The classic French manicure is still as popular as ever, and is a very classy look for ladies of all ages to wear. Although modern interpretations of this nail style may involve all colors of the rainbow, the classic French manicure consists of white overhanging nail tips, and fresh (but still natural) pink nails varnished to a high gloss. One of these manicures is usually considered an expensive treat that most people can only afford once in a while, but with a bit of know-how and patience it’s actually possible to do this at home.
How to french manicure your own nails
Plenty of time – an hour can be just enough, but if you have never tried this before then allow two hours to be safe!
A nail file
cotton balls or cloths
nail polish remover
a wide nail polish brush
fine nail polish brush
natural pink toned nail polish (if you have excellent natural nail colour then translucent polish is fine)
White nail polish
To begin with, you need to shape your nails using the file. Pay plenty of attention to the shape, as you don’t want to touch it up afterwards, ruining the polish. Work in smooth light strokes, and ensure that you remove any burrs from the upper and underside of the nail before you go on. Many people try to learn how to french manicure your own nails and don’t spend enough time in simple preparation like this – sadly a good polish job can be totally ruined by badly shaped nails with rough spots, as these really stand out.
Once you are happy with the shape, it’s time to completely scrub the nail using nail polish remover. Do this even if you have no polish residue visible at all, since it is important to remove all natural oils, to allow the new coat of varnished to stick. Use cotton balls or a cloth, and plenty of polish remover.
How to french manicure your own nails: applying the polish
This is where people begin to struggle! In professional salons, it looks so effortless when the white tips are painted onto the nails. Here’s how to do it yourself. Use the fine nail brush dipped in white polish, and paint in slow and narrow strokes across the tip the nail, working your way inwards. Don’t worry too much if you don’t end up with a perfect line, just concentrate on getting a nice smooth coat first. Now rinse out the fine brush using nail polish remover, and then use these to correct the shape of the tip so you have a smooth naturally curved line that follows the shape of the fingertip. You will find that it only takes a few strokes of the polish remover to completely smooth out the tip into a perfect shape. This is the single biggest tip we can give, in how to french manicure your own nails! Once you have done all 10 nails give them at least 20 minutes to dry.
The next part is a lot easier. Use your natural tone nail polish to fill in the rest of the nail, using the wide nail brush. Take care not to mess up the tips that you have spent so much time on, but if you do get it on the white polish, this should wipe off quickly and easily because that will now be dry. Again give this polish at least 20 minutes to dry fully.
If you are happy with the results so far, it is time to move on to a clear coat. If not, now is the time to make any adjustment using a fine brush and very small amounts of acetone nail polish remover. Learning how to french manicure your own nails takes time – don’t worry if you’ve made a small mistake, it can be easily touched up.
Applying clear coat is fairly easy, and the trick is to apply in multiple thin coats rather than one thick one. Thin coats dry faster, and also seem to dry to a much higher gloss, which is more resistant to chipping. It’s up to you whether you choose a medium or high gloss polish, but the classic French look is definitely high gloss!
Teaching yourself how to french manicure your own nails is fun, and can save you a lot of money. It can also be a great way to spend an afternoon with a friend, and you will find yourself in high demand once the your pick up – before you know it everyone will want you to do their nails for them!