6 Ways to Master the Classic French Manicure

  • Post comments:0 Comments
  • Reading time:7 mins read

For many, achieving the perfect French manicure is as elusive as making a soufflé. It’s not that hard, really—you just need to know a few basic techniques and then have time to practice. But for those who don’t have the time or patience for the traditional DIY route, we’ve got six foolproof ways to master the classic French manicure.

The classic French manicure is a staple in nail art, but it can be difficult to achieve a perfect look. Our bloggers share their top tips and tricks for mastering the French manicure.

1. Use a french tip guide: To ensure your French tip is as even as possible, try using a french tip guide.

2. Use a light touch: When applying the polish for your French tip, use a light touch. If you press too hard, you’ll glob on too much polish and end up having to fix it later.

3. Use two different polishes: To get the classic French manicure look, use two different polishes — one for your base color and one for your tips.

4. Paint away from cuticles: When painting your nails, remember to paint away from your cuticles instead of towards them to prevent smudging.

5. Avoid getting polish on cuticles: It’s important to avoid getting too much polish on your cuticles when performing a French manicure or any other type of nail art because it will chip quickly and could even damage the skin around your nails if left unattended for too long. This can also discolor nails and make them more susceptible to infections like fungus or bacteria buildup under fingernails (

Nail Art How-to: French Manicure

The polished “V” of a French manicure is a classic look that never goes out of style. But to perfect this delicate style, it helps to know a few tricks of the trade. Whether you DIY your own nails or get them done at a salon, these expert tips will help you master the classic look.

1. Choose the Right White

White shouldn’t always be white. Choose a polish that has a hint of creaminess or ivory to it for a more natural look. No matter what shade you choose, make sure your polish is opaque and streak-free – any imperfections will be very noticeable with this manicure style.

2. Keep it Thin

For the cleanest look, keep the white tip thin and the line as straight as possible. If you’re painting your own nails at home, use tape to ensure that the lines are crisp and even by applying tape before applying polish to guide you as you paint on the white tips (see

The French manicure is the classic nail look that never goes out of style. It’s a clean and simple way to make your nails look polished and professional. If you have short or medium length nails, then this is the perfect look for you.

Here are our tips on mastering the art of the french manicure:

1. Apply a white or light pink base coat to your nails.

2. Apply a thin strip of polish, called a guide, at the bottom of each nail. This will help with spacing and symmetry so you don’t leave any gaps in your design.

3. Paint the top half of your nail with a dark color like red or black for contrast.

4. Use a makeup sponge to apply two coats of glitter polish over the white base coat on each nail.

5. Remove all traces of glitter from around your cuticles and skin using nail polish remover on a cotton pad or finger sponge dipped in acetone-free liquid remover.6

The classic French manicure is timeless, low-key and natural, but it isn’t always easy to do.

In this post, we’ll show you how to do a French manicure at home that looks just like the pros did it.

1. Choose a pale pink nail polish for your base coat. The most popular base color for French manicures is ballet pink or nude. You can also use white if you prefer a more dramatic look.

2. Paint on the base coats of each nail. Give your nails time to dry in between each coat.

3. Choose a darker pink or nude shade for the tips of your nails. Many women find they prefer using a shade that is darker than their base coat when doing a French manicure at home. This will help create contrast between the two colors without looking too dramatic or unnatural, especially if you are going for a more subtle look during the day.

4. Apply the tips of each nail with precision. Use tape or strips of paper to get neat, straight lines where desired as you apply the polish across the tip of each nail from left to right, moving across the bottom and up each side of the tip in one fluid motion with an angled brush.

To be honest, there’s not much to it. I just apply a base coat, two coats of white polish, and then a top coat. The key is to make sure the white polish is opaque and to let it dry completely before applying the top coat otherwise you’ll end up smearing the design.

Here are some more tips to keep in mind:

1) Make sure your nails don’t have any oils on them before you start. If they do, use a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to wipe them clean.

2) Use two coats of white polish and let each one dry completely before applying the next one.

3) If you’re someone who has trouble applying white polish neatly (I am), try using a French manicure guide sticker. They’re super easy to use and help make your life easier if you’re not an expert at DIY manicures yet like me.

4) Keep your design minimalistic. You can add some sparkly accents with glitter or even rhinestones if you want, but it’s best to keep the rest of the nails clean looking with just the strip of white on the tip.

We get it—the French manicure is a classic and all, but the stark white tip atop a sheer pink nail has never really been our go-to. The look, while simple and chic, just never feels fresh. But we’ve recently come to realize that there are plenty of ways to update this traditional style—as long as you’re willing to think outside the box. Glamour asked three of our favorite nail artists to show us how they make the French manicure feel modern and fresh. Read on to see how they do it—and get ready to take your mani game up a notch!

The first thing we had to tackle: choosing the right shape for the tips. “Using a more squared-off shape can give your tips a bit of an edge,” says celebrity nail artist Miss Pop of NYC-based salon Vanity Projects (she’s responsible for Lorde’s mani here). “But I still prefer a rounder shape for a cleaner look.” Next, she used two different shades from Smith & Cult’s new nail polish line ($18 each) for a subtle ombré effect: One Last Thing (a pretty mauve) on the bottom half, and Goddess On The Prairie (a sandier shade) at the top.

Leave a Reply