Whenever I’m on the hunt for some nail inspiration (really anything beauty inspo) I turn to one place: Instagram. Especially now that a more social summer is on the horizon, it’s become my one-stop-shop for the best summer nail designs out there that I can try out once the sun begins to shine.
So what exactly are the Instagram devotees loving? Well, of course the usual: think lots of metallics, the occasional French manicure, and of course, tons of florals. Then, there are more out-of-the-box looks such as mirrored finishes, three-dimensional designs, and ombré colors that are painted in horizontal gradients rather than the typical vertical style. From New York City all the way to Paris, nail lovers are posting up with their best manicures for the season, and now it’s your time to take notes.
Ahead, 10 nail designs I’ve spotted on Instagram that are ideal for any nail lover — from the most minimal of minimalists to a true nail maximalist with tons of color and embellishments.
Summer Nail Design: Psychedelic Mirroring
Think of this look as a nail foil of sorts. You can either hit up your nail tech for the ornate look or you can create it yourself with the help of some nail wraps.
Summer Nail Design: Sakura Florals
Rather than appearing to lay on top of the nails, a sakura floral mani looks like it’s actually underneath your nail. That’s because the flower is applied or painted to the base of the nail, then coated with a thick gel coat to finish, giving it a glass-like effect.
Summer Nail Design: Mixed Line Art
For the abstractionist in you, manicures like these allow you to play with shapes and colors without having any rules. Consider it a perfect manicure if you’re not quite ambidextrous enough to tackle a more complicated design with your non-dominate hand. Pick a nude base, and simply adorn as you see fit.
Summer Nail Design: Imperfect French Tips
Perfection is overrated, especially when it comes to manicures. No steady hand, no problem, just drag your polish brush across the tip of the nail for a perfectly imperfect design. Throw an accent nail in there if you want even more flair.
Summer Nail Design: Simplistic French
It’s safe to say that the French manicure is here to stay. But if you want to put a spin on it, only coat one side of the tip on certain nails, or adorn with nail jewels.
Summer Nail Design: Vibrant Ombrés
We’re accustomed to see ombré’d nails that extend vertically, but when it’s designed horizontally, it’s so much cooler. Furthermore, it’s an opportunity to incorporate even more colors than you could if you went the traditional route as you can extend the color melting across your entire hand.
Summer Nail Design: Kawaii Flowers
The perfect vacation nail, these colorful and tropical flowers are the perfect complement to a colorful wardrobe. Even if you don’t have plans to travel this summer, this manicure will assuage your wanderlust for a few more months.
Summer Nail Design: 3D Texture
As if nail design couldn’t get any more innovative, meet the three-dimensional manicure. The look is created by layering hard gel in different patterns, and topping with metallic nail chrome.
Summer Nail Design: Taupes
Let’s face it, a neutral-toned manicure will never go out of style. However, it’s even better when you layer different shades for added dimension. Create simple strokes across a muted canvas for a nude style that goes with everything, and don’t be afraid to play with matte and glossy finishes.
Summer Nail Design: Stained Glass Manis
Colorful nail foils layered atop each other create the perfect stained glass look. For even more dimension, line-art portraits create a true masterpiece on the nail bed.