A French manicure is the gold standard for a polished, but understated nail choice. So what does it look like, and is it your next salon choice?
What are French nails?
A French manicure is a pale pink, nude or sheer polish with a solid white tip. It can be done on natural nails or with acrylic options and as either a manicure or a pedicure. The length of the nail is down to personal preference, but in most traditional styles, the tip will be shorter than the nude base of the nail. Tips are traditionally square, but today’s French manicure comes in all shapes. Loved by the fashion-aware and professionals alike, the French manicure blends well with any outfit while making its own polished statement.
Why are French nails called French nails?
The iconic look only took on the name ‘French nails’ in the 1970s, when it made it big in the United States. The French link comes from the fact that the neutral nail, white tip combo was marketed by Maxfactor in the 1930s for the French fashion pack. Jeff Pink, the founder of nail polish brand, Orly, coined the term ‘French manicure’. He also renewed the connection by distributing kits for the manicure to French runway models in the 1970s.
How are French nails applied?
On a natural nail, the most common way to carry out a French manicure starts with manicure prep. The hands and nails will be cleaned, trimmed and shaped before moving on to the polish. Many manicurists will use nail strips to ensure a straight, even line when the white polish tips are applied. The simple colours and lines mean that a steady, artist’s hand is best for this job. Most nail artists will opt to apply the tips first and then blend the look together with the neutral polish and topcoat.
If you are having your French nails done with gel polish, expect a few moments to daydream while the different stages dry under the UV lamp.
With an acrylic or artificial manicure, the prep work is similar and there will be a focus on removing any old polish or glue from your natural nail. The white tips are often part of the acrylic nail, so they will not need to be painted on. The nail artist will use an adhesive to secure the nail and then, depending on the desired result, will often add a top coat, decorations or do some final shaping.
How long do French nails last?
How long your nails last, depends on how your manicure was created. A standard polish on natural nails will last around a week with proper care. You might be able to stretch it slightly, but your nail growth and natural wear don’t allow for much longer. A professional gel manicure could last as long as 3 weeks, and an acrylic manicure will last even longer, potentially up to 6 weeks. Gel and acrylic options usually require some professional help to remove and replace, so remember to book your next visit. Learn more about nail treatment options at JUJU’s here.
French nails might not be new, but they are the perfect balance of pretty and professional with a touch of old Hollywood glamour. Book your French manicure in Camden today!