Dazzle on a Dime: 12 French Tip Nail Designs That Are Easy To Do At Home
Everything old is new again! And nothing proves it more than the way one of the most classic nail trends keeps getting more popular with each passing year: French tip nails. The bright white polish atop nails painted a pinky-nude tone, is one of the hottest nail trends today and it comes in many different pretty modern-day iterations.
Of course, the original look is already familiar to many of us over the age of 50. But what might not be so well known to us is how this manicure actually originated.
The origins of French tip nail designs
Though it’s called the “French” manicure, this design was actually created in Hollywood in the mid-1970s. Manicurist Jeff Pink, who founded the nail polish company Orly, was doing nails for actresses while shooting movies, and decided that a full color polish change was too time-consuming to accomplish in between takes.
His solution: the iconic nude and white stripe nail combo that we all know and love. Once the look hit the runways in Paris a few years later, Pink dubbed the style the French manicure. Soon after, he created kits to sell for customers to create the look at home, and that’s when French tip nails went mainstream.
Fast forward to today, and once again iconic French tip nails are popping up everywhere — from the fingers of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston, to being splashed across social media platforms, where new variations seem to pop up by the minute.
In fact, there’s so many different styles these days that it’s hard to keep up with all the French tip nail trends. Yet one thing we know for sure: manicurists say the original look and many of its variations are super flattering for ladies over 50.
How French tip nail designs flatter women over 50
“The classic choice of pale pink and nude colors in a French manicure are a perfect pick for more mature hands,” says Rachel Apfel Glass, founder and owner of GLOSSLAB nail salons. “Since these shades mimic the natural color of youthful nails.”
Plus, the signature white tips counteract the natural yellowing that can affect nails as we age. “The white covers up stains and signs of sun damage and chemical exposure,” says Anna Parvatova, Creative Director at Signature Nail System, a nail product company. “So nails will appear brighter, healthier and more vibrant.”
Lastly, French tip nails visually lengthen nails and fingers. As Parvatova explains, “The illusion of extended nail length contributes to the appearance of slender, more youthful fingers.”
“While the traditional pale pink base truly looks great on everyone, don’t be afraid to mix it up,” says Glass. “We have many clients of all ages who are switching out the classic colors for a colored tip or even a colored base, adding designs and more that look stunning on both short and long nails alike!” You’re only limited by your imagination, as many social media influencers can attest to these days.
Best of all, it’s easy to create French tip nails for yourself at home. There’s really only one caveat: Make sure you are leaving enough dry time between coats. “The base coat should be completely dry to the touch before you apply the tip,” advises Glass. “This ensures a smoother application and helps to avoid smudging.”
Keep scrolling to see all the gorgeous designs that are sure to make your nails look très magnifique!
1. Classic French tip manicure
Sophisticated and timeless, a traditional French manicure is simple to create at home and it works well for both casual and formal occasions. And no need to worry about a steady hand, we found a great way to achieve the look using stickers.
Use a set of tweezers to peel off a French manicure nail sticker, like Blulu French Manicure Nail Sticker Strips (Buy from Amazon, $5.25) and apply just below your natural nail line so the tip is exposed. Smooth the sticker down to ensure no nail polish seeps beneath it.
Starting just above the sticker, use a white polish, like China Glaze Nail Polish in White on White (Buy from Amazon, $7.60) to paint a French tip on each nail. Then immediately remove the sticker with tweezers. Let dry; seal all nails with top coat.
2. Striking V-cut (or V-tip) French tip nail design
The V-tip French manicure is created by using a color on the top of the nail shaped into a “V” shape instead of a curved line. This look works best on longer nail shapes, since more nail space helps the V-shape to really stand out.
Paint two coats of a light pink polish, like OPI Bare My Soul Nail Lacquer (Buy from OPI, $11.49), onto all nails. Let dry.
Using a white polish, like China Glaze Nail Polish in White on White (Buy on Amazon, $7.60), create a V-shape by starting at the middle part at the top of the nail, and drawing a line diagonally towards the center of the outer edge. Repeat on all nails. Let dry.
Finish with a top coat.
To see this design being made in action, watch the below tutorial from YouTuber Neo Trix.
3. Flirty floral-infused French tip nail design
The combination of bright colored French tips with coordinating floral accents is sure to make a pretty and feminine statement.
Grab light blue, pink, green, yellow and orange polishes, find them all in a set like SHANY Cosmopolitan Nail Polish Set (Buy from Amazon, $29.99) and paint the tip of each nail with a different color. Let dry.
Dip the ball end of a nail striping brush, like iminoo 6 Piece Nail Art Brushes (Buy from Amazon, $4.98), into each nail’s coordinating polish and create 1-2 centers of a flower on each nail.
Dip the ball end of the striping brush into a white polish, like China Glaze Nail Polish in White on White (Buy from Amazon, $7.60), and create small dots around the colored center of the flower to create the flower’s petals. Let dry.
Finish with top coat.
4. Stunning side French tip nail design
A tilted stripe of white just like the above design from @thenailroommanchester gives a modern spin to the traditional French manicure.
Paint two coats of a light pink polish like OPI Bare My Soul Nail Lacquer (Buy from OPI, $11.49), on all nails. Let dry.
Dip a nail striping brush, like iminoo 6 Piece Nail Art Brushes (Buy from Amazon, $4.98), into a white polish, like China Glaze Nail Polish in White on White (Buy on Amazon, $7.60), and use to paint a French tip only on the side of each nail.
Finish with a top coat.
5. Funky inverted French tip nail design
Flipping where the line of color lies on nails so it’s near the cuticle can also trick the eye into seeing longer nails. And this design as shown by @allnailss._ can be created with a variety of color combinations — the possibilities are endless!
Paint two coats of a pink polish, like Nailtopia Nail Lacquer in Sassy But Classy (Buy from Walgreens, $7.49), onto all nails. Let dry.
Apply two coats of a dark pink polish, like essie Nail Polish in Bachelorette Bash (Buy from Ulta, $8.89), to the bed of each nail just a third of the way above the cuticle. Let dry.
Finish with top coat.
6. Marvelous micro French tip nail design
Micro-French tip nails switches things up by using a thin, barely-there accent line unlike the thicker, more traditional tips of a regular French manicure. You can still opt for using the traditional white, or add some extra flair with a brightly hued (as shown above) or glittery polish.
This double French manicure from @lovenails_47 involves two lines at the tip of the nail (which can either have a larger space between them or be painted on closely together) help make nails look longer than ever.
Paint two coats of a pink polish, like OPI Bare My Soul Nail Lacquer (Buy from OPI, $11.49), on all nails. Let dry.
Alternate painting a thicker crescent on tips of nails with a royal blue polish, like essie Nail Polish in Butler Please (Buy from Ulta, $10) and an aqua blue polish like essie Nail Polish in The Cab-ana (Buy from Ulta, $10). Let dry completely.
Directly below the colored tips, use a nail art brush, like Orly Striper Brush (Buy from Orly, $13.90) to paint a thin, curved line with the opposite blue polish that the tips are painted (so use the royal blue for the aqua blue tips and aqua blue for the royal blue tips). Let dry.
Finish with top coat.
10. Chic chrome French tip nail design
Tips painted with multi-color chrome polishes as shown by @kellimarissa marries two of the hottest nail trends going using shimmery, metallic nail polish in place of the usual bright white crescent to create a more modern variation of the beloved French mani.
Use blue, green, pink and purple chrome nail polishes, like Cirque Colors in Monolith, Tomorrowland, X Machina and Chroma Rose (Buy from Cirque Colors, $14.50 each), to paint onto just the tips of nails. Let dry.
Finish with top coat.
11. Fun fruity French tip nail design
Give nails fruity flair with this multi-fruit French tip design that’s sure to bring a smile to your face.
Get the look:
Apply two coats of pale pink polish like Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color in In a Blush (Buy from Walmart, $5.24) to nails and let dry.
Orange and lemon: Use an orange polish like ella + mila Nail Polish in ‘Cause I’m Happy (Buy on Amazon, $11.39) dipped in a nail art brush like Orly Striper Brush (Buy from Orly, $13.90)to draw a half-circle at the nail’s tip, then use a white nail art pen like Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen in White (Buy on Amazon, $6.46) to draw a half-circle line and three angled lines over it. Repeat with yellow polish like Morgan Taylor in Watt Yel-Lookin At (Buy on Amazon, $10.95) and a nail art brush to make a lemon.
Watermelon: Use a red polish like OPI Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red (Buy on Amazon, $11.49) and a nail art brush to draw a half-circle at the nail’s tip, then outline with a white nail art pen and green striper polish like Cre8tion Detailing Nail Art Gel Striper (29 Green Glitter) (Buy from Amazon, $9.46). Use black polish and the nail art brush to dot on seeds.
Kiwi: Use lime green polish dipped in a nail art brush to draw a half-circle at the nail’s tip, then use a white nail art pen to make a smaller semicircle inside. Use black polish and the nail art brush to dot on seeds. Let dry; seal with top coat.
12. Bold two-way neon French manicure
Painting top and bottom crescents onto nails in bright neon hues like the above look from @smaltogdl adds extra pizzazz to fingers.
Apply a bright pink polish, like Zoya Nail Polish in Eden (Buy from Walmart, $5.72), across the nail bed. Let dry; seal with top coat.
For more hacks that help you create a French manicure with ease, check out the video below from the ICON Network YouTube channel.
Lorraine Sullivan has always been curious, and once she realized being a journalist meant she could ask all the questions she wanted AND get answers, she was hooked! As a freelance writer she loves contributing to FIRST for Women magazine, regularly writing features about beauty and fashion fixes, ways to save cash while shopping and tips on how to take the best care of furry pals. After 21 years in New York City, she currently lives in the Heartland, in a house with her three children, spoiled cat Zuzu,and a big backyard where she’s always hanging up birdhouses and trying to cultivate the perfect pollinator garden. She also loves traveling with her family—they’ve visited places like Mexico, China, Australia and plenty of other places in between.Follow her adventures at https://www.instagram.com/rainbowdops
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