The sea-goddess manicure is spring’s prettiest nail trend

Think pearls, pearlescents, and beyond.

Harper's Bazaar India

Sea-goddess nails are having a major moment this spring with 48.1 million views on TikTok for videos tagged ‘mermaid nails’ and searches for 'mermaidcore' spiking 90 per cent in the past three months. But instead of being twee or garish, 2023’s approach to the otherworldly trend is surprisingly chic and grown-up.

The summer runways embraced all things aquatic with impossibly glossy, dewy cheekbones as seen at Edward Crutchley, pearlescent skin at Alberta Ferretti, Ariel-worthy waves at Chloé and Blumarine, and just-out-of-the-ocean hair at Dries Van Noten.

Fashion more than dipped its toe in too, with iridescent sequins shown at Huishan Zhang and bejewelled starfishes at David Koma. With The Little Mermaid live-action film premiering last week, mermaidcore is at an all time high.

When it comes to nails, there are myriad ways to lean into the oceanic vibe with your manicure, from adding micro pearls on a seashell-pink nail polish to playing with pearlescent finishes. Liberty’s nail artist in residence Julia Diogo is a fan of updating the classic French tip with a chrome effect on a neutral base to mimic the gleaming scales on a fishtail. “You could also use one coat of Nails Inc ‘Donut Give Up’ for a super subtle finish,” she tells Bazaar.

Whatever style you go with, Diogo recommends keeping your nails a “short, soft square shape”. “It makes it fun yet still super chic,” she adds.

Ahead, five undeniably elegant interpretations of the trend for your next manicure appointment.

Glazed seashell

Elevate sheer pink polish with an iridescent, chromatic finish that catches the light. Subtle, but effective.

Dainty pearls


A post shared by IRIS AVENUE (@irisavenue_)

Delicate pearl embellishments add interest without overwhelming the nail and look perfect for brides, too. Bloomsbury-based salon Iris Avenue currently features 'mermaidcore designs' on its nail art menu, so book in and get ready to make a splash.

Making waves


A post shared by Isabel May (@isabelmaynails)

A creative take on a wavy design with flecks of gold leaf to catch the light. For something more minimal, try this nail art on one accent nail.

Seaside gleam


A post shared by Lauren ✨ (@lolo.nailedit)

A marbleised effect on a chrome finish mimics the shimmering waters in sunlight. On trend yet oh-so cool.

Freshwater finish

Here the French manicure gets the Ariel touch with a glistening mother-of-pearl effect on the tips.

This piece originally appeared in Harper's Bazaar UK