I'm actually not the nail art junkie you'd expect a beauty editor to be. I hate sitting in a manicurist's chair while they go to town meticulously drawing microscopic still-life scenes on my short nail beds. I just don't have the patience for it — plus, I've never felt so connected to a specific design that I was compelled to commit to for weeks at a time. But that was before the fish nail art trend arrived, and seeing all of these designs has driven me to set up my first appointment in years. And get this: It's so cool, I actually wouldn't mind sitting through the hours of tiny brushstrokes to get it done.
There really is no telling where nail art trends come from — it's not like fashion, which depends on the season, the zeitgeist, or a designer's aesthetic — they just kind of simultaneously wash ashore in vast ocean that is your social media feed. You can swim the deep blue sea in search of a better nail art look to hook, but you won't find a more summer-ready manicure than these fishy designs.
From underwater scenes of goldfish swimming across your mani to a single koi nail accent, here's the inspiration you need to take to your nail artist STAT:
Get The Look
The fish nail art look is actually super easy to reel in. To get the look, opt for a clear base coat or clear PVC nail tips before painting on the details — this gives you a true underwater feel. While you can choose any kind of fish in any color, a bright reddish-orange and yellow one pops against any skin tone (plus, feels super summer ready). Choose illustrations that show off the fish's fins in a feather-like effect for an eye-catching look.
If you can get your hands on mini goldfish stickers or nail decals, you'll save yourself so much time, plus, it looks more realistic. All you do is peek and stick, then, seal it in with a clear topcoat.
If you like the look of a fishy manicure, but you refuse to sit through an entire manicure (I respect that!), opt for a single accent nail. The ring finger is always a good choice, but the thumb has a cool-girl feel. And like this one, a few tiny white dots give the effect of cute little fish bubbles.
Or, make every nail and accent nail. Go for a mix of fish illustrations paired with a pretty pattern alternating between nails. This red and white geometric pattern is the perfect design to break up your underwater scene.
If you want to make your fish manicure look even more lifelike, try adding 3D bubble accents. It's super easy to create with a clear gel polish and gives your nails an added element of surprise. And since more is more, some blue waves painted throughout really make your goldfish pop.
All that matters is you get creative with your look. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea.