Whether you strategically pack a week in advance or throw everything into your suitcase 45 minutes prior to heading out the door for your destination, there’s one thing you won’t want to leave behind for your trip: your favorite nail polishes for a beach vacation. In fact, any beauty lover knows bringing along your go-to summer shades is equally as important as packing your bikinis.
Of course, you’ll want to prepare for the possibility of your nails getting damaged and becoming brittle while your fingers are emerged in saltwater. Therefore, applying a clear top coat is essential if you’re planning on going into the ocean as it’ll provide extra strength to your nails. Additionally, according to Dear Sundays, “a nontoxic gel will hold up better against the salt water, sand, and sunscreen than regular polish.” In that case, consider swapping your regular formulas for a gel.
To add to that, your nails should be protected from the sun just like the rest of your body. With that being said, it’s smart to choose a top coat with UV protection, such as Butter London’s Hardwear Shine UV Top Coat. Pro tip: In case your nails chip from the ocean or sand, throw the polish into your beach bag for any necessary touchups needed.
Stumped on which color to pack? Continue scrolling down to browse 21 nail polishes perfect for your upcoming trip. There are some beachy trends below that'll probably never go away, and a few surprising choices — because is there any better time to be a little extra than when you're lounging on the beach?
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Looking to make a big statement with your vacation nail polish? Lime green will no doubt do just that. When it comes to the trendy color, you can go with a light Shrek-like shade with OPI’s Pear-Adise Cove. On the other hand, if you want a hue that’s more of a slime green, try out Suite Eleven’s Quarter Water shade. Side note: Consider picking up a green smoothie at a juice shop on the boardwalk for the perfect photo opportunity with your gorgeous vivid polish.
Listen up, minimalists: Match the sand with nude nail polish. Because no, you don’t have to choose a bright neon hue for your beach polish. In fact, the shade will pair well with any bathing suit you decide to wear for your day in the sun.
Pink is a huge trend in fashion this season, so why not coordinate your nails with your chic ensembles? Specifically, consider a bright shade for an eye-catching look. For this, you have plenty of polishes to choose from — for instance, People Of Color’s Low & Slow or Zoya’s Nail Lacquer in Dacey. And if you want a hue that skews more on the orangey-pink side, look to Smith & Cult’s Plastic Beach.
A summer go-to for years, the white nail polish trend shows no signs of slowing down. And why should it? It goes with everything, is appropriate for any occasion, and can instantly enhance your (faux) tan. Despite hot white's everlasting popularity, a pale nail is always slightly unexpected; even if you choose a shimmer or off-white instead of the classic opaque hue.
Is there a more beach-ready color than coral? Not a chance. The shade breathes summer vibes, even if your vacation is in the middle of winter. When going with coral, you have options, too: Do you want a bright shade or something paler, lively orange or delicate pink? However you choose, coral is sure to work out in your favor.
You're officially #OOO — so get a manicure that reflects it. Try out one of the creme nail polish shades you've had your eye on for a while, like one of J.Hannah's nail colors; each one is inspired by non-traditional nail polish shades, like those found in art or nature. Or, go with a color that fits into your off-work style playbook — like a dreamy, denim blue — but may not fly during office hours.
Like a bright, fun color, a metallic nail color kicks your vacation style up a notch; and going with a warm metallic versus the traditional cool chrome is unexpected. Eye-catching nails are in, and there are metallics for any mood (and comfort level when it comes to shimmer). You can try out one of Essie’s Summer 2021 Collection Metallic Gold Nail Colors, like its Get Your Grove On shade for a subtle shine. For a stunning rose gold metallic hue, doll up your nails with Olive & June’s OJSM polish.
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