20 Best Summer Nail Polish Colors Trending in 2021

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summer nail colors


Sprucing up your nails with a new coat of nail polish is one of the easiest, most refreshing ways to play with your beauty look. With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to jump on fun nail art trends for manicures and pedicures while transitioning from spring polish looks. Here, nail experts give insight into the top, most popular nail polish colors and polish finishes that will shine for summer — and the best tips on how to get the looks at home!

This season, it’s all about twists on bold nail colors, from eye-catching brights to interesting neutrals inspired by natural elements. This year’s best daring colors are different from the blinding neons of the past: shades like muted peaches and cornflower blues are having their time in the sun, too. Scroll down for the hottest trending summer nail polish colors of 2021 to wear now, including shades that are in for toes and all skin tones, from fair to dark.

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Lemon Yellow

Nail Lacquer in Exotic Birds Do Not Tweet



“For summer, it’s the best time to go a bit bolder with your color choices– without going too far outside of your comfort zone,” says Eleanor Langston, the Chief Creative Officer of Paintbox, a nail salon in New York City. “Lemon yellow is surprisingly flattering on all skin tones.” Just looking at this happy color, from Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab test winner OPI, will help brighten your day.


Cornflower Blue

Nail Polish in Bikini So Teeny



Bring out a soothing blue that looks good year-round. Cornflower blue shades like this one from Essie (a GH Beauty Lab test-winning formula) are effortlessly chic, and might just give your go-to red manicure a run for its money. 


Beachy Bronze

Miracle Gel Nail Polish in Terra-Coppa

Sally Hansen


Sally Hansen’s GH Beauty Award-winning iridescent bronze nail polish, a favorite summer shade of GH’s beauty director, is like a glowing “tan” for your hands and toes (minus the sun damage). “It works as a warm neutral with a little bit of spark,” she says. 


Sizzling Red

Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour



Take your classic red up a notch with bright orange undertones, a la this chic shade from Chanel. It’s wearable on both hands and feet (even matching!). 


Dusty Peach

Nail Lacquer in Forever Fades Fast

Smith & Cult


Match your beauty look to the dusky summer days with a pretty polish that helps turn up the heat. This warm peach Smith & Cult color is eye-catching without being too dramatic.  


Jungle Green

Nail Lacquer in Rated Pea-G



Channel the lush tropics by painting on OPI’s creamy leaf green. If you’re hesitant to wear the bolder shade on your nails, try it on your toes to, well, dip your toe in.


Punchy Watermelon

Nourishing Vegan Nail Color in Wellness Warrior



For a vivid take on pink, try a saturated watermelon shade, like SpaRitual. It looks equally gorgeous on fingers and toes.


Warm Sand

Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Ladies Night

Marc Jacobs Beauty


Long gone are the days where nude polish strictly means matching it to your skin shade. This rich neutral from Marc Jacobs Beauty compliments every skin tone (it looks especially flattering on dark skin) and will go with anything you own. Langston calls cinnamon-caramel colors like this one “the new neutral.”


Nautical Navy

Nail Polish in Infinity Cool



Not every summer nail polish has to be light and bright: Essie’s inky navy blue looks both nautical and understated chic at the same time. 


Floral Confetti

Nail Polish in Daisy

Jin Soon


This multi-colored flower confetti polish from nail artist Jin Soon is like a party for your summer mani. Wear it alone or as a top coat over an opaque neutral shade to let the shapes pop.  


Vivid Orchid

Nail Lacquer in Muse



The perfect fresh purple for summer, Paintbox’s cool-toned orchid nail color looks striking on skin. It hits the sweet spot between both bright and sophisticated.  


Creamy Seafoam

Nail Lacquer in Day Trippin’



Conjure thoughts of turquoise seas with this opaque sea green from Orly. The pastel hints provide a pretty contrast against the skin. 


Milky Iced Latte

Coco For Real Chocolate Scented Nail Polish in No Fear Chocolatier

Nails Inc.


A new take on minimalism, this Nails Inc. color combines cream with a dash of chocolate for an effect that’s similar to gray, yet warmer for summer.  


Watercolor Pink

Nail Glow



Think of this unique Dior nail polish as a sheer gloss for your nails: It gives tips a light, healthy rosy tint— ideal for balmy days (or when you don’t want to worry about chipping).


Cloud Blue-White

Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish in Woke

Deborah Lippmann


Nail artist Deborah Lippmann melds milky white and hints of baby blue for a neutral that’s anything but basic. Its cool undertones add a hot weather-perfect lightness and brightness.


Vibrant Fuschia

Dare to Wear Nail Polish in Private Escort



Bring your basic pink up a few notches for the season with a bold, bright fuschia like this one from LeChat. This updated version of a classic looks just as eye-catching on both toes and fingers.  


Light Rose Gold

Nail Polish in Call Me Poetry

Smith & Cult

Like “no-makeup” makeup for nails, this sheer golden pink from Smith & Cult leaves behind a subtle glimmer that makes nails look put-together but doesn’t scream “polish”.


Sunny Tangerine

Ultra HD Snap Nail Color in Hot Stuff



For something a little spicier than red, swipe on this vibrant citrusy shade from Revlon. It acts as an eye-catching accessory against an otherwise minimal look.


Modern Neutral

7-Free Nail Polish in EC

Olive & June


A classic nude shade is the go-to for anyone looking for a neutral. Try a muted pastel like Olive & June for an updated look that will make you feel summery while still safe in your neutral-toned comfort zone. “We love a neutral mani any time of year, and especially in summer,” Gibson says of her company’s polish collection. “When we started treating lighter shades of blue, lavender and pink as neutrals in the salon, a whole world of mani possibilities opened up.” 


Cool Cobalt

Dare to Wear Nail Polish in Into The Deep



This striking cobalt blue from LeChat is equal parts nautical and exotic. It especially pops as a pedicure in a simple pair of sandals. 

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