Halle Bailey’s Pearl-Studded Mermaid Manicure Will Dominate Nail Salons This Summer

Just make your appointment now, okay?

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Halle Bailey gold headband at Avatar 2 premiere

The best decade-defining trends can take a while to really ramp up and reach full-scale critical mass. In the case of mermaid manicures, poised to be one of the most popular styles of the summer, they’re like the final form of earlier 2020s beauty crazes. Combining chrome finishes with nail-art charms, the pearlcore aesthetic, and a general love for all things under the sea, Halle Bailey’s mermaid nails are more than just a sweet not to her biggest role yet — they’re true works of art.

It was expected that The Little Mermaid’s titular star would arrive at the movie’s world premiere in a show-stopping ensemble themed around her character, but Bailey’s look was even better than anticipated. The actor arrived on Disney’s blue carpet in an iridescent, clamshell-bodiced gown and her signature locs long and flowing. Always a stickler for rich detail, it’s Bailey’s nails that really tie the entire look (and her after-party outfit) together. Featuring tiny sea-green jewels and pearls inlaid through rippling, turquoise-colored nail beds, the Yoko Sakakura-created manicure is the most brilliant finishing touch and a clear labor of love.

Combine the fervor surrounding the new Disney film with the beach-goddess feel of the mermaidcore trend, and you’ve got summer’s top manicure.

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Over on her Instagram, Sakakura shared a breakdown of exactly what went into Bailey’s elaborate mermaid manicure. Using Aprés Nail Gel-X nail shade Secret Lagoon with some chrome-finish Heavenly Top Gelcoat in Angelic layered over it. To secure the itty-bitty beads, Sakakura sealed each nail with a coat of Aprés Nail Diamond Gel, followed by the brand’s Top Gelcoat X. Sakakura’s worked with Bailey on several intricate nail looks for high-profile events, but this might be the ultimate.


Part of what makes the manicure so major are those carefully-applied pearls, a motif reflected in all sorts of summer beauty, fashion, and accessory trends this year. Pearlescent eyeshadows, face gems, belts, jewelry, bags, sunglasses, and phone cases are reigning supreme, many of which featuring shell detailing to boot. TikTok’s even filled with videos of users attaching flat-back pearls to their hair with assorted tools.

With Bailey’s new nails upping the mermaid-everything ante, expect plenty more pearly manicures on similarly stylish stars all summer long.