How To Nail (pun intended) a French Manicure

May 26, 2016

A professional manicure is one of those luxuries—necessities(?) that we love to indulge in. But when time and money doesn’t allow for a visit to the salon, you can make your own nails look picture perfect with a French manicure.

This clean, classic look is perfect for day or night and any season. It even looks great on toes. To do a true French Manicure, two colors are used, a translucent base color, usually pink or peach and a solid, opaque white or off-white. First, the translucent base is applied to the nails, then the white is applied, but only to the tips.


opi-new-orleans-imageOPI currently inspired by sights and sounds New Orleans with some great colors that can add some Creole flavor to your typical French manicure. You can check out the whole collection here, but we recommend Let Me Bayou a Drink, Humidi-Tea, or Crawfishin’ for a Compliment for more vibrant look. Generally you want to choose a shade close to your skin tone, either cool or warm for the most natural looking manicure. A very popular color combination is Ballet Slippers & Blanc by Essie.

If you want to try something a little different. Feel free to substitute two different, more contrasting colors (for example, red for the base and gold for the tips). Or stick to the classic colors, we recommend Zoya Naturel Nail Polish Collection with a variety of neutral shades. Or go crazy with an opal or glitter top coat for a new twist. The possibilities are endless.


The French Manicure works best for nails between 1/4 to 3/4 inches long. When deciding on a nail shape, it's always best to go with one which will enhance the shape of your fingers. For example, you can make the fingers of petite hands look longer and more graceful by having almond shaped nails.

A French Manicure can be performed in one of two ways - either freehand or by using a stencil as a guide. If you are using a stencil, the hardest part is lining up the nail guides evenly and then making sure they stay on straight while you're painting the tips white.

If you are doing things freehand, make sure you have a sure, steady eye when painting the tips of your nails. Otherwise, your tips will be of varying sizes when they are done, and your nails won't look so very très chic at all! Remember practice makes perfect! Don't get frustrated if it isn't perfect. No one will scrutinize your nails. A polish corrector pen, makes clean up a lot easier!

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