Do-It-Yourself French Manicure

French manicure, courtesy of Mary A. Pen, morgueFileWant professional looking nails without spending your day’s pay in the salon? With some practice and a little patience, you can enjoy fancy nails anytime you want for just the cost of your nail polish! An at-home French manicure is the perfect way to get your nails ready for a new season, special occasions, or just for a change from the norm. Feel beautiful and chic sporting your French manicure. Learn how to do it yourself with these simple tips.

Their pale pink base and bright white tips characterize the ever-popular French manicures, which are a common request at nail salons everywhere. Professional nail stylists may paint your nails alone or they may apply fake tips if you desire. Based on your personal preferences, a nail designer will give your nails a strengthening and conditioning workout prior to painting them. If you get your nails done with fake tips, you may have to make a trip back to the salon to get your French tips “refilled” when your nails have grown noticeably.


Keeping longer, healthy nails will be most conducive to sporting a French manicure. To complete your own French manicure, begin with the following steps to prepare your nails for the procedure.

1. Using a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover, wipe off any old nail polish prior to painting nails. Wash hands and soak in warm water for a few moments.

2. With an orangewood stick, gently push back the cuticles so they are all even with each other once the water has softened your skin.

3. With nail clippers, beauty scissors or a nail file, shape your nails evenly.

4. With a steady hand, carefully paint only the tip of each nail with a white hue. A second coat may be desirable, depending on the thickness and opaqueness of the polish. Allow polish to dry between coats.


5. Using a slightly transparent pink or nude color, paint the entire nail once the tips have dried. A second coat may be necessary. Allow nails to dry thoroughly.

6. Once all the coats have dried, apply a clear topcoat to protect your new French manicure. To lengthen the manicure’s lifespan, make an effort to paint a clear coat on each night. Be sure it has ample time to dry completely.

7. If you are feeling especially creative and ambitious, kick off your shoes and match your tootsies to your fingertips!

This procedure is best performed on a lazy morning or evening when no other pressing errands or tasks will get in the way. After painting your nails, avoid doing things with your hands while they dry.

For an easier painting technique, check the beauty section of a drug store or superstore for a French manicure kit. The set should contain, at the very least, nail polish in white and pink or beige and a clear topcoat. Some manicure sets – like COVERGIRL’s French Manicure Kit – will contain tiny, sticky nail guides. These make the manicure process 100 times easier by allowing you to place the guides on each nail individually, leaving a small margin where the polish can spill outside the tip without tainting the rest of the nail.


TIP: If you are getting a French manicure for your wedding, prom, or other special event, keep the style of your nails in mind. If you get a small design painted on your nails, or if you get a tiny decal or rhinestone or other applique, consider the direction of the design. If you’ll be walking down the aisle arm-in-arm with your dad on your wedding day, and exiting the church arm-in-arm with your husband, request that the design be painted from the thumb side outward. To visualize this, hold your hand as if you’ve linked arms with someone. You’ll want the design applied so that it stretches downward.

As the holidays approach, let your crazy side out by concocting a wildly modified French manicure – green and white for St. Patrick’s Day, pastel shades for Easter, black and orange for Halloween and red and green for Christmas. Have fun and remember, even if you find the do-it-yourself French manicure difficult at first, practice will provide you with the skills you need to create beautiful and perfect manicures all year long!

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