Beauty

29 New Ways to Wear a French Manicure

Face, Nail, Skin, Blue, Nail polish, Eyebrow, Beauty, Red, Nail care, Nose,

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The French tip dates as far back as the 18th century. The look had a brief hiatus sometime in the mid-2000s, but the latest incarnations are a far cry from the thick, angular acrylics of decades past. Rainbow details, minimalist outlines, and angular accents offer new ways to wear a French manicure right now. Ahead, 24 tips to try.

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Color Block

Much like the original, this version of a French mani leans on classic straight lines that accentuate the nail tips. What makes it more modern are the different colors on each nail, the thicker block of color, and the matte topcoat.

Rainbow V

If you can’t decide on one polish color, you don’t have to with this design. Each nail pairs a darker and lighter color. Plus, the v-shaped paint job helps visually elongate the nail.

Psychedelic Mix

Multi-colored swirls painted in a non-uniform pattern give off a retro ’60s vibe. This look will be just as trippy with any color combination your choose.

Tortoise Tips

These delicately painted tortoise tips look like fine jewelry that’s been perfectly placed at the end of each nail bed.

Two-Tone French

The detail is subtle but on each side of the black stripe accenting these tips is the slightest variation in color on each nail. If you look closely you’ll see that there’s a lighter and darker version of each color.

Floral French

What says spring better than flowers painted onto your nails. Not only are the florals different on each tip, but the design is also concentrated just to the edges of each nail for effortless sprig vibes.

Martini Mani

Anyone else suddenly craving a martini, extra dirty?

The Classic

If you’re loyal to the traditional French manicure, modernize your look by matching it to a white, cat-eye.

Design by @sephoracollection

Black Rainbows

Rainbows lend themselves well to a curved tip. Try this technicolor twist on the Frenchie, but paint them with a black base for a moodier look .

Design by @nail_unistella

Black and White Graphics

Play off your white French tips with hyper-graphic details in black.


Design by @spifster

The French Line

The minimalist approach to the French manicure is the French line, where you trace along your nail bed in black. Honestly, it’s so easy.

Design by @flowidity108

Monochrome Split

A French tip, half-moon combo, this monochrome look is a mod design that will go with anything. Paint one color first and give it ample time to dry before applying your second lacquer.

Design by @jessicawashick

Marble Tips

Marble nails are an ongoing trend. Why not try it this summer with French tips? We’re especially fond of this purple version, complimented by a full marble nail.

Design by @amivnails

French Fishnets

French tips and fishnets go hand in hand style wise, so why not combine the two vampy choices into one? Start with a bare nail, then hand paint a grid or use a nail stencil to get the crosshatched design. Once dry, paint your tips white and finish with a clear base.

Design by @me_julielee

Understated Stripe

This look, worn by ELLE.com’s own beauty guru Julie Schott, is a subtle way to update the French manicure. After your white tips are dry, underline each with a stripe of nude and finish off the look with a clear topcoat.

Design by @naominailsnyc

Mondrian Outlines

Focus on this manicure’s ring finger. The white tip is lined in black for a graphic, Mondrian-esque design.

Design by @nail_unistella

Oil Spill Tips

Take the oil spill nail trend to another level by applying the foil just at your tips, leaving the rest of your nail bare.

Design by @paintbox

Mint Fade

This nail artist combined a mint French tip with an ombre fade. No matter what colors you choose, always start with your lightest shade first and give yourself time for each coat to dry.

Design by @palemoonseattle

Double Lined

This minimal nail updates the French tip with the simple additional of a corresponding middle line. For that section, mimic the curve of your tip to get the cleanest look.

Design by @aliciatnails

Freeform Details

For a quirkier French tip, freehand your design all over like this mash-up of grapefruits, watermelons, and ’80s motifs.

Design by @nailsbymii for @vanityprojects

French Fade

Apply the concept of French manicure—white tips with a nude base—to the ongoing ombre trend. For best results, apply the two polishes on a makeup sponge and continuously dab onto the nail. Finish with a topcoat.

Design by @sohotrightnail

Micro Details

Bust out a thin brush to paint micro details to the base of your nail for a playful design. This back-to-school manicure by nail artist Kro Vargas features a yellow bus, a pencil, and a teeny tiny chalkboard.

Design by @krocaine

Seeing Double or Triple

A traditional manicure includes only one line but you can force the design into 2018 by adding another line of design. Purple lines, pink lines, cheetah lines—the possibilities are endless.

Design by @aliciatnails

The Upside Down

Who says a French manicure is just for your nail tips? Give your beds a little TLC by reversing the style and letting the design rest near your cuticles.

Design by @chillhouse

Blinged Out

Bling out your tips. Rhinestones or glitter will help you get your shine on in no time. Complete the look by taking some advice from Kanye and adding a grill.

Design by @naominailsnyc

Red Hot

White and soft pink are so last year. In 2018 it’s time to go crazy with colors and sparkles. Fire Engine red pairs nicely with a silver shimmer because if you’re going to go big why not go really big?

Design by @nailsbymei

A Dash of Glam

If you want to be adventurous but no go crazy (like the nails above), add a bit of a glitter polish to the tips and leave the rest of the nail a classic pink.

Design by @paintboxnails

Dipped in Design

Inspired by architectural designs, this particular nail includes both a French manicure and a small work of art to match.

Design by @chillhouse

Dressed Up

Add a bit of sparkle at the opposite end of the Frenchie to dress up the look.

Design by @valleynyc

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