Classic Summer Nail Colors


OPI Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It, Essie Gel Couture Wearing Hue?, Essie Brides No Grooms, OPI Cajun Shrimp, CND Vinylux Mambo Beat, Essie Gel Couture Living Legend

I’m either full on orangey-red and bold for my finger and toenails in the summertime, or clean and classic white. Not TRUE white, though that does remind me of the times I would paint my nails with “white out” in high school and then color over them with highlighter. I took a lot of creative liberties with my personal style in high school, but that’s a post for a different day.

Anyway, perhaps one of the most classic summery nail colors in history is Cajun Shrimp by OPI. It’s orangey-red with a slight pink/rose undertone as well. It looks good on every single skin tone and practically screams “beach day” as soon as you apply it. I’d actually love to hear if you think there is a MORE iconic summer nail color out there. Please tell me in the comments!

If I’m not doing my own gel manicure, I’ll reach for CND Vinylux or Essie Gel Couture. I save OPI or regular Essie for my toenails only as neither formula tends to last on my fingernails for more than 2-3 days. If you try out either of the two systems, Vinylux or Gel Couture, make sure you use the dedicated top coat that goes with the color coat. Neither system requires a base coat!

So, do you have a color you wear every summer, or do you switch it up? And I can’t wait to see if there is a more iconic shade than Cajun Shrimp that’s suggested as well!

P.S. how to do a lasting home manicure!

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Comments (57)

  1. Posted May 29, 2018

    I’m usually not one for bright nail polish colours, but I love that cajun shrimp shade by OPI! It’s definitely perfect for summer! ❤️❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Laura says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    True! I have Cajun Shrimp on right now. It’s been my go-to for YEARS! I always get the most compliments on it. Love it!!

  3. Sara says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    Essie Clambake. The most perfect tomato red color….I love it!!

    • EmilyH says
      Posted May 30, 2018

      That’s my all-time favorite, too!! It doesn’t feel like summer until I’ve had my first Essie Clambake manicure!

    • EmilyB says
      Posted May 31, 2018

      It’s on my toes right now!

  4. Allie says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I love a nice red for summer too, I love Essie clambake or geranium. My new favorite pedicure color is Urban Jungle; it’s the perfect white that’s not a true white!

  5. Katelyn says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    This is more on the pink end, but I love OPI Strawberry Margarita! It is the perfect hot pink!

  6. Sarah says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    The past few years my go to was OPI Oh Cabana Boy but this week I found OPI Fireball and I’m in love. I do have Cajun Shrimp in my collection!

  7. Mika says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I have Cajun Shrimp on my toes right now. I love it!!!

  8. Heather says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    You win on this! A girlfriend and I were literally just talking about summer toes and both agreed OPI Cajun Shrimp is where it’s at!

  9. Posted May 29, 2018

    Cajun shrimp is my toe color ALL the time! Bit of course, I’m from Cajun Country!!!

  10. Emily says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    2 of my go-to colors are OPI Mod About You & OPI Let’s Be Friends! Those are about the only 2 shades I wear in the summer! I have tried Cajun Shrimp in the past and really liked it & I normally shy away from the “red/orange” tones.

    • Misty F says
      Posted May 29, 2018

      Those are my two all time favorite colors ! ☺️

  11. Tiffany says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    My summer favorite is Essie’s E-nuf is E-nuf.

  12. Nicole says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I agree 💯 Cajun Shrimp is an AWESOME color, I just requested another bottle as mine ran out.
    My other favorite colors on rotation this spring/summer are all ESSIE gel couture colors: The It Factor (#300)
    Fairy Taylor ( #40) & Signature Smile (#230)
    I absolutely LOVE how long this polish stays on as a busy mom of 5 I can usually get 2 weeks out of a mani!

  13. Charlotte says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I’ve got to have Cajun Shrimp!! It’s perfect for summer!!

  14. Lauren says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I’m usually a OPI Strawberry Margarita kinda girl in the summer, but I just got my first pedi with Cajun Shrimp and I am loving it!

  15. Melinda says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I have always loved the Cajun Shrimp. I didn’t know it was a Summer favorite so I’m happy to know I picked a favorite 😎.

  16. Kari says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I use CND Shellac Lobster Roll, Gotcha or OPI GelColor My Chihuahua Bites, or Paint My Mojitoes Red. They are my summer go to! Also always use a gel polish – can’t stand seeing chips on my toes after a day in the sand!

  17. Sherry says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I love Coconut Cove on my toes and Strawberry Margarita on my fingers!

  18. Ashley Jewett says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    Yessssssss! My go to every time o get a pedi!

  19. Michele says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I for one wouldn’t love a high school schoolnstylenretrospectige of you, Kate! I think that would be a very fun read!

    • Michele says
      Posted May 29, 2018

      Gah! Sorry, commenting using my phone is horrible today! I meant that I WOULD love a high school style retrospective! It would definitely be an entertaining read!

  20. Sarah R. says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I love corals for summer pedicures! I usually do OPI “Live Love Carnival” (more orange coral), OPI “Time for a Napa” (more pink coral), or OPI “I Mainely Eat Lobster” (equal orange/pink coral).

  21. Sarah says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I love it bright during summer. I always use China glaze neon colors! My favorite is shocking pink, but I like you drive me coconuts and flip flop fantasy as well. They are awesome on toes 🙂

    • Melissa says
      Posted May 29, 2018

      Yes! China Glaze Shocking Pink is my go to

  22. Jen Endsley says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    Cajun Shrimp has been my summer color since I was a senior in high school. However, I tried a different color last week and it’s really growing on me. It is OPI She’s a bad muffuletta. Check it out!

    • Stacey says
      Posted May 30, 2018

      Yes! These are my two favourite shades. I currently have Cajun Shrimp on my toes and She’s a Bad Muffletta on my fingers.

  23. Lauren says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    Cajun shrimp is my summer go-to! Along with OPI Strawberry Margarita. For my hands I’ll do Bubble Bath but will do that year-round. Classic color!

  24. Anita says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    In addition to Opi Cajun Shrimp, I think Essie Smooth Sailing – a periwinkle blue with slight shimmer, says summer & beach vacation too!
    Since. I have natural nails & polish chips easily, I like to use neutrals such as Essie High Maintenance ( less sheer than popular Essie Mademoiselle), Wet & Wild- Sugarcoat (economical price too) , & China Glaze Moonlight – a very pretty milky white for manicures.
    NP has become a hobby if mine.

  25. M.Robinson says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    Opi Grand Canyon Sunset….but can’t find it now

  26. Ashley says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    OPI Dutch Tulips

    • DG says
      Posted May 30, 2018

      This is my favorite as well! I am always drawn to it even though there are so many polishes at the salon!

  27. Theresa says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I loved Cajun Shrimp! Recently I have been hooked on Colorstreet and it lasts! Bali is one of their discontinued shades that is probably the closest if you are lucky enough to find it, and its my next Summer mani!

  28. Angelica says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    what about Gel colors??

  29. Jill says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    Wow!! A few years ago I searched and searched for the perfect polish for toes – not too pink, not too red, not too orange… Cajun Shrimp was the winner!! Can’t use anything else!! Makes me feel great to know that you love it too!!!

  30. Posted May 29, 2018

    Ella & Mila. No “bad” ingredients, goes on beautifully and lasts almost as long as gel polish, but isn’t! I’ll never use anything else! !

  31. Cece says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I love Magic City by KL polish. Their formula is amazing, long lasting and free of harsh ingredients.

  32. Katie says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    Love Cajun Shrimp but also love Essie’s Boat House as another quintessential summer classic polish.

  33. Emily says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I just put Tasmanian Devil on my toes yesterday!! 🙂

  34. Courtney Helton says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    I have Cajun shrimp on my nails now and OPI’s we sea food we wear it on my toes. I also love OPI strawberry margarita!! Cajun shrimp is definitely my favorite summertime red!!!!

    • Courtney Helton says
      Posted May 29, 2018

      That supposed to say ‘we sea food we eat it’ 🙄🙄

  35. Kerri Martin says
    Posted May 29, 2018

    CND’s Tutti Frutti…it’s a pink with a purple shimmer!

  36. Tami says
    Posted May 30, 2018

    Can anyone show a picture of the Cajun shrimp color please”;)
    Thank you:)

  37. Olivia says
    Posted May 30, 2018

    I’m loving OPI’s – We Seafood and Eat It. I would say it is Cajun Shrimps first cousin, they’re very similar.

  38. Nikki Burke says
    Posted May 30, 2018

    An oldie from OPI is my go-to for summer toes – Senorita Rosalita. Orangey pink with some gold shimmer to it. Love it! Obviously not made anymore, but this year I found a random new Target brand that matches almost perfectly. My heart was happy!

  39. Kylie Weaver says
    Posted May 30, 2018

    Sometimes it’s hard wearing orange-red with fair skin, but all of these colors ROCK!!

  40. Jessica says
    Posted May 30, 2018

    I love Cajun Shrimp! As soon as I saw the title of your post, it’s immediately what I thought. I hear ya on the fingers nails though! OPI and Essie never last! I recently started using a brand called AILA Cosmetics, and although it’s not gel, it lasts me 5-7 days using the base, color, and top coat. Plus it’s more natural, so I feel better about using it. I’ve been really impressed, and their colors are so much fun too!!

  41. Cate says
    Posted May 30, 2018

    Opi My Chihuahua Boyes!

  42. Joy says
    Posted May 30, 2018

    My absolute favorite right now is Essie Gel Couture – Once Upon A Time. Just on my toes. I keep it neutral and short on my fingernails because – the piano. It is the perfect lavender – grey shade that picks up the color of my sandals and seems to change and look like different shades. I have never had so many compliments on a toenail polish color ever!

  43. Lauren says
    Posted May 30, 2018

    I love OPI Cajun Shrimp! OPI I Eat Maine-ly Lobster is another good bright coral summer color, and it had a tiny hint of shimmer. I’m wearing it right now 😄 I’m obsessed with nail polish, and have almost 100 bottles and do my nails about twice a week.

  44. Katy says
    Posted May 31, 2018

    Cajun Shrimp is one of my all time faves, but I also often find myself reaching for Essie’s Peach Daiquiri this time of year! It’s similar to Cajun Shrimp but a little more pink!

  45. Amy McMichael says
    Posted June 3, 2018

    So I am not usually one to comment but…here it goes! I have been a hairdresser for 20+ years so polish doesn’t stay on my nails. Unless I do shellac or acrylics. But I don’t have time for that with 3 kids plus it trashed my nails. A client introduced me to Color Street!!! I was skeptical but I’m telling you, a game changer!!! This is seriously a mom life hack!! It’s 100% real polish with no dry time and my nails will last almost 2 weeks with my hands in water!!! I know !! Crazy!! So of course I am now selling them, because why wouldn’t I?!? 😉. I would love to send you a set and have you review them on your page because moms everywhere need to know!!! Lol.

  46. Emily says
    Posted June 3, 2018

    I’m more of a pink girl, so I love OPI Strawberry Margarita and Revlon Passion Punch Shimmer. Cajun Shrimp is great when I want to switch it up, though!

  47. Lauren Jackson says
    Posted June 3, 2018

    Opi’s Party in My Cabana!!

  48. Emily says
    Posted June 3, 2018

    OPI’s Cajun Shrimp is one of my all time favorites! I also love Essie’s shade Watermelon as well as Sinful Colors Poisonberry. Thanks to this blog post I tried a white manicure (Essie’s Marshmallow + Essie’s gel setter topcoat) and I’m in love!

  49. CherylAnn says
    Posted June 3, 2018

    I’ve been wearing Cajun Shrimp every summer since it came out. It doesn’t feel like Summer without it!! 🤣🤣🤣