Mermaid Nails Are the Ultimate Way to Channel Your Inner Ariel This Summer

Manicure with mermaid teal metallic French tips

If you’ve been on Instagram or TikTok lately, you’ve likely noticed an under-the-sea aesthetic taking over your feeds. From shimmering fashion pieces to eyeshadow and manicures, mermaidcore is reigning supreme as we head into summer 2023 (and just in time for the live-action The Little Mermaid movie, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel). If you’re looking to dip into the trend before diving in fully, mermaid nails—which incorporate cool colors and metallic, iridescent, and/or pastel elements—are the way to go. Whether you prefer more minimalist manis or want to go all in on the shine and shells, ahead, see 14 mermaid nail ideas set to make a splash in the coming months.


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Iridescent Opal Nails

Manicure with iridescent base and stud accents

If you prefer a more neutral take on mermaid nails, opt for an iridescent opal polish. Alternatively, use whatever base color you like and top it off with a color-shifting top coat, like the Essie Iced Out Top Coat ($10). For a bit more flair, top it off with gold embellishments.

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Mermaid Palette

Manicure with hot pink, pastel pink, lavender, and teal shimmer polishes

If you prefer brighter colors but want to stick to a mermaid palette, consider pops of pink, purple, and teal. Rather than trying to find shades that work well together, make it easy for yourself by stocking up on the Lights Lacquer Polly Pocket Party Bundle ($47)—it even comes with shell-shaped sequins.

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Mermaid French Mani

Manicure with mermaid teal metallic French tips

For a more minimalist take on the mermaid nail trend, update your French mani with an under-the-sea shade. The exact hue used here is Holo Taco’s Nail Polish ($14) in the shade Aquafoil.

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Deep Sea Chrome

Iridescent rainbow chrome manicure

Hoping to embrace more of a sea witch vibe? This dark rainbow chrome manicure is giving off moody Ursula vibes. For a similar look, use the PrettyDiva Chameleon Chrome Nail Powder ($13) overtop of black nail polish for a head-turning end result.

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Mermaid Sculpted Nails

Bubblegum pink manicure with sculpted mermaid shell details

Looking for a more intricate mermaid nail art idea? This holographic pale pink mani will make you swoon. Topped off with clear builder gel embellishments, each nail looks like a stunning seashell.

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Marble Mermaid

Purple and green marbled nail design

Marble nails can also look quite mermaid-like with the right color selection. Here, purple, pale pink, and green work together to create an ethereal end look.

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Mismatched Mermaid Nails

Mismatched manicure with aura, scale, and chrome details

Not one for more pastel nail looks? Add a little zing to your mermaid mani with pops of hot pink and orange.

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Ombre Seashell Nails

3D peach ombre seashell manicure

If you can’t stop thinking about the shell-shaped mani above, here’s another way to rock the look. With a blurred coral center, this mermaid nail idea takes on an aura vibe.

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Gemstone Accents

Shimmery pink manicure with 3D shell details and gem accents

Shell-shaped nail art will turn heads in any color, but if you ask us, ombre iterations are especially stunning—and the individual gemstones only take it up a notch.

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Green and Blue French Tips

Manicure with green and blue mermaid tale scale French tips

If you’re not too into pink and purple, you can get in on the mermaid nail look by choosing a watery palette for your mani. While the above design is technically inspired by snakeskin, it gives us moody mermaid tail vibes, too.

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Sculpted Pearl Nails

Pearlescent acrylic nails with 3D sculpted details, pearls, and gold accents

Having a summer wedding? Bringing together vanilla chrome with a hint of under-the-sea energy, this all-white iridescent mani is the perfect mermaid nail idea for the occasion.

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Rainbow Fish

Manicure with sparkly silver base and rainbow iridescent strips

Follow the rainbow to these disco mermaid nails, which feature a sparkly silver base and iridescent strips recycled from Cirque Colors packaging. The slightly 3D look reminds us of fins, and the holographic finish is one of the prettiest under the sea.

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Chrome Pearl Mermaid

Chrome French manicure with pearl accents

Ariel may have dreamed of being “Part of Your World” on land, but this chrome French mani makes us want to experience her undersea kingdom. A bit coquette and a bit mermaid, this iridescent, pearl-encrusted number is truly magical.

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Pearlescent Purple

Lavender manicure with chrome iridescent finish

If you can’t decide between pearls and scales, these lavender chrome mermaid nails are a happy medium. We love how with this shade, hints of vivid pink show up where the manicure catches the light.


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