Listen, we love Ballet Slippers and Topless & Barefoot as much as anyone else, but there’s only so much pale pink you can put on your nails until it feels repetitive. So come spring, it’s prime time to break out the inspo we’ve been seeing all over Instagram, along with the spring runway shows.
We got hundreds of new nail ideas backstage to obsess over, between cool, minimalist nail-art options, fresh takes on negative space, and enough metallic accents to make our eyes shine.
Scroll on for the best nail polish ideas for spring—because even if it hasn’t started feeling like it outside, there’s nothing wrong with giving the weather a polished flick in the right direction.
Florals for spring? They actually are kind of groundbreaking on your nails. Nail artist Alicia Torello used Deborah Lippmann’s Blue Orchid and Laughin to the Bank to draw these tiny petals on.
Take a page from nail artist Betina Goldstein and trace an electric-blue line right at your cuticle. We love Nars in Night Out.
This look from Korean nail artist Park Eunkyung is extra in all the right ways. Pearls! Studs! Shimmer! Be still, our hearts.
Theory: If neutrals go with everything, they’ll definitely go with more neutrals, right? Based on this chic polish spectrum we saw at Baja East, we think it holds up. (FYI, OPI has a ton of options to get you started.)
Why choose one pastel shade when you can wear them all? Go big with a mix of blues, pinks, oranges, and purples. Essie has some of our favorites this season.
Combine spring’s two biggest trends—rhinestones and cuticle art—into one crazy-cool-looking mani (as nail artist Naomi Yasuda did here).
The statement nails at Preen were actually just press-on stickers, glossed over with clear nail polish. In other words: The possibilities and combinations are endless.
The best part about the minimal blank-space trend? It requires hardly any skill or polish. Try a single diagonal stripe in a muted pastel purple or gray to cop this look from Tibi. (We love Essie’s Serene Slate collection.)
If you’re a sucker for a cat eye, prepare to be hooked immediately. On nails, it’s both easy to re-create and utterly cool to look at—especially with Essie’s metallic purple Girly Grunge as a base.
Studs or stickers take a plain base to the next level. (Try these stick-ons from Olive & June.)
Checkerboard French Mani
The classic French gets a mod-London makeover. Just pile on the mascara, zip up your white boots, and you’ll be good to go.
This zigzag is part abstract, part line chart, and 100 percent unexpected.
These ocean-blue waves are like a serious case of wanderlust. Copy nail artist Alicia Torello and use Christian Louboutin lacquer in Baraboum.
To keep layered polish from looking muddy, take a note from Zang Toi and play with texture: Matte in the middle, shine at the rims.
The new way to do a classic French mani? With futuristic metals at the tips.
Stagger wavy lines in an arresting shade of red over a white base: instant cool.
Bright Orange Nails
Jin Soon Choi purposely started her zesty orange nails slightly above the cuticles for a too-cool-to-care look at Marc Jacobs. Mission accomplished.
The metallic is amazing, but even better is how long you can stretch this mani. It’s lazy-girl paradise.