Anyone who knows me is fully aware that nail art is one of my passions. There’s nothing quite like walking out of the salon with a fresh set, whether that’s long, glossy extensions or intricate gel designs on my natural shorter nails. I love sharing all the different looks I get over on my Instagram, which, like many beauty enthusiasts, I find is the absolute best for nail art inspo.
TBH, I can actually find it a little overwhelming at times. There are so many incredible nail salons and artists out there, many of which I have experienced first-hand. That’s why I wanted to write this piece; to share the ultimate cool girl edit of summer nails, all in one place, from the people who really do it best.
More nail art inspiration:
- 15 festival nail ideas for a summer of singing, dancing and basking in the sun
- The 6 nail trends you are about to see everywhere this summer
- Margot Robbie loves this low-maintenance mani, here’s how to try it yourself
- The best celebrity nail art to inspire your spring / summer manicure
- Check out all of the latest nail art trends here
Who to follow for summer nail art inspiration
Some of my favourites include the amazing Marissa Marsh, who has nailed (no pun intended) every nail art assignment I have ever given her – including the most intricate blue waves, Pride rainbows, detailed flowers and many more.
And for DIY nail art inspiration, I always turn to Melanie Graves (AKA Overglow Edit), whose videos give you all the tools and products to achieve a salon finish at home.
Check out my full list of those to follow for nail art inspo here.
Which salons are best for nail art?
When it comes to salons, I’m a little biased. I live in East London and firmly believe we have some of the very best artists here, including those that work in Shoreditch Nails, Colour Riot, and Still London. Head across the river to South London and you’ll also find some gems, from Ama in Brixton to Cherry Bomb Nails in Peckham. There are amazing places all across the country, too – if I visit Manchester any time soon, I’ll certainly be getting a mani done by the brilliant Georgia at The Gelologist.
Below, I’ve collated my favourite finds from a range of brilliant Instagram accounts, including – don’t judge me – a few from my own that I am still super excited about. All of the designs I’ve chosen are perfect for summer occasions, be it holidays, festivals, hen dos, or even weddings.
Keep scrolling for pure mani magic.
1. Barbie girl
2. Ice cream tips
This cute Hawaiian hibiscus design will add a tropical touch to any bright and colourful mani. I reckon these nails will look particularly fetching when wrapped around a cocktail in a pub garden this summer.
4. Cherry on top
5. Abstract nails
6. What’s your aura?
Aura, chrome and 3D nails are set to be two of the hottest nail art trends for this summer (pun most definitely intended), but why wait to get all three?
7. Swimming pool blues
Even if you’re stuck at your desk this summer instead of sipping a daquiri poolside, these nails will provide a moment of calm and relaxation. I’m typing my imaginary OOO as we speak…
Spice up your classic French mani with a gemstone – or five.
9. Golden tips
Perfect for a special occasion, you can’t beat a gold glittery tip.
10. Red & pink pick’n’mix
Pick’n’mix nails are the ultimate summer choice – I love these ones with red and pink.
11. Simple multicoloured pastels
Don’t fancy nail art? You can still add en edge to your mani with different pastels on each nail.
12. Simple monochrome
Another great choice for those who prefer an understated vibe.
13. Hot pink flames
Will flames ever go out of style? I think not, especially in this neon pink.
14. Mini egg nails
Can’t quite leave spring behind? Opt for these delicious-looking nails.
15. Classic tort
Tortoiseshell may seem like a great option for Autumn, but it’s really a winner all year-round.
16. Purple clouds
Switch up your classic blue clouds for this lilac hue.
17. Neon tips
Neon yellows and oranges are super in right now, so embrace them for summer.
18. Cute hearts
These mini hearts work for any season, but would look super sweet during the warm weather.
19. Luscious lemons
This zesty design will attract all the attention from fellow nail art fans.
20. Social media @’s
Perfect for the biggest fans of Insta, TikTok, and Twitter.
21. Chrome tips
Play with a different finish like these metallics.
22. Pretty flowers
You can’t beat a pastel flower for a wedding or summery hen do.
23. Soft pastel marbles
Can’t decide on one shade? Combine four.
24. Checkerboard style
Newsflash: checkerboard isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
25. Rainbow tips
Perfect for Pride month – and beyond!
26. Simple smileys
There are so many ways to rock a smiley nail – but I love these pale blue ones!
27. Intricate pick’n’mix
Got time to spare? This mani is worth sitting around in the salon for.
Is there anything more summery than sunflowers? I think not.
29. Red hot chillis
Chilli peppers on a pink tip french mani? I’m sold.
30. Neon dots
I’m a little obsessed with neon this summer – can you tell?
31. Palm leaves
I love the mix of pale pink and bright green in this design.
32. Rainbow squiggles
Take this pic to the salon for a bright, happy mani.
Feeling inspired and want to have a go at doing your own nails? Eliza editor Jo Bridger’s guide to how to do the perfect DIY gel manicure at home has everything you need to know.