It was hard for me to believe mermaidcore as a trend prediction this summer. This summer’s impending mermaidcore fashion aesthetic sounded more like a fleeting fad than an authentic style choice, much like most of the crazes that come in and out of the zeitgeist, cottagecore, fairycore, even coastal grandmother. As a matter of fact, I didn’t realize what I was seeing until I let go of my initial judgment and started looking into the beauty inspiration.
The concept of mermaidcore 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. Designwise, 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 May 26, 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.
#mermaidcore is also growing on TikTok, specifically mermaid-inspired manicures.
In this interpretation by creator Anu Shya, a variety of nail art trends are combined in the same look: silver velvet, chrome powder, and 3D seashell art.
Try a simple seafoam green or turquoise shimmer polish instead. Creator Maddy Joy Bockett posted a nail vlog showing a two-part gel manicure with a green base and chrome powder on top.
I wasn’t sure where I’d go with the concept until I was in front of the polish wall at JINsoon, a nail salon in New York City. I chose shades of pale green with blue undertones — I wanted more sea moss and less sage — that I thought would look good against my skin tone. I then chose a shimmer polish to go on top.
I opted for a gel manicure instead of a regular polish, reasoning that it would last longer. Though I’ve never worn something like this before – I usually go for pinks and reds before experimenting with blues or greens – I’m surprised by how much I like this manicure. To me, it feels like a little bit of nostalgia: 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.