Reverse French Nails 101: History, Ideas, and Application Techniques

By July 12, 2021 No Comments

Contrary to what the name suggests, the classic French nails look was popularised by Jeff Pink, the CEO of Orly, in 1978. He was trying to find a manicure for Hollywood actresses that would be classy and neat enough to blend with various outfits without drawing too much attention. After making it mainstream at a fashion show in Paris, he coined the name ‘French’.

While we have the classics covered, the ‘reverse French nails’ concept stays controversial because of its design and method variety. Below are a few interpretations of what ‘reverse’ is associated with today.

A Darker Take on the Classic White

Some designs take the French technique, keeping the classic tip length and the overall nude nail plate, only reversing the colour contrast. They switch the white with darker shades, unique designs and even paint the nail night-black.

Other takes on this trend include a two-line play, where the dark shade of the tip is followed by a holographic, metallic or soft transition shade. More unconventional decisions like tiny beads or other accessories are also fashionable, especially on longer nails.

Smile Line Position

Some nail artists construct the opaque part differently for a more edgy and radical effect. This choice, of course, depends on the length and shape of the nail.

A Halfway or Deeper-Reaching Smile Line

With longer nails, the smile line can move halfway or two-thirds into the nail plate and even up to the lunula. Various positions give the nail designer a larger area with which to play. They use multiple colours, geometric shapes, abstract combinations, and a world of other modifications.

Covering the lunula in a contrasting colour or placing design elements there for a dramatic effect is also among the most popular solutions. Some nail designs are such masterpieces that it’s hard to believe they’ll only last for a month.

Mirror Flipped Smile Line

Most often, the classic colour theme will stay the same here. Only the white will move onto the base of the nail, along the cuticle line. Of course, various shades and design elements are also possible here, the latest being bare tips with a bright nail plate.

Techniques and Design

Polishes and materials differ in quality and adherence methods. Thus, in addition to visual creativity, nail artists must pay attention to techniques and find the best options for fusing them into a final product.

While you can imagine how wide the range of design solutions can be, there’s an experimentation aspect to the smile line shape. Triangles, diagonals, hombre solutions, and abstract shapes are popular among the younger nail art enthusiasts.

You might remember a decade back when people used anything and everything (including scotch tape, band-aids, and polish-dipped sewing thread) to achieve that perfect french nail. Luckily, there are many new products. Nail markers, detail brushes of different sizes, and stickers have changed the world of nail design.

The polish layering technique largely depends on how well the colours interact when painted on each other. Painting a light polish over a dark one might not work, so you may need to remove some parts of the base layer to make space for the new shade.

With so many possibilities, technique becomes as important as the artistic vision.

How to Do Reverse French Nails

At JUJU’s our nail technicians are your local masters in applying reverse French nails in London, as well as other popular nail designs. However, if you want to apply this design yourself, below are the steps that we’d recommend you follow to achieve the look:

1 – Set Up the Workstation

Whether you’re going to use the usual stuff, gel or acrylic, you need to have everything clean and prepared on the table. Especially while doing your own nails, you don’t want to go hunting for tools and materials midway through the process.

For a simple nail polish method, you’ll need:

  • A nail trimmer, a cuticle trimmer, a nail file, a buffing pad, and a cuticle pusher
  • Acetone or nail polish remover
  • Cuticle eraser (optional)
  • A lint-free cloth
  • A base and a topper
  • The polish of your choice
  • A lean detail brush or an eyeshadow applicator for cleanup

Gel and acrylic need additional materials like a curing lamp, brushes, and various other tools (depending on the brand).

2 – Nail the Basics

Remove old polish, buff, trim, shape, and file your nails. Use acetone or rubbing alcohol to prepare the nail plate for the polish. Adequately preparing the base will make any polish last longer. Once they look clean enough, move to the next stage.

3 – Layer the Polish

By now, you should already have decided on your final manicure design. It’s time to put it all together. Choose the technique which suits your final result best and start layering the polish and other materials accordingly.

Consider the opaqueness of the polish, play with different positions, and experiment a bit until you find the perfect combination.

We recommend using a quality base and topper under and over your design to protect the nail from staining and help prevent chipping.

4 – Let it Be!

With gel and acrylic, you can finish and go, but ordinary nail polish requires patience. Don’t rush through the curing process, or all the work will be in vain.

How long will reverse French nails last?

How long your reverse French nails will stay in place depends on a few factors. Pay attention to your nail growth speed, the polish quality, and the frequency you wash the dishes or do other work around the house. There are ways to protect your hands and nails through fire and water. Plus, reverse designs with bare cuticles are ideal for fast-growing nails.

Book your appointment

At JUJU’s our nail technicians are Camden’s masters at applying reverse French nails and ensuring that whatever twist you embed in your nail design, it’ll be stunning and versatile.