It goes without saying that most of my summer 2020 plans are currently...on hold. But even though I'll be staying put for the foreseeable future, I have zero intentions on putting off my summer nail art ideas. Like, who cares if I can't show off my nails in person—I'm using my summer manis to spark a little joy from the comfort of my apartment (and in my Zoom happy hours! And on my Insta feed!). That's why I rounded up the 20 prettiest summer nail designs to try out immediately, including rainbow color palettes and cow-print decals.
And since getting to a nail salon isn't a realistic—or safe—possibility for everyone right now, I even found a few DIY options that are easy enough for us ~noobs~. Prepare to screenshot your favorite looks and pick out your polish colors, ahead.
1. This rainbow nail art for summer
Can't decide on a single color scheme for your summer 2020 nail art? Mix and match your polish on each nail until you're left with a kickass rainbow manicure like this one. BTW: If you're attempting any DIY manicures this summer, make sure you have a few essentials on hand before you get started:
2. This cow-print nail design for summer
There's a reason you keep seeing cow-print nail art on your Insta feed. It's neutral enough to wear for weeks on end (like, who would get sick of black and white?) and since it doesn't require any clean or sharp lines, it's fairly easy to DIY, too. BRB while I recreate this super creative approach from Alicia Torello.
3. This daisy nail design for summer
I love everything about this daisy nail design for summer, from the muted color palette (liiike, can you just with that moody yellow-green base?) to the itty-bitty detailing. It's super wearable, too, so you can plan on pairing it with any damn nail shape you please.
4. This star nail art for summer
The best thing about this summer nail design is that it's suuuper easy to recreate. All you'll need is a light pink nail polish, a shiny top coat, and a pack of nail art stickers. Prepare for everyone to think you got your mani professionally done.
5. This yellow French manicure for summer
You already know the French mani is having a ~moment~ right now, so why not jump on board with this cute yellow design for summer? The key to recreating this look is choosing the right yellow nail polish—you want something brighter than a pastel, but not quite neon.
6. This ice cream nail design for summer
Get that perfect holding-an-ice-cream-cone-whilst-looking-cute pic this summer with this ice cream drip mani in alternating colors. To get this look, use a bobby pin (or a dotter tool if you're fancy) to drop a spot of polish where you want your drip to be, and then drag it toward the tip of your nail.
7. This picnic nail art for summer
Give your nails the picnic-blanket treatment with a bold red-and-white checkered pattern. The key to this nail art? A thin striper brush to make sure the edge of each square is super sharp.
8. This fruit nail design for summer
Basically all of your favorite fruits are in season during summer—so what better way to show them love than by painting them all over your nails? BTW: If nail art isn't really your thing, you can def get away with using a few stickers here.
9. This paint splatter nail art for summer
These multicolored paint splatters make the perfect summertime mani, thanks to the bright colors and super-easy application. Pick your favorite shades, simply dot the polish onto your nails, and finish the look off with a clear top coat.
10. This cherry nail art for summer
If you're going for a retro summery look, you'll love these fun cherries. Keep the design limited to a few nails and paint the rest neutral, or go full-throttle and throw a cherry on each nail. Either way, you'll need the perfect red nail polish.
11. This floral nail design for summer
You can't go wrong with floral decals for summer. Start by drawing pastel florals on top of a bold red nail by dotting on each petal, filling it in with polish, and finishing it off with a different color in the center.
12. This colorful nail design for summer
Don't feel like you need to stick with basics and nudes this summer. Instead, opt for an OTT rainbow look like this one. To copy it, paint your nails like you would a French manicure, but instead of white tips, swap them out for colorful free edges.
13. This minimalist nail design for summer
If you want a simple design that still stands out, try these neutral nails with a minimal dot of color by each of your cuticles. Oh, and speaking of cuticles, you might as well invest in a good serum while you're at it:
14. This holographic nail design for summer
Shiny, holographic nail polish liiiiives for summer. And because a mani like this changes colors in sunlight, it's like having two or three colors on your nails all at once.
15. This color-blocked nail design for summer
Pick four colors to paint on each nail in a gradient from light to dark and you'll be left with a super cool nail design for summer. Anyone else going to try out this purple, red, and black combo?
16. This striped nail art for summer
If you aren't afraid of asymmetrical nail art, you should try these wavy lines. The way these stripes curve differently on each nail offers a look that's 100 percent unique.
17. This abstract nail design for summer
An abstract tropical print like this is so spot on for summer. Between the vibrant leaves and the bold colors, this manicure pretty much looks like a Hawaiian shirt.
18. This succulent nail art for summer
Succulents are great plants to grow in summer—especially since they're easy to maintain and don't need that much water—so why not feature the cute lil guys on your nails?
19. This tie-dye nail design for summer
Tie-dye prints are basically synonymous with summer, and these teal, pink, and yellow swirls will definitely pop on each of your nails. Just make sure you bring the whole look together with a shiny top coat.
20. This multicolor nail design for summer
Don't shy away from color this summer. If you have a lot of nail polish colors to choose from and can't decide on just one, this multicolor mani is the way to go.
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