21 Summer Nail Colors That Aren't Neon Yellow

Bright shades aren't your only option this season.

model holding up shimmery pink nails with rings around her face backstage at the Adeam Spring 23 show
(Image credit: Launchmetrics)

Anytime a new season rolls around, I find myself itching for a new set of go-to nail colors. Most days are bright and full of good energy now, so it only makes sense to match my manicure to the easy, relaxed feel of summer. Of course, there’s always the literal route with vivid neon polishes that gleam off your fingertips, but after chatting with experts on the top summery nail trends, I’m happy to report there are so many more options for your next favorite summer nail color.

Every year, there are a few classic shades that make their return—think crisp white and chic red nails. However, according to celebrity nail artists Sonya Meesh, Queenie Nguyen, and Gina Edwards, these shades are getting a fresh take for the season. And that’s not all—according to the pros, we’re going to see a slate of hues that scream “fun,” from chrome nails à la Saweetie to blues reminiscent of a clear sunny sky.

Keep scrolling to see which colors to tackle 2024's biggest nail trends with and prepare for your mani mood board to be full.

Bubble Bath Hues

A model at Di Petsa Fall 24 show backstage in a blue top showing milky white long nails

Cloudy white nails made an appearance on models at the Di Petsa Fall 2024 show.

(Image credit: Launchmetrics)

White nail polish is not new. In fact, Nguyen says it’s a nail color that crops up every year during the warm summer months. However, this year, the shade has a new, sheerer take. Nguyen calls it a “fresh and neutral shade perfect for summer,” adding, “Milky white gives a softer look compared to the classic white that usually trends during the hotter season." You can also opt for a sheer pink, or as the internet dubs it, "bubble bath nails", which is another twist on the shade, offering the same minimalist look. If you need further reason to try the pretty neutrals, Zendaya and Jennifer Lopez have already endorsed the trend.

Jell-o Jellies

In case you're not familiar, Meesh explains that jelly polishes are essentially glossy, sheer washes of color that look "stunning" on both long and short nails. Both Meesh and Edwards agree that the semi-sheer shades are ones to reach for this season. "Jelly colors always add softness and subdue an underlying color. They're delicate when worn alone, but remain very versatile," Edwards adds.

Chromed Out

A model backstage at the Di Petsa Fall 24 show holding up long pink chrome nails with head tilted

Another model at the Di Petsa Fall 2024 show had nails adorned in rose gold polish.

(Image credit: Launchmetrics)

Metallic, chrome finishes are here to stay, says Meesh, but not just for the summer. “It’s perfect for every season and is so adaptable,” she shares. “I consider it an extension of jewelry.” Nguyen is a big fan of the shiny shades too, pointing to the trend’s many varieties, from glazed donut nails to unicorn-like multi-color chrome. “Chrome nails overall offer an edgy, statement look for the summer,” she says. Opt for a chrome powder to use over any of your favorite shades, or go with an all-in-one polish for a quick and easy summer manicure.

Fiery Red

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Red in the beauty space has been heating up this year, and experts don't see any sign of it slowing down. For summer 2024, Nguyen recommends opting for an orange-toned shade instead of classic red nails. She explains, “You can never go wrong with red for any season, but a fiery orangey red for the summer is a perfect way to warm up the skin complexion.”

Hot, Hot Pink

Pop culture tends to have an effect on beauty trends, as we clearly saw with the release of 2023’s Barbie and the hot pink makeup that rose after. According to Nguyen, Barbiecore is still as popular on nails as ever, only this summer, it’s a more electric take. Think of this color trend as “the bolder version of the coquette aesthetic for the summer.” Bright pink also comes approved by Edwards, who recommends an opalescent shade like Deborah Lippmann's, Makin Whoopee.

Summer Blues

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Don’t mistake blue as a purely winter nail color. According to Nguyen, the shade, specifically sky blue and icy tones, makes a great addition to your cute summer outfits. “It’s a great contrast color to warm shades like orange, coral, red, or yellow for the summer,” she explains. “Sky blue is a bright and fun color to mix and match with other shades in your wardrobe.”

Peach Fuzz

Once Peach Fuzz was named Pantone’s Color of the Year, it was only a matter of time before the soft coral shade came for your beauty routine. Sure, you can try the trending shade with peach-toned beauty products like lipsticks and blushes, or you can take it a step further by wearing it on your nails. The fun shade will provide a welcome pop of color to your summer wardrobe, especially if you tend to stick to neutrals. Nguyen explains, “You can also play up this shade family by opting for a vibrant coral instead of a soft pastel peach.”

Meet the Experts

Sonya meesh in green jacket nail artist headshot
Sonya Meesh

Sonya Meesh is a non-binary multidisciplinary artist from New York City. Melding their background in photography, sculpture, glass, ceramics, and woodworking, Sonya's approach to nail design is rooted in experimentation and a meticulous eye for detail. Sonya has worked with celebrities including ASAP Rocky, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Maggie Gyllenhaal and has produced cutting-edge content for brands like Over Easy, Edie Parker Flower, Orly, and Deborah LippmannTheir work has been featured in The New York Times, Vogue, and Allure.

Queenie Nguyen nail artist headshot in white blouse and watch
Queenie Nguyen

Queenie Nguyen is a celebrity and editorial manicurist based in Los Angeles, California. She has worked in the nail industry for more than 13 years and specializes in natural nails and contemporary nail art. Known for her calm demeanor, personable nature, professionalism and detail oriented work, Queenie has proven to be a great asset to each project that she is apart of. She has worked with Halsey, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Tori Kelly, Kate Hudson, Saoirse Ronan, Zoey Deutch, January Jones, Margaret Qualley, Goldie Hawn, Barbie Ferreira, Elizabeth Banks, Kiernan Shipka, Constance Wu, Nicole Kidman, Mandy Moore, Carey Mulligan, Alessandra Ambrosio, Ashley Tisdale and many more. Queenie’s trendsetting work have been featured in eminent publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Refinery29, Elle Australia, Cosmopolitan, People, C Magazine, the Hollywood Reporter, and Vanity Fair. She also worked on beauty and fashion campaigns for Dior, New York & Company, Prada, Aldo, Piaget, Nordstrom, Sephora, Amazon Fashion and more.

Gina Edwards nail artist holding her blue nails over her head
Gina Edwards

Gina Edwards, a native New Yorker, first discovered her passion for nails during her studies as a psychology major to help pay for college expenses. It was there her personality shone, her eye for detail developed, and her love for nail art consumed her. Her clientele began to grow, she secured credits with top magazine and commercial clients, which led Gina into other areas of the industry. Gina has left her finishing touch on the nails of celebrities such as Taraji P Henson, Priyanka Chopra, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Tiffany Haddish, Gigi & Bella Hadid, Demi Lovato, Rita Ora and Mary J. Blige. Her work has graced the covers of US Vogue, Italian Vogue, Vogue Japan, Allure, Harper's Bazaar, Elle Magazine. She has been the global brand ambassador for Kiss products for many years and has led numerous fashion shows from Calvin Klein, Rebecca Minkoff, Alice and Olivia & Burberry to name a few. Gina continues to collaborate and forecast nail trends with brands in the industry.

Brooke Knappenberger
Associate Commerce Editor

Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she specializes in crafting shopping stories—from sales content to buying guides that span every vertical on the site. She also oversees holiday coverage with an emphasis on gifting guides as well as Power Pick, our monthly column on the items that power the lives of MC’s editors. She also tackled shopping content as Marie Claire's Editorial Fellow prior to her role as Associate Commerce Editor.

She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.