Embrace Your Inner Mermaid With These Shell Nail Ideas

July 14, 2023
Trishna Rikhy
By: Trishna Rikhy | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
Collage with a pink background and a photo of someone’s hands with their nails decorated with textured pink shell nail art

ICYMI, the mermaidcore trend has taken the beauty world by storm this summer, with its influence on makeup and hair and now, nails: The shell nails mani trend is yet another take on mermaidcore beauty that lets you rock a fun, beachy vibe on your fingertips.

The shell nail trend typically entails nail art in the shape of a seashell, but it leaves a ton of room for interpretation. We’ve seen textured shell-shaped nails accented with rhinestones, shell nails in the form of painted seashell nail art, and so many other amazing renditions. Whether you’re planning on DIYing your shell nails or booking an appointment at the salon for a nail art manicure, these ten shell nail looks are “shore” to inspire you.

Shell Nail Art Ideas

Iridescent Shells

Capture the sparkle of the sea with iridescent, opal shell nails. To get this shiny sheen at home, try Essie Expressie FX in Iced Out Top Coat.

Pink and Pearly

Go mother of pearl with your mani by placing a small pearl decal at the base of your nail beds. Pair with the pink nail polish shade of your choosing.

Pastel Seashell

Mimic the ridges in actual shells by drawing white lines over a pastel base color à la @nolas.nails.

Go Maximalist

For an under-the-sea look with maximum drip, don’t be afraid to play with abstract, organic-looking forms that look like they’re straight from the deep sea. Pro tip: Adding some pearls and chrome details ups the aquatic look.

Translucent Blue

Match your shells to the color of the sea with a blue hue. And if you can get a translucent, jelly acrylic tip like @sugamama_nailz, all the better. These are oceanic to the next level.

Reverse French Tip Shells

A French tip and metallic line make the shell look extra sleek. Do a sheer coat of Essie Metallic Nail Polish in For The Twill Of It for a chromatic, shiny effect.

Classic French Tip Shells

We’re calling this the French mermaid mani: To replicate, add shells and pearls to the tips of your nails instead of a white line.

Long and Pointy Shells

Bring the shells from sand to hand with this maximalist acrylic mani. The longer, the better.

Translucent Shells

You don’t need to love sparkles, pink or pastels to embrace the mermaidcore nails trend. This 3D shell manicure uses milky, translucent polish for an understated look.

Matte White Shells

These sophisticated shells with gold accents look like they came straight from the shores of the south of France. For the chic matte finish that sets this manicure apart, finish with a coat of Essie Gel Couture Matte Top Coat.
Photo: @nailsinurcoffin, Design: Hannah Packer

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