23 surprisingly chic pastel nail designs



Pastel nail polish is like a hug in a bottle. Even if you don’t consider yourself a unicorn-loving, cute-nail-colour-wearing person – there’s something about the allure of baby blue, mint green, dusty pink and lilac that’s hard to ignore. Plus with spring just around the corner, it might just be finally time to break up with your dark, wintry polishes.

It’s a trend that sits somewhere between nude nails and more daring designs, such as disco glitter and golden nail art. The pros are proving it doesn’t have to be sickly sweet, either. Give it some edge with a stiletto or coffin-shaped acrylic. Dial it down with a matte finish, or go glossy with a gel manicure. There are so many options to choose from and you don’t have to go all out either as the negative space designs prove. Sometimes a pastel pop is all you need and if you can’t decide on just one shade, a muted rainbow is always a winner.

We love the 90s vibe captured by Swoon Nails, and Dry By London knows how to make any trend look chic, whether it’s some chic pastel French tips, or a tonal pastel ombre. If you’re on a budget, don’t panic. There are plenty of designs you can easily replicate at home with a simple dotting tool.

Scroll down to check out all the amazing pastel nails we found on Instagram, so you can take some inspiration to your next salon appointment.

Get ready to let the happy hormones flood in…

2. Cloudy skies

If your pastels aren’t toddler enough already (no judgement here), add some clouds and rainbows for extra cuteness.

3. Dinky Detail

Get your black Sharpie out, this one requires a steady hand…

6. Transparents Talons

Don’t be fooled by their dreamy colours. These shimmery sharps could be classed as an offensive weapon.

7. Gummy Bears

That’s right, Gummy Bear nails. We’ve seen everything now.

8. Love Hearts

Wear your heart on your sleeve nails.

12. Cute ‘n’ Caged

Toughen up your pastels with a wire-fence effect.

15. Lilac Skies

Lilac and lemon stars with a delicate white outline. Playful yet chic.

16. Ice Cream Swirls

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Swoops for my sweet @rubycaster

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A softly-coloured nail design that looks like it’s moving. Flashes of white and nude help to pop those pastels right out.

17. Baby Blues

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Monday blues #drybynails 💙

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Glossy cornflower blue with a neat arc of gold. Minimum effort, maximum impact.

18. Lipstick kisses

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👄👄 for @evelynlozada Inspo: @fiepedersendk

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Mwah! Glittery pastel kisses will make you smile every time you glance down.

19. Petal Power

Go nude, then accent one nail with nail art inspired by your nan’s garden.

21. Blocked Off

One for the minimalists. A tiny work of modern art with a satisfying block of baby blue.

23. Negative space

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#tbt Spring brights and negative space 🌷🌷

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Pop a different pretty pastel on every nail and throw in some negative space while you’re at it.


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