Vacation Nails 2021: The Best Beach Nail Designs for Summer

10 min read

Going on vacation soon? Headed to the beach? Add 'beach nails' to your must-prep list. Whether it's a trip to the local lake or a cruise along the French Riviera, you can choose from any of these top versatile beach nail art styles that will elevate your vacation look. Think animal prints, retro styles, and minimalist dip manicures that could last long after your vacation is over. You can also match your beach acrylic nails with your swimwear to complete your summer-ready style, and we got some ideas. Let's dive in!

Swimsuit-ready Beach Nails

From a Kardashian-approved print to minimalist and trendy dip powder nails, we've got you covered for your upcoming vacay.

1. Animal-themed beach nail art

These beach vacation nails are perfect for two types of vacationing dippers: the animal lovers and those who want to unleash their wild side, so to speak. If neither are you and you simply want to hop on one of the biggest nail trends this summer, that's cool, too. Your many options for animal-print nails: cheetah, cow, leopard, zebra, or tiger print nails. And we have some tutorials to help you get started on this summer dip mani trend.

Dip Nails Tutorial: Cheetah Print Nails with Gold Foil

Dip Nails Tutorial: How to Do Cow Print Nails with Dip Powder

The animal-print nail trend carries over to swimwear, too, with leopard print and zebra print swimsuits among the most popular choices. You can also opt for the swimsuit print trend popularized by the Kardashians in 2019 that's still going strong to this day. Double the animalistic appeal of your vacation style with the cow print swimsuit.

"Relaxed cow print scoop neck one-piece swimsuit" by Bikinishe

2. Colorblock acrylic nails for the beach

We get it. It's sometimes hard to pick a new color to try from your robust dip powder collection. Now's your chance to use more than one dip color that'll help you make a fashionable statement at the beach in a dream-worthy locale. You can apply two colors or have a full-on fiesta on your nails by mixing and matching as many dip powder colors as you want. Here are the tutorials to help you do so.

Dip Nail Tutorial: How to do Gray Dip Nails with Gold Foil (featuring the Naturale Dip Powder Collection)

Dip Nail Tutorial: Stained Glass Nails Using Jelly Powders (featuring the Jelly Dip Powder Collection)

When it comes to swimwear, you can do color blocking with either a one-piece swimsuit or a two-piece bikini. And you don't have to limit yourself to dual-toned or multi-toned garments only. You can mix and match your swim top and swim bottom to create a colorblocked look. No matter which colorblock style you choose, it'll look as flattering as it is charming on you.

"Colorblocked V-neck one-piece swimsuit" by Cupshe

3. Negative space beach nail design

Around these parts, the negative space mani is the only negativity we endorse. Try this asymmetrical look to give your basic dip powder mani the fresh update it deserves. And depending on how you style it, your negative space manicure can even make the nail growth area less noticeable without filling it in — ensuring you have beautiful nail art throughout your vacation.

Dip Nail Tutorial: How To Apply Multi Color Negative Space Nails (featuring the Pastel Dip Powder Collection)

Dip Nail Tutorial: Colorblock French Mani with Slanted Tips (featuring the Classic Dip Powder Collection)

To match your negative space beach nail design, opt for a swimsuit with cool cutouts that accentuates the curves of your body. These body-hugging asymmetrical cuts are usually seen in one-piece swimsuits that take monokinis to a whole new artful level. Although there are also two-piece swimsuits with cutouts that make them all the more oh-so-sexy.

"Amina Olive one-piece swimsuit" by Andrea Iyamah

4. Beach nail ideas with retro feels

What's old is new again with this dip powder nail design that's a nod to the past. If you're going for the whole grandmillenial look on your next vacation, check out this guide to vintage nail designs: Retro Dip Powder Nail Art In 2021. When we say retro, we're talking about flirty florals or pretty polka dots, just to name a far-out few.

Dip Nail Tutorial: Abstract Polka Dot Nail Art Mani With Dip Powder

Dip Nail Tutorial: How to Create an Easy Flower Dip Nail Design

Retro-inspired swimsuit silhouettes are not going anywhere soon, especially the high-leg bikini bottoms. Combine this style with vintage prints, much like the ones for your dip nails, and it'll look like you fashionably stepped out of an episode of Wanda Vision! So go ahead, pour on the nostalgia, and unleash your inner grandmillenial.

"Miley Bikini" by Missesbrie

5. The Minimalist Beach Nails

You don't need to always be extra to have statement-making vacation nails. If monochromatic dip nails or simple beach nail design is more your style, the minimalist beach nails will get you back to the basics while still looking ever so chic. Because sometimes all you need is a French mani (with or without a fresh new twist to a classic style).

Dip Nail Tutorial: How to do Lime Green Jelly Nails with a Sparkly Gold Accent

Dip Nail Tutorial: How To Create Minimalist French Tip Dot Nail Art Using Dip Powder

Don't stress over dip nail design or swimsuit style even before your vacation starts. While it's always super fun to try new trends, there's nothing boring about a simple swimwear — whether it's your traditional string bikini or swim shorts. When choosing your beach outfit, think of what'll make you feel comfortable to enjoy a dip in the ocean.

"Cargo Swim Short" by Swimsuits For All

Vacation Nail Colors

Now that you have some ideas for beach nail designs, time to select the best nail color for your nails for vacation.

1. A pop of neon dip color

These bright, cheery colors not only will light up your day, but they'll also look nice against the sands and shores, too. Talk about vibrant and picturesque nails! Two of the most popular choices from the Neon Dip Powder Collection are hot pink and highlighter yellow.

Image by Jennifer Piloto Moore, featuring NE 15 Magenta.

Image by Gigi Gergana, featuring GW 03 Daylight Magenta & Glow In The Dark Violet from the Glow In The Dark Collection

Image by Jennifer Molina Gipson, featuring NE 16 Highlighter Neon Yellow.

Image by @Anails_by_Anaisis, featuring NE 16 Highlighter Neon Yellow and GL 25 Glittery Cobalt Blue.

Neon looks great on beach nails, and they have the same fashionable impact on swimwear, too. Choose a sporty style and channel your inner beach-traffic-stopping, head-turning Baywatch star.

"Faithful One-piece" by Swiminista

"The Anne Marie One-Piece Swimsuit" by Solid & Striped

2. Pretty pastel dip powder

A pastel color palette is timeless and can help you transition with ease from spring to summer. It's perfect for Easter Day and also your next beach vacay.

Image by @kellofaplan, featuring PA 04 Light Coral Pink.

Check out our Pastel Nail Designs + Our New Milky Dip Powder Collection article for more dip mani inspo you can pair with a pastel perfect swimwear that looks good in every skin tone.

"Shimmer Bikini" set by ASOS Design

3. Beach-inspired dip powder colors

Consider it a part of your beach therapy. Take the colors of the summer sunset and the majestic ocean and apply them onto your nails, so you can kick-start the beach vibes even before you reach your vacation destination.

Image by Katie Law, featuring sunset ombré (NE 18 Orchid Purple, NE 15 Magenta, NE 14 Bright Coral) and beach ombré (NA 22 Light Putty, mix of PA 18 Light Teal, and GL 14 Glittery Mint Green).

Image by @dodger_diva_dips, featuring PA 12 French Blue, PA 15 Pale Mint, CL 28 Hot Chocolate Brown, GW 05 Daylight White / Glow In The Dark Green, French White, NA 25 Mauve, NA 18 Rose-tinted Taupe, CL 46 Turquoise, CL 04 Vibrant Blue, and GW 04 Daylight Light Blue / Glow In The Dark Electric Blue.

And why stop at beach-inspired vacation nails, wear the beach with your choice of swimwear or cover-ups. The beach...it's the gift that keeps on giving style ideas.

"Full Coverage Swimsuit Burkini" by Adasea

4. Natural-toned dip powder

Natural can be beautiful — even in the beach world filled with vivid colors. It's simple, classy, and with an understated elegance that is just as stylish as its most colorful counterpart.

Image by Jessica S Masters, featuring NA 02 Light Peachy Sand.

You can always turn to a reliable classic, such as the white swimwear. For an extra natural look, opt for a brown swimwear that looks just as flattering against your summer tan.

"The Charlotte" top and "The Sarah" bottom by Follow Suit

5. Glittery dip powder shades

Dip powder colors from the Glitter Dip Powder Collection are not only good for festive occasions or accent nails. They also make for the best summer vacation nails that perfectly match the glistening sun and sands.

Image by Carol Colegrove, featuring GL 01 Glittery Coral.

Image by Katherine Alejandra Zambrano, featuring CL 49 Midnight Blue, French White, and GL 27 Iridescent Glitter.

Image by Shannon Butler, featuring Dipwell nail dip powder and other nail stickers.

Make a splash with a sparkly swimwear. Currently trending is the lurex swimwear that looks lovely and luxurious in any color.

"Connie Bikini Port" and "Connie Brief Port" by Lonely Label

"Lurex swimsuit with bows" by Mango

How to keep your beach mani always looking snazzy during your vacay

If your upcoming vacation includes a lot of beach time or even pool time — oof, chlorine can sometimes be tough on nails, in general — here are some essential tips for you to remember to avoid any issues with your dip powder mani. (FYI: Satisfied DipWell Dipper Club members have happily reported that they can go for a swim as often as they like without encountering any issues with their dip mani whatsoever!)

Beach Nail Fail # 1: Fading colors or discoloration

Is it the sun? The water? Did you not seal your mani right? Sine, Licensed Cosmetologist and DipWell's Community Educator, gives us the 411 on color-changing dip powder mani.

"The sun, sunscreen, and hand sanitizers can all change the color especially if there is no sealer. You can always buff again and use a regular nail polish glossy top coat to reinvent your mani. You could also try a UV clear over the top coat and see if that helps."

Read more suggestions on how to prevent your gorgeous mani from fading to another color.

Beach Nail Fail # 2: Lifting or dip nails popping off

It is indeed frustrating when your dip powder nails have lifted or popped off in the middle of your vacation. But there's one way to prevent this from ruining your beach trip. The key is a good prep before dipping. Here's Sine with more recommendations.

"I believe it was something during the prep during application like the invisible cuticle not removed or the product too close to the cuticle. I go in my hot tub and pool all the time with no problems.

Along with proper prep, when you apply the sealer make sure you cap the free edge. Keep in mind you do not want to overfile your nails during prep, you want to just take off the shine.

You also want to be liberal with the activator, but make sure it dries between applications or your sealer will have a problem."

Read more about the down-low on lifting, and how to stop it from ruining your dip mani.

Excited about your next beach vacation yet?

With this Vacation Nails 2021 guide, you're now armed with the best beach nail colors and vacation nail designs, including the top tips on how to make your beach vacation nails last. You even have the best swimwear style to match them! Have fun recreating these vacation nail ideas and enjoy your vacay. Once you're back, share your vacation mani pics at DipWell's Dipper Club on Facebook or @dipwellnails on Instagram (with the official hashtag: #DoYouDipWell).