French manicured hands
Fashion & Beauty

Complete Guide: How to Do a French Manicure

It is true that freshly done nail polish can go a long way in making a good impression on others. It is the kind of small detail that we don’t always think about at first, but we do notice beautiful nails from time to time. All that said, a big question remains: is a French manicure really French? Find out everything you need to know about nail painting and the history of French manicures in the following guide.

The French Manicure is Surprisingly not French

Although it is called a French manicure, this nail painting style is anything but French. Actually, the story as it goes started in 1975 when the CEO of Orly International, Mr. Jeff Pink, needed to find a solution to save time for manicures on movie sets.

Yes, assuring that all nails were on point with the costumes and whatnot would take way too much time and cause schedule problems for movie directors. Therefore, Pink had the incredible idea to use white polish to paint the tip of the nails, to then put a flesh tone over the latter to finish the polish.

This new technique created a style that perfectly matched between different wardrobes, and eventually saved a lot of time and money on set for directors. Thereafter, Pink decided to start a business out of the interesting style, calling it the Natural Look Nail Kit. It was selling so well that a few months later, he brought his kit to Paris, where it was used for several fashion shows. Models and fashion show directors were so in love with the product, it quickly became a big trend in France.

When Pink came back to the United States, he had given a new name to his own creation: the French manicure.

Step-by-step Guide on how to do a French Manicure

The French manicure can be a delicate process as it can be very quickly done. It all depends on the quality of the work and of the products that you expect. Nevertheless, here’s a rundown of the best way to do a DIY French Manicure polish:

  1. Gently prepare the nails with a basecoat.
  2. Apply French Tip stickers equally on each finger.
  3. Use White Lacquer Vernis (white coat) and apply it slowly and carefully on the tip of your nails.
  4. Make sure that the nail tips are well painted and let everything dry for at least 2 minutes.
  5. Pull off the French Tip stickers.
  6. Verify if the white coat is perfect on each nail. If you see small details that require cleanup, use a pointy nail brush with acetone to fix up the imperfections.
  7. Finally, apply the finish coat (or pink coat lacquer Vernis) and smoothly apply it on the whole surface of each nail.

The last step, which is optional, is called topping the nails. Applying a topcoat is useful to protect your nails, which in turn will make them last longer and make the color shinier.

Is a French Manicure healthy for your nails?

Put simply, no, if you use good quality nail products on your nails, you shouldn’t have any problem whatsoever. However, using artificial nails on a regular basis can cause your nail to deteriorate (because they get thinner), and if done repeatedly, it can potentially ruin your nails. Using French manicure on a daily basis does not parch or brittle your nails if done correctly.

What are the different types of Manicure?

There are different manicure styles with different prices, so which one would suit you the best? Here are the main French manicure styles to look out for:

  1. Standard Manicure
    This is the one we described earlier in our guide. It usually included nail trimming, buffing, and shaping.
  2. Acrylic Manicure
    These are made with polymer and monomer products to shape your nails in a specific way.
  3. Vinylux Manicure
    Vinylux nail polish is often used to have a nice shiny color as well as to protect the nails. The latter does not require any base coat or topcoat polish.
  4. Dip Powder Manicure
    This kind of manicure requires one to dip his or her nails in powder in order to create the color. This style is usually not very precise but gives great results if done properly.
  5. Gel Extension
    These premade extensions are artificial nails put over the real nails and topped with a clear gel. To complete the process, a LED light is usually used as a finish.
  6. Gel Manicure
    Also called sculpted gel, gel manicure is used to shape the nail. There is also a soft gel that’s easier to apply but harder to shape.
  7. Shellac French Manicure
    This type of manicure is usually used by professionals as it doesn’t require any dry time. It can be applied like nail polish but has the same gel feeling as gel manicures.

Where does the French Manicure come from?

The French manicure infant form started in California in the 70s. When Jeff Pink went to Paris with his newly created Nail Polish Kit, French models fell in love with it. The name French manicure became the official name, although it is very much an American (Jeff Pink) who created it.

Are French manicures still trendy in 2021?

You would be surprised to know how many celebrities have been wearing the 70s born manicure. In 2019 especially, it was literally exploding. Nowadays, there are many new versions and new ideas that come into play. Everybody is trying to be different to be at the start of a new trend. That said, the French manicure is still widely used in its most simple form.

In Conclusion

That concludes our complete guide on how to do French nails and the history of French manicures. This style of nail painting and nail polish has proven time and time again that it can be matched with any style of any era. Even to this day, people still proudly wear the classic French manicure, and they will probably for many years to come.

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