I’ll be the first to admit that when I heard about this summer’s trend prediction of mermaidcore, I was sceptical. Like most of the crazes that come in and out of the zeitgeist (cottagecore, fairycore, even coastal grandmother) this summer’s impending mermaidcore fashion aesthetic sounded more like a fleeting fad than an authentic style choice. That is, until I let go of my initial judgment and started digging into some of the beauty inspiration.

Mermaidcore as a concept isn’t new. In 2021, mermaidcore bubbled up as a followup to cottagecore and tapped into our collective desire to travel again, preferably to a beach. Design-wise, that interpretation saw a lot of pearls and cowrie shells — Éliou necklaces were the accessory of the moment. This time, though, the obvious cultural spark for mermaidcore is the release of Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid (out on the 26th of May, 2023). Halle Bailey, who plays Ariel, has hit the press circuit to promote the film in a series of mermaid-inspired looks — think plenty of turquoise and under-the-sea sparkle.

We’re starting to see a rise of #mermaidcore on TikTok, too — specifically, a lot of mermaid-inspired manicures.

@anu_shya93 Obsessed with these 🐚🧜‍♀️#mermaidnails #seashellnailart #chrome #chromenails #3dnailart #nailart #nailtutorial #diynails #nailtok #gelnailsathome #fyp ♬ Ditto – NewJeans

Some interpretations, like this one by creator Anu Shya, combine a few different nail art trends in the same look: silver velvet, chrome powder, and 3D seashell-inspired art. Another trending take is this 3D digital lavender French manicure posted by @imtheishhh

@imtheishhh 3D Chrome Nails of my dreams #nailinspo #springnailinspo #nailinspo2023 #springnails2023 #summernailsinspo #summernails2023 #3dnailart #chromenails #haileybiebernails #mermaidnails #3dchromenails ♬ original sound – EX7STENCE™

If you have less time or money to spend at the salon, try opting for a simple seafoam green or turquoise shimmer polish. Creator Maddy Joy Bockett posted a nail vlog showing a gel manicure consisting of two parts: a green base and a chrome powder over top. 

@maddybockett UM HELLO MERMAID NAILS 😱🧜‍♀️🤍 #haileybiebernails #chromenails #mermaidnails #nailvlog #fyp ♬ CUFF IT – Beyoncé

I wasn’t sure where I’d go with the concept until I was in front of the polish wall at my nail salon. The shades of pale green with blue undertones (I aimed for more sea moss and less sage) seemed to be the most fitting. I grabbed one that I felt would be flattering against my skin tone and then a shimmer polish to go on top.

Like the TikTok examples, I went with a gel, manicure instead of a regular polish so it would last longer. Though I’ve never worn anything like this before (I would normally gravitate to pinks and reds before going blue or green) I’m surprised by how much I like this manicure. To me, it feels a little nostalgic: Like Kate Bosworth’s new Blue Crush Roxy collab, this mermaidcore manicure trend has a youthful, beach-y, puka shell-and-board shorts energy. This summer, that just feels right.

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