Drawing inspiration from Caribbean waters, poolside lounging, and blue curaçao, bold shades of blue are the year-round nail trend du jour. Celebrities like Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, and Candice Swanepoel have long subscribed to the color family, garnishing their digits with varying shades of cobalt, cyan, and baby blue. It's a steep departure from pastel neutrals and deep, vampy hues typically reserved for the cooler months of the year, and we love the nautical nod it lends to our manicure when we're stuck in the office on warm summer days.
To inspire you to treat your nails to some moody blues, we reached out to the experts for their top picks and tips.
Meet the Expert
- Anastasia Totty is the brand ambassador for LeChat Nails and the owner of Artistique Nails.
- Evelyn Lim is the chief educator at Paintbox.
Take a look at our favorite blue hues below, no matter the season.
Olive & June 7-Free Nail Polish in CNH
A pretty periwinkle blue has been one of Selena Gomez's favorite nail shades. You can score the same look with just two coats of this rich nail polish. For a lasting pro-finish (once your nails have dried, of course) coat your cuticles with the Olive & June Cuticle Serum ($30). You can repeat the application every day for hydrated skin and healthy-looking nails.
LeChat Dare to Wear Goodnight Moon
Totty loves a navy. "I think that just like black, it lends itself well to various color combinations and is always in style. It looks great in holiday nail art and is also very much a favorite in the fall season." This is also a good option for fair skin tones, she adds.
Côte No. 66
Pastel nail colors aren't solely reserved for spring. You can cop this light blue hue for a summer manicure that's sure to pop. The ultra-light color looks especially stunning when paired with tanned skin or medium skin tones, according to Totty.
Paintbox Nail Lacquer Like Rain
Lim considers this moody slate gray polish "a universally flattering shade of blue" for all skin tones. "Inspired by the mysteriously pretty tones of a fall thunderstorm," it's a fresh, modern take on blue.
Tenoverten Austin Nail Polish
Summer is synonymous with clear blue skies and days spent relaxing at the beach, so if that's the vibe you'd like to show off with your nail color, look no further than this unassuming blue. The dusty hue is both eye-catching and muted, embodying the cheerful serenity that is the summer season.
Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Front Page Worthy
Love the long-wear nature of gel manicures but want to take matters into your own hands? This sparkly cobalt polish is part of a two-step system designed to deliver users with professional-looking manis that last up to two weeks. "A gorgeous cobalt or royal blue will have the most flash in contrast with a darker skin tone," says Totty.
JINSoon Peace Nail Polish
For some people, a bold blue may be a bit of a stretch when it comes to nail color. To ease into the trend, consider this pastel rendition that's essentially a slightly tinted white. It might just become your new go-to.
Base Coat Tulum Nail Polish
This stunning deep azure hue is a jewel tone if we ever saw one. As soon as you paint it on, you'll begin imagining all the ways you can show off the fan-favorite shade.
Sundays No. 45 Sky Blue
In the mood for a pretty pale mani? This bright baby blue shade is light enough so as not to distract from your outfit of the day but still bold enough to impress any nail lover. What's not to love about that?
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Rhythm
Blue jean babies, rejoice. This dark blue hue recreates the classic obsession with dyed denim. Paint it on and pair it with your favorite jean jacket for a monochromatic look that's bound to be one for the books. It's also one of Lim's top picks.
Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Color in Blue Blue Ocean
Mad about metallics? This sparkly blue nail polish will bring the majestic qualities of the ocean straight to your manicure. Think poolside dreams with this gel alternative that will last the duration of any vacay.
Essie In the Cabana Nail Polish
There's just something about Tiffany blue that elicits excitement and luxury. To add the romantic allure to your everyday look, consider coating your nails with this creamy robin's-egg shade.
China Glaze Electric Nights Nail Polish in DJ Blue My Mind
Neon is yet another color family that's having a major moment of late, which means this electric blue polish will help you nail not one, but two popular beauty trends at once.
LeChat Dare to Wear Starstruck
This rich blue with purple micro-glitter is another favorite of Totty's for when she wants to "add some frost" and sparkle to a nail look. Another way she suggests capitalizing on the royal blue trend? "[A] matte finish and crystal accessories."
Auda B. Beauty High Fashion
A fun, splashy metallic turquoise that is Lim-approved. It will add a serious pop of color to any outfit—imagine pairing this with an all-white ensemble?
When applying blue polish, precision is key. "[A]void the surrounding skin when painting," notes Lim. After the first coat, "leave a little space by the cuticle and get closer on the second coat, remove any polish on skin with a clean-up brush dipped in nail polish remover."
Zoya Charla Nail Polish
This color-changing nail polish has been a Zoya best-seller since it was first released. It features green and blue sparkles that generate mermaid vibes, making it a must for summer (if not all-year-round).
Smith & Cult Exit the Void Nail Polish
Sure, glossy manicures are great, but what if you could add a little iridescent shimmer to the equation? With this semi-holographic nail lacquer, you can. Use one coat for a sheer color-changing effect or layer it on for an opaque opalescence.
Essie Butler Please
A classic bright blue that Lim endorses, this is the perfect spring-time shade for those who don't like pastels. Her favorite blue nail polish shades, in general, are "cobalt when I want a pop of color, and navy because it looks black from afar but a nice surprise when you get closer."
Essie Juicy Details
If you're a fan of The Devil Wears Prada, the color cerulean will forever be seared into your memory. This bright blue shade perfectly embodies Miranda Priestly's iconic quote and will likely become a staple in your vanity.
"Before you apply polish, make sure the nail is clean, so the polish has nothing to stick to other than the nail. Let the nails dry and then wipe them with rubbing alcohol to ensure a clean surface," says Totty.
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Bleu Pastel
Minty fresh nails are here to stay. This ultra-pale blue-green polish is so fresh—swipe on a few coats for one manicure that's sure to earn more than a few compliments.