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Shell Nails: 10 Ways to Wear the Beachy Manicure Trend

I do like to be beside the seaside, but failing that, bringing the beach to me isn’t a bad runner-up. I’m not alone if the explosion of shell nails on Instagram and TikTok are anything to go by.



I’m talking specifically about the shell textured nails that are tapping up 3D jellies and putties to create next level shell details that look and feel like they could have been sifted out of sand on a cute lil beach walk. And instead of shell necklaces or hair accessories, they’re being used to decorate our fingernails.

The mermaid aesthetic is a summer favorite for a reason. If you don’t want to go full Ariel with wet-look hair (although that’s currently a vibe), shell nails can give us some beachy escapism, even when we’re smashing out a work email on our laptop.

We’ve seen so many takes on the technique which largely involves applying 3D gel bumps down the nail to replicate the waved texture of a shell.


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A post shared by Connie Wi 위다희 (@concon_wi)

How to get shell nails?

It’s more of a pro technique, so ask your manicurist if they’re able to do 3D nails and send them a reference of what you’d like to see if it’s a service they can provide. 3D nail art is becoming a lot more accessible and available, and as 3D nails go, shell nails are a fairly simple design, once you’ve got the initial technique down. A thick gel can be used to recreate the straight, fanned-out ridges.

How to wear shell nails?

We’ve seen some of our favorite manicurists create their own take. Here’s some of the best versions of the manicure trend that’s perfect for your next summer vacay…

Soft pink


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A post shared by Melanie Graves (@overglowedit)

Blue ocean

Sheer iridescent



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A post shared by Bryony Howell (@gelsbybry)


Chrome pink


Glitter rainbow


Matte white and peach


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A post shared by Bana (@banicured_)

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