Polly Pocket Nails, Choco Milk Manis & Other Nail Trends to Try This Summer

Remember being in school and how exhilarating it was to get ready for summer break? You just turned in your last assignment and pencils would be down for the next two months. The weather was warming up, and with it, the promise of many future beach days ahead. Gah, even thinking about it now gives us a flutter of excitement.

As adults the summer break experience isn’t quite the same, but we’re all about finding pockets of joy wherever we can—starting with a festive mani. And with that, here are eight nail trends we’re looking forward to wearing this summer. We’ll work on planning a fun getaway next.

The 90-10 Rule Is a Better Way to Trim Your Nails

1. Polly Pocket Nails

Let’s start with this nod to a ‘90s icon: Polly Pocket. The title character was known for her cheery wardrobe, which often featured shades of pink, purple, green and blue. Try any combo of those shades on your tips this summer—and add a few kitschy flowers, hearts or stars to truly lean into the theme.

2. Barbiecore Mani

Mark your calendars for July 21, 2023, y’all. The buzzed about Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling is finally coming to theaters this summer. In anticipation of the release, we’re expecting to see lots of bright, bubblegum-pink manis like this one.

3. Barbiecore Light

If full-on hearts, swirls and shimmers aren’t really your thing, you can always opt for a subtler take on the Barbiecore trend with some pink-on-pink colorblocking.

4. Velvet Nails

Also known as magnetic or cat eye nails, this eye-catching mani started gaining traction last fall and shows no signs of stopping. The mesmerizing finish is created using a special polish and a corresponding magnet that moves it into multi-dimensional swirls. (Lucky for us, they’re also available as press ons now.)

5. Choco Milk Mani

When you need a quick palette cleanse from the bright Polly Pocket and Barbiecore tips, you can try another rising nail trend this summer: chocolate milk manis. Creamy and as sheer or as saturated as you’d like, simply choose your favorite shade of brown and paint it along your entire nail bed. No additional hearts or glitter necessary.

6. Milky Moon Mani

Another neutral option for you to consider? A milky moon mani, which can be achieved by painting your nails in a sheer nude polish and adding a tiny little half-moon at the base of each finger. Tip: Give the half-moons plenty of time to dry before finishing the look with a shiny top coat.

7.  Candy Necklace Nails

When you’re ready to bring some color back to your nails, you can slowly dip your fingers back in with a soft rainbow of shades that are sure to brighten up your mood.

8. 3D Decals

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the other trends on this list, playful 3D accents and decals will also be everywhere this summer. No complaints here, they pair perfectly with any mani and are pretty much the easiest way to add some pizzazz to your nails.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...