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The mercury levels this month aren’t the only thing that are absolutely scorching; so are mermaid nails for the summer.

Perfect for beachy days in the sun, seaside resort cavorting, and everything in-between, you’ll want to embrace this gorgeous trend in all its shimmery, splendid glory, stat.

No doubt inspired by the highly-anticipated arrival of The Little Mermaid movie to our big screens this summer, mermaidcore nails (and everything else in the fashion world, it seems) are trending on our socials–#Mermaidcore on TikTok has been viewed 175.8M times and counting!

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Bubble 2

Photo source: banicured_/Instagram

What do mermaid nails look like in 2023?

The 2023 update sees a more pared-back look for this enchanting trend.

While it was all about girlish, prominent 3D nail art in its previous iterations, you can channel your inner mermaid in subtle ways aplenty this year, including soothing aquatic colours, chrome finishes, swirly watercolour gradients, pearly iridescent shades, mermaid-esque tips and sparkly bubbles.

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Marble 2

Photo source: nailsbymh/Instagram

Make a splash with these mesmerising looks we’ve gathered for you, we promise they will leave you feeling every bit as enchanted as you were when you first laid eyes on mermaids as a little girl.

Mermaid nails mood board

Aquatic colours

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Blue Green

Photo source: wildbeauty.mlmurray/Instagram

We can’t think of anything more reminiscent of the sea and all its secrets than a palette of straight-up blues, greens and purples. It’s subtle yet incredibly mermaid-esque, making it an easy choice to dip your toes into the trend.

Deep sea chrome

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Chrome nails

Photo source: nuka.nails/Instagram

Dive into the depths of the deep sea – the true home of mermaids. It’s mysterious down below, where the hues are inky and the waters are full of shadows, and you can recreate this on your nails with a deep-coloured high gloss chrome.

Gentle watercolours

mermaid nails watercolour

Photo source: coconutlaneuk/Instagram


Embrace the gentler nature of mermaids with a soft palette of aquatic pastels. They look particularly pretty blended, conjuring up dreamy seascapes replete with merfolk.

Pssst! You can even try this at home with a sponge!

Iridescent mother-of-pearl

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Iridescent Mother of Pearl

Photo source: kimkimnails/Instagram

You can almost taste the salty brine of seawater when you set eyes on these mother-of-pearl-like creations. Get them textured like an oyster shell at the salon, or keep it simple and classy with a sheer pearly polish at home.

Shiny tips

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Tips

Photo source: pop_polished/Instagram

Embody the sparkle of a mermaid’s tail with tips done to perfection. It’s simple, elegant, and so on point with the 2023 mermaid nail trend of embracing elements of mermaid lore.

Marble waves

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Marble

Photo source: beccykate_nailartist

Riding swells and currents in the ocean may be beyond us, with our human feet, but painting these rolling tidal patterns on our fingers are a great way to pay homage to our mermaid fantasies.

Holographic wonder

Photo source: suziemoon626/Instagram

Shimmery rainbows catching the light are so achingly gorgeous, no matter which way you look at it, so you’d be forgiven for wanting to look forever.

Watery ombre

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Watery ombre

Photo source: glowbygrace/Instagram

Like the gentle rolling of the waves upon the shore, ombre nails done in a watery gradient are undeniably therapeutic. Wear the very personification of tranquility on your digits, embodying the serenity of mermaids swimming in a lagoon.

Gemstone magic

mermaid nails opal silver

Photo source: betina_goldstein/Instagram


Mermaids are well-known to own a treasure trove of precious jewels and gems, so make like one and affix some gorgeous gems on your fingers. These work beautifully with a clear or nude base, for a 2023 take.

Bubbly surprise

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Bubble 1

Photo source: claw_queen/Instagram

These cute 3D bubbles look exactly like the spray of the ocean left behind by a visiting mermaid, and we love how subtly they lean into mermaidcore.

How to get them at the salon

Mermaids, with their gorgeous rails, are well-known to be multi-hued, eye-catching and alluring. You’ll want to ask your nail technician for an aquatic rainbow palette of blues, greens and purples that can be masterfully painted across all 10 fingers and toes.

Photo source: but.first.we.dip/Instagram

Want some texture? Ask your manicurist to paint some 3D scales on your nails like so.

Photo source: nailss.by.kaylaa/Instagram

If nail art is your jam, you can still ride the mermaid nail wave in 2023 and go for subtle pieces. Request for a clear or nude base (tiny bits of glitter highly recommended!) topped off with delicately placed ocean-inspired pieces like shells, pearls and sea creatures.

Photo source: betina_goldstein/Instagram

Wear the beach on your fingers with artfully placed pieces or a wave painted on.

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Salon beach 4

Photo source: overglowedit/Instagram

Photo source: lolo.nailedit/Instagram

How to get them at home

The simplest way to put your best fins forward from home is to use a pretty pearlescent polish. These are easily applied and really forgiving, so even the most amateur of DIY enthusiasts will be able to pull it off.

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_Pearl DIY

Photo source: tombachik/Instagram

Other ways you can achieve mermaid nails at home are painting solid hues in aquatic shades in a watery rainbow from pinky to thumb, or slick on some metallic polish that calls to mind mermaid tails and scales.

Mermaid nails 10 looks to try_DIY 2

Photo source: lolo.nailedit/Instagram

The key is to keep it simple and clean while attempting this at home, we’re just so glad that 2023’s mermaid nails tend towards the minimalist while retaining the magical mystique of our favourite mythical sea creature.