Do you think rainbow nails are just for celebrating Pride Month? Well, think again! These colorful manicures can add a pop to any look, regardless of the occasion or time of year.

And there’s much more than just one way to do rainbow nails. You can choose a unique palette, add some glitter, and so much more than just paint each nail a different color!

So how will you wear the colors of the rainbow this summer?

10 Killer Rainbow Nails You’ll Want to Rock This Summer

Rainbow nails are a staple among almost all manicure aficionados. But that certainly doesn’t mean there’s only one (or two, or three) awesome way to pull off this colorful style.


Yes, there’s a time and place for painting your thumb red, your index finger orange, and so on. But this might be the most boring way to rock the rainbow mani!


Here are some of our favorite rainbow-inspired manicures that you should definitely try for yourself this summer:

1. The classic rainbow

Instagram photo of classic rainbow nails.

Image via Instagram

Okay, don’t get us wrong. The classic rainbow manicure is a must-have in any rotation! From regular polish to dip powder, you can create this look with your (or your nail tech’s) medium of choice.


If you’re looking for something a little more refined, though, we recommend trying out a more gradual gradient like the manicure above. You still get all the prismatic beauty of regular rainbow mani, but with a little more room for creativity.


Plus, this look is great for those colors you just can’t seem to use fast enough!

2. Spring-inspired pastels

Instagram photo of pastel oval-shaped rainbow nails.

Image via Instagram

One of our favorite takes on the rainbow manicure is this gorgeous pastel version. While these rainbow nails would be right at home at your next Easter gathering, you can do it throughout the spring, summer, and beyond.


Pastels have recently been one of the most popular color palettes in the fashion world. But if you can’t find the perfect colors for your pastel rainbow nails, you can also try making your own polish.


You’ll need your chosen rainbow-appropriate shades along with a plain white polish (if you can find a selection of polishes that are all the same brand, especially if you’re using something like gel — even better).


Using a plate, plastic cup, or another makeshift palette, mix each color with the white until you have your desired shade range.

3. Tie-dye tips

Instagram photo of tie-dye rainbow nails with a nude base coat.

Image via Instagram

Today, most people associate rainbows with LGBTQ+ pride. But go back just a few decades and hippies were the ones who dominated the rainbow aesthetic.


Whether you regularly rock out to the Grateful Dead or just want to unleash your inner flower child, these tie-dye inspired rainbow nails are stunning.


Want to try this look, but prefer to do your nails at home? Don’t worry, because you can easily make tie-dye designs with regular nail polish and a toothpick!

4. Rainbow sunset

Instagram photo of pastel watercolor rainbow nails.

Image via Instagram

The 1960s might have introduced the more traditional tie-dye look, but 2019 is home to a more modern aesthetic. From Taylor Swift’s newest cover art to vintage-inspired shirts from Gap, cloudy, pastel rainbow tie-dye is definitely “in.”


While you can certainly visit your favorite nail artist to achieve this look, you can also create this watercolor-esque tie-dye pretty easily at home.


The most straightforward method involves using a dense sponge to blot different colors and blend them across your nails. However, you might find that it’s hard to get seamless transitions between your colors.


Your other option is to invest in what some nail artists call blooming polish. While you probably won’t find this type of polish in your local drugstore, you can get it from a variety of popular nail art brands like Daily Charme and The Gel Bottle.


When you use this product, any colors you place on top will bleed together. So if you plan to try out this trendy style this summer, you should definitely buy a bottle!

5. Glitter jellies

Instagram photo of sparkly, jelly rainbow nails.

Image via Instagram

Does this manicure look like it’s straight from the 1990s? It totally does.


If you’re looking for the perfect way to combine your love of jelly shoes and Lisa Frank, look no further than these glittery rainbow nails. And with 90s fashion on-trend right now, there’s no better time to rock this over-the-top manicure.


You’ll need to invest in some special jelly nail polishes if you want to try this look. It’s an excellent addition to natural nails or, as in the photo above, extensions.

6. Rainbow sherbet

Instagram photo of dripping gradient rainbow nails with rhinestone accents.

Image via Instagram

Alright, so this is definitely one of the most advanced sets of rainbow nails you can try. But for those looking for a challenge, we say go for it!


Even if you don’t want to take the time to do a gradient, drips, and rhinestones, you can definitely take inspiration from this gorgeous manicure.


But if you want to go all-out with a melting, rainbow, ombre manicure — more power to you!

7. Cloudy with a chance of rainbows

Instagram photo of cloud and rainbow nails.

Image via Instagram

Of course, we couldn’t put together a list of the coolest rainbow manicures without including a look inspired by actual rainbows! And this set is one of our absolute favorites.


You could achieve this look in many different ways, but we love the simplicity of this adorable manicure.


If you want to try this at home, don’t fret if your hands aren’t steady enough to achieve a straight line. Simple tools like nail art stencils can transform your amateur manicure into something that looks like it came from a professional. All it takes is a little patience and practice!

8. Tripping on rainbows

Instagram photo of abstract rainbow nails.

Image via Instagram

If you stare at these rainbow nails too long, you might start to feel a bit uneasy. But sometimes life calls for a crazy set of nails!


While you could cover your whole nail with this wavy design, we’re huge fans of the bare nail peeking out underneath. And the subtle confetti glitter adds just one more element to this manicure without making it too busy.


Are you in love with these rainbow nails but work in an office or another professional setting? Well, no one will know if you’re rocking a psychedelic pedicure (and we certainly won’t tell!).

9. Seeing double rainbows

Instagram photo of holo glitter rainbow nails.

Image via Instagram

Technically, this gorgeous manicure features double rainbows! While the delicately painted rainbows are obvious, the holographic glitter produces its own rainbows in the right lighting.


This set is beautiful. However, we think you could get even more creative with it!

Like, what about a french manicure with rainbow-inspired tips instead of plain, old white?


Or how about adding rainbow holographic glitter to one of the other stunning looks on our list?

10. Skittles meet Barbie

Instagram photo of dotted rainbow nails with pink smile lines.

Image via Instagram

Our final set of rainbow nails is one of the most subtle (well, in a sense). But it’s the perfect example of how you can add a little prismatic color to your manicure without going all-out.


While this look takes it up a notch with hot pink tips and glittery smile lines, you can definitely use this inspiration for something a bit more subtle.


For example, we think a standard french manicure with pastel dots would be gorgeous on anyone. Or, how about matte black nails with glossy rainbow dots going down the middle?

Honestly, the possibilities are endless.

Time to Rock the Rainbow

In today’s world, the rainbow has an incredible amount of political and social weight. While you shouldn’t ignore the meaning behind this color palette, you also don’t need to save rainbow nails for Pride Month!


With the inspiration above, you can add a little bit of rainbow charm to almost any look. Whether you opt for vintage-inspired tie-dye or summery pastels, rainbows go with nearly everything!


Do you have a rainbow-inspired manicure you love to throw on when you need a little extra color in your life? Share it with us in the comments below!