The 24 Best Summer Nail Colors for 2023, According to Nail Pros and Editors

Bright shades aren't your only option this season.

Shakira Barrera, bag detail, attends the red carpet premiere of Freevee's 'Sprung' at Hollywood Forever on August 14, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It is officially warm-weather season, and I don’t know about you, but my beauty routine couldn’t be more ready. I’ve spent the last several months slathering on thick moisturizers, wearing wine-red lipstick, and painting my nails dark, moody colors. Now, with bright and sunny days in full tow, I’m ready to fully commit to beauty that suits the season. Think ultra-glowy skin, fun, colorful eyeliners, and megawatt-bright eyeshadow. Looking for a more low-key way to get in on the warm-weather trends? Turn to the best summer nail colors. 

Sure, classic summer brights never really go out of style, but I wanted to dig deeper into the shades we’re going to see everywhere during the summer of 2023. To find out, I turned to celebrity manicurist Sonya Meesh and founder of the nationwide nail salon chain GLOSSLAB, Rachel Apfel Glass, for the exact colors to reach for this season. Expect to see the biggest nail trends of the year continue to shine (spoiler alert: glazed donut nails aren’t going anywhere), plus a few unexpected shades for when you want to switch it up. Ahead, the best summer nail colors to serve as your next mani inspo. 

Classic Red

Red nails aren't necessarily a trend per se, and that’s because it's considered a classic no matter the season. “Red is back before it ever really left,” says Glass. However, Glass says her clients have been “loving” the shade as of more recently. It was just a few months ago that the “red nail theory,” the idea that wearing red nail polish attracts more romantic attention, went viral on TikTok. Whether you believe the theory or not, red nails are never a bad idea for summer. 

Jell-o Jelly

If you can’t shake your favorite neon shades this summer, might we suggest trying them out in a jelly version? Jelly nail colors are essentially glossy, sheer washes of color and they look stunning on both long and short nails, explains Meesh. For this trend, we recommend going bold and bright with shades of red and orange, or you can always paint a single coat of your favorite polish for a similar trendy effect.

Viva Magenta

With Greta Gerwig’s Barbie set to release in July, 2022’s Barbiecore color trend isn’t going anywhere. Not only has the fashion set been obsessed with all things Barbie pink as of late, but Pantone also named Viva Magenta as the color of the year. Glass says the bright magenta shade “rivals the typical shades from the pink color family” so instead of turning to the ballet slippers of the world, opt for this fun, punchy color instead. 

Micro Shimmer

If you thought the glazed donut nail craze of 2022 was behind us, think again. This year, though, shimmery colors are an “evolution” of the trend, Meesh says. They explain, “It’s much easier to achieve and works as a base for nail art or the perfect plain shade.” Looks for polishes with ultra-fine, micro glitter to hit on this nail color trend. 

50 Shades of Blue

Glass says she’s noticed a huge uptick in blue shades at GLOSSLAB. “Everyone's reaching for the color in all different shades to pair with their spring and summer looks,” she adds. With this nail color trend, whatever suits your fancy is going to work. Prefer extra bright polishes for summer? Opt for a cobalt blue. Or maybe you like a subtle shade on your nails. In that case, go for a pale robin’s egg blue. Whatever your favorite shade of blue is, you can’t go wrong. 

Chromed Out

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,” they add. “I consider it an extension of jewelry.” Of course, you’ve got your pick from the typical metallic colors such as gold, silver, and rose gold, but there’s also fun shades like metallic pink, purple, and blue available on the market, too. 

Cool-Girl Green

No, we’re not talking about pastel green or neon lime. The ultimate “cool girl” nail look for summer, Glass says, is olive green. “The darker shade is a huge trend this spring and summer and strays from the typical neons and pastels,” she explains. Instead of your neutral nudes and pinks, opt for olive green this summer—we promise it’ll still go with everything you wear. 

Poppy Power

You really can’t go wrong with poppy orange for summer, and Meesh says as much too. “I will always love a bright orange in the summer,” they say. “It works well on every skin tone.” You heard it from the pro—opt for the shade and other brights when you're in need of more color this season. They will look especially good against a white summer dress and post-vacay tan. 

Meet the Experts

Sonya meesh nail artist
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 Lippmann
Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Vogue, and Allure.

Rachel glass founder of Glosslab
Rachel Apfel Glass

Rachel Apfel Glass is the founder of the modernized manicure experience GLOSSLAB, with locations in NY, NJ, CT, FL, TX, DC and MD.