What time is it? The cast of High School Musical would belt in unison: summertime! Summer’s the season for basking in the sunshine, lounging under colourful umbrellas at the beach, and ambling beneath the cool shade of woody trees. It’s also the time for the brightest blooms and the juiciest fruits; luscious green grass, sparkling blue waters, and white shores.

Summer, essentially, is the season for all things colourful, and we can’t wait to embrace its cheerful palette at our fingertips too. If you’re not one for keeping long nails during this exciting season of play, fret not, because we’ve rounded up summery nail ideas for shorter nails that are colourful and look just as chic on short nails!

Summer nail ideas for short nails

Peachy paradise

summer nail trend

Photo source: okkonails/Instagram

Plump and round peaches are a symbol of summer goodness and there’s no shame in splashing a peachy gradient over your short nails for the season. The warm orange blended with peachy pink, coupled with the smooth gel finish, makes your “peach” nails look all the juicier!

Peach tea

summer nail trend (8)

Photo source: 是仙贝_/Xiao Hong Shu

If you’re in love with the sheer “jelly nails” that are taking the social media platform Xiao Hong Shu by storm, you’ll find this iteration of a peachy manicure oh-so-refreshing for summer.

The creamy pink and green colours and the just slightly translucent polish remind us of a cool cup of peach tea, which we’d love to sip on as we lounge by the poolside.

Summer swirls

summer nail trend (1)

Photo source: okkonails/Instagram

Swirls are for summer, and this playful colour combination of pastel pink and green just turns the happy summer vibes up a notch. The swirly lines add a three-dimensional effect to the nails, so you don’t have to have long talons to rock this look.

Grassy pastures

summer nail trend (2)

Photo source: okkonails/Instagram

This nail artist was thinking of green pastures when she concocted this luscious grassy manicure. The soft wash of greens at only the mid-lengths to the tips creates an illusion of nails that are longer than they really are.

Cherry jelly

summer nail trend (10)

Photo source: Candy/Xiao Hong Shu

“Cherry jelly” nails boast a translucent “jelly” texture and a popsicle stain gradient, with the darkest wash of colour being at the centre of the nails. The fruity manicure fits right into a cheerful summer fit; at the same time, you could wear this elegant set to an expensive dinner date too.

Multi-colour magic

summer nail trend (3)

Photo source: okkonails/Instagram

Summer of all seasons is when you can really roll with a mismatched nail look. The thought of colourful cocktails by the pool, beach balls by the seaside, the sun, the sand, the sea  – it all creates a vibrant rainbow palette that’s best reflected on your manicure.

Rainbow radiance

summer nail trend (11)

Photo source: 6in/Xiao Hong Shu

Favour pastel colours over chromatic hues? Even though high-octane shades are what come to mind when we think of a happy, bathed-in-colour summer, pastel shades can make your nails look just as cheery, especially when you combine a multitude of hues.

This “rainbow radiance” mani features delicate red, blue, green, and yellow. It’s subtle and summery all at once.


summer nail trend (5)

Photo source: qquirkynails/Instagram

If you’re an ocean gal, you’ll love these lucid babies. This stunning manicure features clear pop-up details and an ethereal turquoise and pearl palette that recalls the mysterious depths of the sea. The seaweed designs and sprinkle of stars and hearts add a hint of mermaid magic too.

The deep blue

summer nail trend

Photo source: inailforfung/Instagram

When’s the best time to splash around in the waves or dive into the deep blue? Summer. This mystical manicure set is inspired by tortoise (sadly, not turtle!) shells, and nail artist @inailforfung disclaims: “no tortoises were harmed in the making of this set”.

Cloud chronicle

summer nail trend (9)

Photo source: cokomorebi/Xiao Hong Shu

What’s summer without bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds? Still, these soft pastel blue and white nails turn scorching summer skies into an ephemeral dreamscape. The “jelly” finish and milky colours are to thank.

If you’re ready to wear cotton candy clouds and misty blue skies on your fingertips, you can do so by painting your short nails with Japanese brand CANMAKE’s Colourful Nails in N29 Milk Syrup and N28 Smokey Aqua.

CANMAKE Colourful Nails retails for S$10.85 on Yesstyle

Flower power

summer nail trend (13)

Photo source: inailforfung/Instagram

We’ve never felt the power of flowers as much as when we gazed upon this riotous combination of blue, purple, green, and pink blooms against a brilliant backdrop of, well, more summer-time hues. Chaotic, cute, and colourful – you’re in for serious mischief this holiday season.

Silver lining

summer nail trend (6)

Photo source: qquirkynails/Instagram

Summer needs flowers, but this time, let the blooms adorn your nails in lines of elegant silver. This manicure takes cheerful flower designs and refines them with streaks of liquid silver and nebulous colour. The result lets us bask in a decadent summer-time haze.

Woody wonder

summer nail trend (12)

Photo source: sincitynailsz/Instagram

Amble under the shade of majestic green trees as you enjoy the outdoors during the summer. These nails feature softly smudged patterns of brown and nude that recall the tree’s towering trunks, underneath specks of golden dust like sunlight.

Mango mania

summer nail trend (14)

Photo source: Elvin_C/Xiao Hong Shu

Delicate and fruity fresh, this contrasting yellow-purple manicure set is inspired by mangos and taros. A simple way to wear “summer” on your fingertips, it’s proof that you don’t need to dress your nails in elaborate patterns or nail art for them to look cheerful all season.

Tropical vacation

summer nail trend (7)

Photo source: friskynails/Instagram

Put the tropical into summer with a manicure featuring realistic butterflies, flowers, and fruit art!

Whether you’re actually going on a much-needed vacation to the Bahamas or fantasising about your tropical holiday whilst stuck on this sunny island, this manicure is sure to inject “vacay” vibes and spruce up your summer.

Featured image credit: okkonails/Instagram

Related read: This hack adds the perfect juicy finish to our “jelly nails” manicure