The 25 Best Summer Nail Colors of 2021

·6 min read

It’s hard to believe we’re just weeks away from the official start of summer. And though we may still be missing our usual beachside barbecues and big get-togethers with friends this year, you better believe we’ll still celebrate the return to warmer weather with some festive pops of color on our fingertips and toes. Because now more than ever it’s important to enjoy the little things, right? Here, the 25 best summer nail colors to wear all season long.

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1. Jin Soon Nail Lacquer in “Aero”

Clear eyes, full hearts, baby blues. That’s how the saying goes, right? This calming shade reminds us of perfectly clear summer skies and makes us just as happy whenever we swipe it over our nails.

Buy it ($18)

2. Olive & June Nail Polish in “Bold & Unshaken”

It’s hard to put your finger on this purple polish at first glance. It’s a touch brighter than lilac, but not as deep as royal purple and there’s an almost backlit fluorescence to it. Though the color itself is ambiguous, the bold finish is inarguably impactful.

Buy it ($8)

3. Orly Nail Lacquer in “After Glow”

Is it even summer if you don’t rock a bright coral polish? This peach-toned hue is so bright, it’s almost glowing (which is especially great for pedicures).

Buy it ($10)

4. NCLA x Sivan Ayla Nail Lacquer in “Rose Spritz”

A brilliant pinky mauve just might be our summer 2021 shade. It’s the rare color that looks just as good on your fingertips as it does on your toes.

Buy it ($16)

5. Olive & June Nail Polish in “Bright and Focused”

Need a pick-me-up? Don’t we all. This sunny shade has a vibrant finish and really stands out against your skin. Try it on all ten fingers, or use it as an accent color.

Buy it ($8)

6. Nails Inc. Plant Power Vegan Nail Polish in “Soul Surfing ”

At once calming and bewitching, a periwinkle blue never fails to put us in a good mood.

Buy it ($10)

7. Orly Nail Lacquer in “Blazing Sunset“

Fact: Orly is our go-to for brights and neons because the shades are always opaque, never streaky and they dry quickly. A favorite this summer? This fluorescent pink, which brightens up our sallow winter skin instantly.

Buy it ($10)

8. Essie Nail Lacquer in “Kaf-tan”

For a more unexpected summer mani shade, try an earthy nude. This warm neutral looks a bit richer or brighter depending on the light. Wear it now and wear it later.

Buy it ($9)

9. Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in “590 Verde Pastillo”

Chanel’s take on turquoise is unsurprisingly elegant. (It’s more sea glass and less Easter egg.) Plus, the formula features ceramides to strengthen weak tips over time.

Buy it ($38)

10. Sephora Collection Color Hit Mini Nail Polish in "Cookie Break"

For our pink loyalists out there, you’ll love this pretty pastel hue that just makes your nails look polished and sweet (like the dessert it’s named after).

Buy it ($5)

11. Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Color in “Amazing Grace”

Ahh, there is nothing quite as clean and crisp as a bright white mani (or pedi). This ultra-shiny formula from Deborah Lippman has a cushiony finish.

Buy it ($20)

12. Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in “Carnal Red“

This juicy red was made for strappy sandals and white caftans. No matter how pale, tan or dark your skin is, the pigmented hue will pop against your complexion.

Buy it ($37)

13. Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish in “Taxi Hopping”

Calling all cool girls: This chartreuse polish is a beautiful blend of yellow and green tones and is delightfully unexpected in a sea of predictable manis.

Buy it ($9)

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14. Cote No. 96 Shiny Gold Nail Polish

For a fancy gilded mani, look no further than this golden polish. The iridescent hue glimmers wherever the sunlight hits, making it a festive hue for any occasion (even if the “occasion” is just laundry day).

Buy it ($18)

15. Sundays Nail Polish in “No. 44”

Doesn’t this muted mint make you want to just stop everything and take a deep breath? The creamy color is instantly calming and looks as clean on your fingertips as its non-toxic formula actually is.

Buy it ($18)

16. Sundays Nail Polish in “No. 10”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re looking for a jolt of energy, give this bubblegum pink a try. Better yet, pair it with the muted mint above and take the guesswork out of coordinating your mani-pedi.

Buy it ($18)

RELATED: 10 Spring Nail Polish Combos That Take the Guesswork Out of Mani-Pedis

17. CND Vinylux Nail Polish in "Blue Moon"

Fact: A bright blue makes a statement without looking too harsh. This one from CND straddles the line between cobalt and navy, making it the ideal blue for all skin tones and is especially flattering on toes.

Buy it ($11)

18. Olive & June Nail Polish in "Rainy Day Walk"

One of two Pantone Colors of the Year, a solid grey projects strength and resilience. It’s also a chic alternative to black or white, in case you’re looking for another everyday shade to wear.

Buy it ($8)

19. OPI Infinite Shine Long-Wear Nail Polish in "Barefoot in Barcelona"

For a warm wash of color that looks impossibly good as your summer tan starts to come in, look no further than a camel cream. This one, from OPI, is a must-try because the longevity of the formula is unmatched.

Buy it ($13)

20. J. Hannah Nail Polish in “Akoya”

This delicate ivory is that unique shade that you can’t quite put a finger on. Sheer and tinged with gold, it reminds us of a pearl, which is fitting as it was created by a jewelry designer.

Buy it ($19)

21. Morgan Taylor Nail Lacquer in "All American Beauty"

If you’re just looking for a clean and classic hue, this muted marshmallow will deliver. The finish is somewhere between a sheer and a creamy opaque depending on how many layers you paint on.

Buy it ($10)

22. Essie Nail Polish in "You Do Blue"

Or for something a touch more whimsical, we’d suggest a shade-shifting metallic. This one is flecked with iridescent blue and violet for extra magic.

Buy it ($9)

23. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in "Fuchsia Fever Neon"

Nothing says summer like a hot pink mani-pedi to make your skin glow.

Buy it ($10)

24. Orly Nail Lacquer in "Plastic Jungle"

A jungle green mani may take some getting used to at first, but we assure you: it's a surprisingly versatile and fun shade to wear.

Buy it ($10)

25. Smith & Cult Nail Polish in "Fade the Sun"

Evoke the magic of a summer sunset with a few swipes of shimmery orange polish on your tips and toes.

Buy it ($18)

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