French Manicure 101: Your Ultimate Guide To The Classic Nail Trend


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If you spend hours looking for “new nail ideas” on Pinterest, allow us to remind you of the French manicure, AKA the nail trend that will never die. The timeless design has a huge fanbase – including Hailey Bieber – because it pairs perfectly with countless color combos and can be mixed and matched with gems and chains. Talk about a winner!

Our only hang-up? It’s kinda hard to do at home, which is why we’ve curated the ultimate list of the best French tip hacks for our DIYing qweens, plus some inspo for your viewing pleasure. But first…

What is a French Manicure?

The classic French manicure (or pedicure!) is typically painted with two colors: a) a sheer nude as the base and b) a contrasting band of white polish across the tip of the nail. Visual learners, thank celeb manicurist Tom Bachik for the aid below:

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French Mani Faves: Aprés Nail French Manicure Gel-French White, $15 + Aprés Nail Fairy Wings – N06, $15.

What are French Tips?

While the French manicure started out as a very classic look – a simple nude base with a white tip – in recent years, the design has taken on a whole new life of its own. Enter French Tips: replace the white tip with a color, glitter, metallic, or do different colored tips – your nail is your oyster! Maybe you want less harsh lines and a soft ombre effect, with the white gradually diminishing into your nude base? Maybe you want a tortoiseshell or zebra print artfully painted onto the tiny tips of your nails! The opportunities for creativity are endless, and that’s one reason the French manicure and French tips have endured so many years and are a go-to staple nail choice.


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Let’s also not forget that the nude base of a French manicure makes grow-out way more forgiving, so you can push that painstakingly chosen nail design an extra week, and it won’t be super obvious!

However, the “it-factor” of the French manicure – those sexy crisp lines and curved edges – can be tricky if you’re not a nail guru or haven’t had much nail painting practice (read: us). Enter: TikTok hacks that make applying nail varnish in a precise and neat manner totally effortless. Thank you, TikTok; we know you always have our back! Check out these easy ways of doing your own French manicure and French tip designs at home.

How to Do a French Manicure: The Hacks

The Viral A-French Manicure Hack

@farrahnailedit Reply to @thechancehall literal game changer 🔥 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #nails #nailtutorial ♬ over – champangemami

The Beauty Sponge French Manicure Hack

@ipsy #IPSY #nailtutorial #nailpolishhack #frenchtiphack ♬ sonido original – djdarzu

The Clean-It-Up French Manicure Hack 

@essie why is this so easy #nailart #frenchmanicure #frenchnailhack #nailarthack ♬ original sound – essie

The Ultimate DIY French Manicure Hack 

@lightslacquer Replying to @sixelaww french tip manicure hack for short nails #nails #nailpolish #nailinspo #nailsoftiktok #nailart #nailtutorial #diynails #diymanicure #naturalnails #nailsathome #nailhack #frenchtips #frenchnailhack ♬ original sound – spedupcaribbean

Now that you’ve nailed the application, it’s time to play with colors, add-ons, designs – everything! Check out these French manicure styles that live rent-free in our heads…

French Manicure Inspo-Board

1. Hailey‘s Red French Mani

2. Short Black French Tips

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3. Deep Coffin-Shaped Frenchies

4. Swirly French Nails

5. Barbiecore French Mani

6. Digital Art French Manicure

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7. Negative Space, 2-Tone French Tips


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8. Monochromatic Brown-Detailed Frenchies

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9. Glow-In-The-Dark French Tips

10. Daisy French Nails

BTW, here are some drugstore nail essentials for our DIY nail qweens.

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