are in and they’re SO summery. You’ll see just how cute they look when you serve a fresh pitcher of lemonade at your next summer BBQ. Pair with white or orange nail art to really elevate the look or break up the bright color and its boldness.

3. Peach Pit:

STATIC NAILS in Peachy Keen

STATIC NAILS in Peachy Keen
Courtesy of STATIC NAILS

Peach will always be in for summer. It’s not quite coral and it’s not even close to orange. You might find a peach nail complements your skin tone if you have peachy or slightly red undertones. In a way, peach is kind of the new neutral? But definitely more fun.

4. Green Apple:

GUCCI in Melinda Green

GUCCI in Melinda Green
Courtesy of GUCCI

We have been seeing green nails EVERYWHERE. And they’re not going away anytime soon. This viral nail polish from Gucci can be seen all over Instagram. Despite being picture-worthy, the Melinda Green color looks stunning on. It’s not a neon green so it pairs well with all skin tones & gives an editorial feel.

5. Edgy Neutral:

ESSIE in Urban Jungle

ESSIE in Urban Jungle
Courtesy of ESSIE

In our opinion, the best neutral nail leans a bit more on the white/cream colored side. Urban Jungle is the perfect neutral nail color for summer with an alabaster finish. You can wear this on your nails as is or couple with nail art or decals.

6. Trendy Periwinkle:

EMILIE HEATHE in Emma

EMILIE HEATHE in Emma
Courtesy of EMILIE HEATHE

Periwinkle nail trends are taking the lead from the Pantone color of the year, Very Peri. Periwinkle nail polishes are a staple in any collection. They’re the perfect mix of pastel purples and light blues and can put the finishing touches on any summer sundress.

7. Sun-kissed Orange:

SMITH & CULT in Fade the Sun

SMITH & CULT in Fade the Sun
Courtesy of SMITH & CULT

To pair with sunkissed skin and salty hair, orange nails with a hint of iridescence are incredibly unique. Fade the Sun by Smith + Cult has both orange poppy undertones and a bit of fiery red. We’re definitely trying this shade this summer.

8. Watermelon Sugar:

STATIC NAILS in Watermelon Stand

STATIC NAILS in Watermelon Stand
Courtesy of STATIC NAILS

Harry Styles approved of course. This punchy watermelon color will go with just about anything. You can dress it up or down. It’s an age-old eyecatching color that looks great on all skintones. Try pairing it with some rose gold nail art!

9. Celestial Magic:

CIRQUE COLORS in Azure Dream

CIRQUE COLORS in Azure Dream
Courtesy of CIRQUE COLORS

Coachella may be over but this nail color still has much to experience all summer long. This festival-ready color is so simple yet such a statement with its iridescence. You can wear on its own or use as a top coat to a brighter color. This color shimmers blue and purple tones but Cirque Colors has an entire array of these magical nail polishes.

10. Arizona Desert:

PAINT BOX in Like Canyon

PAINT BOX in Like Canyon
Courtesy of PAINT BOX

A dialed down terracotta perfect for lighter skin tones. This is an ideal color to pair with floral or swirl nail art designs. Let this color be your ode to summer as fall rolls in. It’s an ideal transition color.

11. Nice Navy:

ESSIE in Infinity Cool

ESSIE in Infinity Cool
Courtesy of ESSIE

Dark colors can be great for summer too! Navy will always be a nautical staple from clothing to accessories. The same goes for your nails! The color will look sleek against tan skin and your favorite coastal grandmother white button up shirt.

12. Watercolor Sheer:

DIOR Nail Glow

DIOR Nail Glow
Courtesy of DIOR

Similar to what a rosy cheek tint does to your cheeks, this nail polish gives a quick swash of pink color to your nails. You’ll look like you came straight from the salon, cuticle oil and all. It’s an ideal base for intricate nail art, a french manicure, or to complement your natural nails on their own. This product is a must-have for anyone who’s nail polish obsessed.

13. Barbie Pink:

OLIVE & JUNE in Fierce & Loving

OLIVE & JUNE in Fierce & Loving
Courtesy of OLIVE & JUNE

Hot pink is a reigning summer-nail champion! Perfect as a nail art accent or painted on each of your fingers. Neons will always look great with tan skin and summer styles. We love Fierce & Loving by Olive & June to create the perfect Barbie Pink nail.

14. Minty Fresh:

ESSIE in Mint Candy Apple

ESSIE in Mint Candy Apple
Courtesy of ESSIE

Don’t be fooled by its cool appearance - this color is great for any season. However, it really shines in the summer time when pastels are having their moment. Mints & seafoam greens are must-try colors reminding us of Easter Eggs and the sounds of the ocean.

15. Rose Gold:

SMITH & CULT Nail Polish in Fosse Fingers

SMITH & CULT Nail Polish in Fosse Fingers
Courtesy of SMITH & CULT

Looking for a modern twist on the classic pink nail? Bring in a hint of gold. As this ultra-elegant shade features an even mix of both cool and warm tones, it's a perfect pick for any undertone or skin tone. Plus, golds tend to be the perfect complement to sun-kissed summer skin.

16. Classic Red:

NAILS INC. Gel Effect Nail Polish in West End

NAILS INC. Gel Effect Nail Polish in West End
Courtesy of NAILS INC.

As much as we love testing out the trending color of the season, there are some classic shades that will simply never go out of style. So it goes with a cherry red, a punchy color that pairs perfectly with the intensity of summer. This bright, slightly coral-toned version of the shade gives the nails an ultra-glossy, high-shine gel finish with the durability of gel polish.

17. Intergalactic Purple:

PEAR NOVA Classic Lacquer in Rooftop 'Til You Drop

PEAR NOVA Classic Lacquer in Rooftop 'Til You Drop
Courtesy of PEAR NOVA

The warm, clear nights of summer are perfect for stargazing. When you want to add a little bit of that dreamy after-hours pastime into your day, reach for a shimmery shade of deep purple. With blue specks of shimmer, this grape hue instantly becomes 10 tiny portals into outer space—no telescope required.

18. Army Green:

TRUST FUND BEAUTY Nail Polish in Spring Detox

TRUST FUND BEAUTY Nail Polish in Spring Detox
Courtesy of TRUST FUND BEAUTY

If you tend to prefer more muted colors, try a sophisticated olive shade. It still embraces all the vegetation summer brings but has a more elegant, understated effect. Plus, this shade will look absolutely stunning on those with olive or dark skin tones.

19. Tart Tangerine:

ESSIE Nail Polish in Tangerine Tease

ESSIE Nail Polish in Tangerine Tease
Courtesy of ESSIE

Looking for an orange polish that's a little bit brighter? Channel the abundance of fresh fruit that summer brings with this tangerine-inspired shade of ESSIE nail polish. This glossy shade looks stunning on its own, but top it with a glitter top coat and it'll be pure summertime magic.

20. Confetti Top Coat:

JINSOON in FAB

JINSOON in FAB
Courtesy of JINSOON

Sport a polish inspired by the happiest party favor there is: confetti. With a clear base, this polish is packed with rainbow flecks that add a potent punch of fun to an otherwise classic mani. Use alone or on top of a bright color of your choice!

21. Iridescent Cream:

PEAR NOVA Classic Lacquer in Sip, Sip... Sanctuary

PEAR NOVA Classic Lacquer in Sip, Sip... Sanctuary
Courtesy of PEAR NOVA

While many of summer's best shades are bright, that doesn't mean neutrals are out of the question. However, now is a great time to add a touch of fun to the minimalistic shades by adding in a touch of sparkle. This dreamy cream color is a bit softer than a stark white, making it a top pick for anyone in search of a delicate manicure that still feels fresh and fun.

22. Terracotta:

PRETTY WOMAN NYC Nail Polish in Better Latte Than Never

PRETTY WOMAN NYC Nail Polish in Better Latte Than Never
Courtesy of PRETTY WOMAN NYC

As the weather helps your flower pots take off, you may feel like using your garden's color palette as inspiration. To do just that, try using an earthy terracotta shade as a base. For something sweet and simple, you can stop here. But if you feel like going the extra mile, adding a little bit of floral nail art will make your fingertips look just like your collection of blooming buds.

23. Electric Green:

TRUST FUND BEAUTY Nail Polish in Vodka With a Twist

TRUST FUND BEAUTY Nail Polish in Vodka With a Twist
Courtesy of TRUST FUND BEAUTY

This ultra-vibrant neon green color will instantly make a statement, whether you use it as your primary color or as part of a nail art design. The shade will look great on any skin tone, but for those with dark skin tones, this electric green will make those fingertips absolutely glow.

24. Neon Yellow:

TRUST FUND BEAUTY Nail Polish in Celebrity Crush

TRUST FUND BEAUTY Nail Polish in Celebrity Crush
Courtesy of TRUST FUND BEAUTY

If that electric green polish from LAW BEAUTY wasn't quite bright enough for you, here's the neon nail polish of your dreams. If your M.O. is to make as much of a statement as possible as you reenter the world this summer, these fluorescent fingertips are sure to direct all eyes to you.

25. Pastel Blue:

COLOR CLUB Nail Polish in Get Lost

COLOR CLUB Nail Polish in Get Lost

Here's another shade of blue that will work against tanned summer skin. Reminiscent of both blue skies and the waves on your favorite beach, it's a transitional shade that works flawlessly whether you sport it when it's 60℉ or 110℉.

26. Bubble Pink:

SUNDAYS Nail Polish in L.01

SUNDAYS Nail Polish in L.01
Courtesy of SUNDAYS

When you need a reset from the trendy, saturated summer nail colors, opt for a barely-there pink. This polish from the clean nail care brand SUNDAYS makes for an ideal happy medium: It's subtle but still has an ever-so-slight iridescent sheen to incorporate a little bit of summer fun.

27. Pastel Purple:

NAILS.INC Nail Polish in Lilac Grove

NAILS.INC Nail Polish in Lilac Grove

This soft, pastel shade is a seamless way to transition from spring to summer. It matches all the blooming blossoms of spring, yet still feels fresh and fun to wear in the warmer months. For a multi-colored manicure, try pairing this with a soft peach or a golden green—two colors Lim is especially excited to wear this summer.

28. Pure White:

SUNDAYS Nail Polish in No. 01

SUNDAYS Nail Polish in No. 01
Courtesy of SUNDAYS Nail Polish in No. 01

If you want to make your summer tan look particularly striking, pair it with pure white nails. The one tricky part about white nail polish is that sometimes the color can begin to yellow. To keep this from happening, Lim suggests wearing gloves while doing cooking or cleaning tasks around the house, as harsh chemicals can react with polish and cause discoloration. UV light can also cause white polish to turn color. To prevent this, try using a top coat that contains UV protection.

29. Bronze:

ESSIE Nail Polish in Get Your Groove On

ESSIE Nail Polish in Get Your Groove On
Courtesy of ESSIE

For those with warm undertones, a bronzed mani is the perfect match for your skin's golden glow. When paired with gold jewelry and that summertime tan, these nails will add both sophistication and glam to any occasion.

30. Coral Blast:

MISCHO BEAUTY Nail Polish in Diana

MISCHO BEAUTY Nail Polish in Diana
Courtesy of MISCHO BEAUTY

There's a reason coral shades are a top-selling summer polish year after year. The certified summer classic is universally flattering, pops well against tanned skin, and pairs perfectly with the other warm, bright colors that are so popular during the warmer months.

Stay up to date with all the latest nail trends from colors, nail art and techniques. Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia is a freelance beauty writer. With experience in influencer marketing at Tata Harper Skincare and editorial at Very Good Light, she loves covering Gen Z beauty, wellness, and nail trends. Read her work on Very Good Light and Well + Good.
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Article Last Updated March 6, 2023 12:00 AM