January 30, 2023

Person with pastel purple nails.

Whether you’re headed to the salon or planning to get hands-on with your own nail art, chances are you’re looking for stylish ways to take your manicure to the next level. As much as you may feel inspired to reach for bright, hot hues to match the season, if you scroll through Instagram, you’ll learn that pastel nails are actually what’s hot right now. With nearly 530,000 posts dedicated to the hashtag, there are so, so many pastel nail art ideas to choose from. To help make it a little easier, we’ve rounded up 25 of our faves—check them out below.

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Arched Diagonals

Pastel purple varied French manicure with gold bars
@BROWNLUXENAILS

You don’t need to cover your entire nail in color in order to achieve a pretty pastel nail look. Here, you can see how arched diagonals, negative space, and metallic gold accents create an eye-catching manicure.

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Pastel Heart Tips

French manicure with pastel purple heart-shaped tips
@BROWNLUXENAILS

Keeping pastel purple top of mind, check out these pretty heart-shaped tips. The best way to re-create the look is to use a thin striping brush to trace on the heart-shaped arches.

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Pastel Neon

Pastel neon rainbow swirl nail design
@NATALIEHOLTNAILARTIST

While pastel and neon might seem like complete opposites, pastel neon is, in fact, a thing. Just look at this vibrant pale nail look if you don’t believe us. Megawatt, no?

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Bright Pastels

Abstract pastel nail art
@BROWNLUXENAILS

Pastels can be bold. Case in point? This pale-yet-powerful abstract mani.

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Tutti Frutti Nails

Pastel rainbow swirl nail art
@NATALIEHOLTNAILARTIST

Tutti frutti nails are one of the biggest manicure trends of summer and—you guessed it—pastel polish is at play. Given the intricacy of these multicolored nails, you may want to visit a professional to bring them to life. Of course, if you don’t mind perfectly imperfect swirls, a thin striping brush will help you achieve the look at home.

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Pastel Purple Accents

French manicure with pastel purple and white varied pattern tips
@LIGHTSLACQUER

Not set on a single design but know that pastel color you want to use? Consider this monochrome nail art idea backset on white polish.

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Pastel Swoops

Swooping pastel negative space nail design
@NAILS_AND_SOUL

We can’t get over how dreamy this negative space mani is. With two contrasting colors on each nail, it’s one pastel nail art idea that’s sure to turn heads.

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Pastel Melt

Warm-toned pastel gradient nail art
@THENAILLADYLINCOLN

If you can’t choose a single color, don’t fret. With an ombré technique, you can create a pretty pastel fade between hues.

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Pastel Swirls

Pastel purple and latte nude nail art
@AISHASARTS

We love this pale purple swirl manicure. Whether you offset it with clear-coated negative space or opt for pale peach in the background, this nail look is bound to look groovy.

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Pastel Hearts

Pastel rainbow heart and stripe nail art
@OHSOPRETTYXO

Whether you’re rocking these pastel rainbow nails for pride or any other time of year, they’re guaranteed to give you a reason to look down and smile.

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Pastel Dots

Dusty rose nails with small pastel polka dots
@THE_GELBOTTLE_INC

Here’s a pastel nail art idea that you can easily recreate yourself. Start with clear polish or a neutral base and use a dotting tool to stipple a different color of pastel polish onto each nail. Don’t forget a layer of topcoat to seal your design in.

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Pastel Diagonals

Diagonal tan and pastel nail art
@THEHOTBLEND

Another simple at-home nail art idea? Clean diagonal lines. Whether you use the same pastel shade on each nail or transition between five, you’re bound to love the end look. Best of all, it’s easy: Just section off your nail with striping tape and you’re good to go.

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Pastel Peach Accents

Pastel peach manicure with pastel purple accents and checkerboard
@LIGHTSLACQUER

Pale purple and peach just work together. And with only one intricate nail in this mani, we bet you can bring it to life yourself. Just arm yourself with striping tape and a touch-up brush and you’ll be well on your way.

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Abstract Pastel Nails

abstract pastel nail art
@NAILS_AND_SOUL

These pastel abstract nails remind us of prints from the ‘80s and ‘90s—which is to say, we’re fans.

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Pastel Stiletto Nails

Abstract negative space pastel manicure on stiletto nails
@NAILS_AND_SOUL

Here’s another pastel neon nail look perfect for summer. With primarily warm shades, it’s a hot mani idea worthy of the ‘gram.

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Two-Toned Pastel Tips

Two-toned pastel diagonal tip nail art
@MEGAN.ANNE_BEAUTY

Love the idea of diagonal nail art but want to make it a little less straight? Check out this two-toned wavy manicure idea. Fun, no?

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Wavy Pastel Nails

Pastel rainbow wavy drip nail art
@BEAUTYSPACE_CHARLOTTE

Speaking of wavy nails, how funky is this pastel neon nail art idea? It’s a summer must, that’s for sure.

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Cool-Toned Pastels

Cool-toned pastel negative space manicure
@NAILSBYCANISHIEA

Hoping for a more serene pastel manicure? This cool-toned nail art idea will do the trick.

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Pastel Summer Nails

Multi design pastel nail art
@IONAVICTORIIA

Of course, if you prefer a bit more variety, this hot and cool pastel mani is a fun way to hop on the trend. Plus, it lets you play with multiple art accents, too.

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Negative Space Pastel Nails

Negative space multicolor abstract pastel nail art
@DIKAYVIBES

Pink, purple, blue, yellow, and green are always pretty—especially in pastel shades. If you agree, try recreating these wavy negative space nails using a fine striping brush.

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Pastel Gradient Nails

Rainbow ombre pastel nail art
@MELANATED.MANI

Point blank: These pastel gradient nails are gorgeous. Plus, they’ll let you show off loads of color.

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Pastel Aqua Nails

Pastel teal multi-patterned nail art
@MELANATED.MANI

Robin’s egg blue, anyone? With a striping brush or two-sided dotting tool in hand, you’ll be able to easily recreate this mismatched nail art idea.

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Pastel Lavender Nails

Pastel lavender gradient and squiggle nail art
@MELANATED.MANI

For whatever reason, these nails remind us of the underwater squiggles on SpongeBob. Given pop culture’s love of all things Y2K, that makes them trendy in our book.

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Pastel Leopard Nails

Pastel rainbow nails alternating gradient with leopard print
@MELANATED.MANI

Who said leopard nails have to be in neutrals? We’re head over heels for this pastel take.