How the French manicure got to be so stylish

December 8, 2014

The recipe for a French manicure is simple: nude nail polish, opaque white nail polish and a clear top coat. This elegant look is standard in beauty salons around the globe. What’s the secret of its success? Simplicity, which never goes out of style.

The origins of the French manicure

It may surprise you to learn that the French manicure is an American creation. Dating back to the 1970s, this natural look was created for Hollywood stars and then quickly went on to vanquish conventions everywhere. The name was a reference to the "French touch," a popular fashion phrase at the time that was meant to capture the refinement and elegance of the famous Parisian designers.

Ladies, get out your polish!

If you’d like to experiment and create this look yourself, here are the steps to follow:

1. Gather your tools. You will need:

  • A nail file
  • A transparent nail polish
  • An opaque white polish
  • A neutral polish that matches your skin tone
  • Manicure stickers or adhesive paper (optional)

2. Shape your nails and push back the cuticles. Apply a base layer of transparent polish. This will help the other layers of polish adhere to the nail and make your manicure last longer. Allow to dry.

3. Next comes the critical part where you’ll have to concentrate hard. Mark off the tip of each nail with the white polish. To help keep your edges tidy, you can use special stickers sold for this purpose at the cosmetics counter or else use a small piece of tape. Let the white dry and remove the sticker.

4. Apply a layer of neutral polish to the entire nail surface. This will give your manicure a neater appearance.

5. Once everything is completely dry, apply a clear top coat. This is critical if you want your manicure to remain intact for more than a few hours.

Defy tradition

During recent years, fashion shows have brought us several variations on this classic. We’ve seen the French manicure adorned with colored and two-dimensional tips. And there is even a reverse French manicure, which is rapidly gaining in popularity. As its name suggests, the reverse version involves painting the nail with the colour of your choice and then colouring the bottom of the nail with a contrasting colour in the shape of a half moon. It creates a great futuristic effect.

Here to stay

Whether you’re a reverse-loving rebel or a white-tip purist, the French manicure certainly confers a touch of sophistication to your nails. It’s not for nothing that the fashion world refuses to retire this look.

How the French manicure got to be so stylish
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