Ice Cream Nails Are Trending for Summer, and They’re So Easy to DIY

From mermaid and fairy-inspired glam to the renaissance of jelly sandals, this year is all about reclaiming what we loved as children. So it’s no surprise that ice cream nails are well on their way to becoming one of summer 2024’s biggest nail trends.

According to Juli Russell, Sally Beauty DIY nail expert, the sudden popularity of ice cream nails is to be expected: “One of the hottest trends this year has been 3D nail decor and charms,” she points out, which play a major part in most ice cream nail designs.

“The drippy, delectable ice cream dream manicure features chunky, 3D glitter over velvety smooth creme polish for a summer manicure that looks good enough to eat,” Russell explains.

As for why this style is trending, aside from the obvious association with childlike wonder in summertime? Ice cream nails aren’t just cute but are completely customizable, super versatile, and most exciting of all, actually easy to recreate at home.

“They’re so easy to DIY and fully customizable,” Russell tells Glamour. And they really are: Whether you prefer minimalist manis, French tips, pops of pigment, or mismatched nails, there is no shortage of ways to wear the trend.

ice cream nails

One of the most popular—and sweetest—ways to wear ice cream nails? Paint “dripping” ice cream on your nail tips in place of the classic French tip, resulting in what we like to call the ice cream French mani. Other ice cream nail designs incorporate fudge, doughnuts, sprinkles, and more; it’s really all about the aesthetic you prefer.

“The ’secret sauce’ to creating the look is in the ice cream, which in this case, is a chunky glitter polish like the sprinkles you’d get at your favorite scoop shop,” says Russell. “You can opt for an opaque colored base polish that has chunky glitter or a clear glitter polish and paint it over a white or nude base.”

ice cream nails
ice cream nails

While DIY-friendly designs depend on your personal level of experience, Russell universally recommends investing in the proper nail tools ahead of time. “For intricate nail detail work like this, I recommend picking up a set of nail art brushes, which help you create tiny nail art details effortlessly,” she says.

Russell also suggests always starting with nail prep. “This includes pushing back your cuticles, filing your nails to your desired shape. Any shape works, but oval and almond works really well for this design.”

Next, you’ll want to apply a base coat to ensure your manicure doesn’t “melt away.” “Choose a creamy, pastel shade for your ice cream base. A vanilla color like this from Nails Inc. would work, or even a pastel pink for a strawberry-milk flavored manicure; I like the ones from Fingerpaints,” she says.

ice cream nails
ice cream nails

Apply two thin coats, letting the polish dry between layers, then grab your nail art brushes and a white or semi-white polish.

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