Your Ultimate Pastel Nails Guide to Picking the Best Colors

Spring is right around the corner, and pastel nails are all the rage. Even if you’re not into bright colors, there’s something endearing about pastels. They draw you in and give you a happy, joyful feeling. 

Here’s a guide on how to pick the best colors for your next pastel manicure.

What Are Pastels?

Pastels are a pale family of colors, which have high value and low saturation. The naming of pastel colors comes from the art media format. 

Pastels were first used in the 15th century and were used in Impressionistic portraits in the 19th century. These colors are often described as soothing or comforting. 

Pink, baby blue, mint, lavender, and periwinkle are often associated with being pastels. There are many variations of these colors that you can use in a nail design. 

These colors have gone in and out of fashion in the past few decades, but recently, they’ve made a huge comeback. Let’s talk about why. 

Why Are Pastels Popular During the Spring?

A lot of people associate pastels with springtime and the Easter holiday. The exact origins of this association are a bit of a mystery, but many people think it has to do with pastels' ties to representing optimism and festivity. 

Styles of fashion often happen in cycles, and a lot of styles tend to come back every twenty to thirty years. This is undoubtedly the case with pastels. During the 1950s, pastels were extremely popular. You would see these colors everywhere, including in kitchen appliances. 

During this time period, pastels represented a superficial sense of innocence and a level of optimism that came with the decade. In the 1980s, pastels were back yet again. They were inspired by the preppiness of this decade and showed up in every medium. 

Now, in the modern-day, pastels are making another huge comeback. We’re sure we’ll also see pastels surge in 2050 too. 

Finding A Color For Your Skin Tone

When deciding on a pastel palette for your nails, it’s important to consider your skin tone. You don’t want a manicure that will wash you out or draw attention to your flaws. Let’s discuss some of the best colors for different skin tones. 

Starting with pale skin, pastels are going to be your best friend. People with pale skin often have cool undertones that look amazing with baby blue colors on their nails. They will also rock any lilac or light pink color with ease. 

For medium-toned skin, you’ll look best with mint green, pastel peach, and yellow. Balance your nails with a neutral-toned outfit to highlight the pastels. 

Dark-toned skin looks beautiful with pastel green or lavender nails. Purple and mint perfectly compliment the melanin of any P.O.C. 

What Pastel Colors Evoke

In general, pastel colors are associated with motherhood and feminine energy. Pastels are often used to decorate nurseries and bring feelings of joy and lightness into any situation. 

In the past, people who were pastels were often from the upper class. This is because dyeing clothes with light colors was more expensive and required rare dyes to achieve the color. 

During the Rococo era in France, people loved pastel tones, and they made their way into interior design and other aspects of everyday life. 

Types Of Pastel Nail Designs

If you’re thinking about trying pastel nails but need some inspiration, here are some nail designs that utilize pastels. Pick your favorite one and try it!

Blue Marble

This look consists of a sky blue color with a beautiful marble accent nail. Decide which nail you want to accent, and then use a matte white and grey to create a marbled effect on the nail. 

Easter Eggs

For this design, you can choose five different pastels for each nail. Then, add an egg-shaped design to each nail, similar to polka dots. Perfect for the spring!

Pastel Stripes

This nail design is simple but really catches the eye. Start with a white base coat on all of your nails. Then, add three different pastels in vertical and horizontal lines across the nails. You can make the lines look however thin or wavy as you want. 

Floral Tips

A fun take on french tips, this design can be achieved with any pastel that you like. Start with a light blue, pink, or even yellow as a base coat. 

Next, add small flowers on the tips of your nails in a slightly darker complementary color. This will create a gorgeous look that is ready to blossom! 

Geometric Pastels

Shapes never go out of style. For this design, you’ll need to pick four different pastels. Determine the shapes that you want to create on your nails before you start painting. 

Sketch out triangles and squares on your nails where the colors will go. Add some glitter for a little extra sparkle. 

Puzzle Pieces

This is a fun and unique nail design that will really make the pastel colors pop. Create puzzle-shaped pieces on your nail consisting of three or four sections on each nail. Fill in each section with a different pastel color. Try blue, purple, orange and green.

Ombré Nails

What’s better than an ombré nail design? It’s an elegant and classy way to sport pastel colors. Start with a pinkish-nude color as a base. Next, take a pastel color and apply it to the tip of your nails. Slowly bring the color down and mix it with the base color. This will create the perfect ombré effect. 

Abstract Nails

This look is for the inner artist in all of us. Start with a clear base coat, and then add small flicks of pastels onto your nails. This can be whatever pattern or design that your heart desires. Maybe it’s a smudge or perhaps a few lines. There is no wrong way to do this!

Icy Blue Crystals

Pastel colors don’t have to just be for the spring. This winter-inspired look is ideal for cold weather too! Start with a baby blue color and add glitter to give it an icy glow. On your accent nail, add crystal embellishments to resemble snowflakes. 

Lavender Seashells

This design is ocean-inspired and reminds us of Disney princesses like Ariel. Use an iridescent light purple color on your nails and use rhinestones to decorate the base of the nail bed. 

Neutral Hearts

This is a fun look for people who like understated nail designs. If pastels feel overpowering for you, you’ll love this take on the trend. Start with a nude-colored beige base coat. Then, draw tiny heart shapes on your nails with different pastel colors—perfect for Valentine’s Day! 

Sunset Nails

An Insta-worthy nail look that is bound to bring you tons of compliments. Use a light, buttery yellow color to begin with. Then, add an orange color to the bottom part of your nails in a half-moon shape to imitate the sun setting. 

Fiery Pastels

When you think of fire, you probably don’t think of pastel colors. This nail design defies your expectations. Use a minty green or baby blue and draw a flame pattern on your nails. This is achieved with a couple of squiggly lines that aren’t too uniform-looking. This might take some practice, but you can always look at a reference photo to guide your painting. 

Pastels From Clutch Nails

Sure, painting pastel nail designs can be a fun experience for some. But what about those of us who are sick of waiting for our nails to dry? Or those of us who don’t have the patience to intricately draw stars and hearts on such a small surface area? 

Don’t worry; there is an alternative. No, it’s not going to the salon and asking the technician for a complicated set of acrylics. The answer to your problem is press-on nails. 

Clutch Nails has a huge variety of pastel nail sets for you to try. They don’t require any artistic skills or dry time. Each set is reusable and comes with 24 nails. This way, you can find the perfect fit for every nail shape and size. 

They also come in a bunch of different lengths and shapes for every style and personality type. If you’re a stiletto girl, we’ve got you covered. 

These nails are designed to allow your natural nails to breathe underneath the press-ons, making them last longer than other poorly made sets. 

Bottom Line

Pastels are a cute and fresh way to express your individuality through your nails. Try any of these designs the next time you give yourself a manicure or, if you want, try our press-on pastels. You might just quit regular nail polish altogether! 


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