When I was little, there were three things that I knew would be the mark of true adulthood: long weave, lots of lip gloss and a French manicure. Yes, I was a teen of the noughties. There was something about a French manicure that just screamed sophistication for me, and even though, as an adult, I have a ton of other nail options, the French manicure still has such a grip on the nail designs that I save on Pinterest and Instagram. The reason that this manicure never gets old is that it is so easy to reinvent with little design additions and the entire colour spectrum to play with. You can adapt it to any season with different hues, sparkles and glitter. Or you can go super simple, classic and pared-back. The list really goes on when it comes to French manicure ideas.
Here are just some of the designs I have screenshotted as potentials for my next salon trip.
1. Cherry Nice
Nail art hits differently on a French manicure. It’s like a fresh canvas. If you aren't looking for something so standout, this design would look cute on an accent pinky finger.
2. Latte Dipped
A cool brown tip takes our love of neutrals to another level. Match the undertone of the shade to your skin's undertone (cool, neutral or warm) for the most flattering finish.
3. Feeling Teal
This teal-blue is an ideal transitional shade from winter to spring.
4. Diamond Girl
Contrast the shape of your nail with the shape of your white tip. While the traditional tip is curved, this diamond shape is gaining popularity, especially with acrylics.
5. Space Glitter
An intergalactic-feel reverse manicure is truly an out-of-this-world design.
6. Check, Please
Pick your three favourite shades within the same colour family for this design. Green is a universally friendly choice for even the most tonal wardrobe.
7. Solid Gold
This gold-tipped design is a shining example of levelling up a French manicure. The stars are an added bonus. If you're thinking of trying it at home, grab the Ciaté cheat sheets for the nail art if you aren't super dexterous.
8. Strike Through
Probably the French manicure that we can re-create at home the most easily. Let your natural tips shine through your nude polish of choice. If you’re stuck on the colour, OPI Bubble Bath is always a classic.
9. Green Hearts
Why just stick to a ring finger when it comes to accenting a nail on each hand? Pick whatever finger you want and use a complementary colour to go with the rest of your mani.
10. Glitter Tips
Glitter may be primarily a winter trend, but personally, I infuse it into my manicure in some way year-round. The lightness of the shade makes it look like a traditional French mani at a glance, too, which I love.
11. Chips Ahoy
This design is such a fun take on the French manicure. The more length you have in your natural nail, the more intricate you can be with the designs on the tip. Even more reason to get your nail care in check.
12. Blue Me Away
Glitter and blue sound like they’ll be a loud and in-your-face pairing, but this perfect example of a standout nail design isn’t brash. It’s all down to the nude base, which breathes life into the other colours.
13. Give Me Space
This manicure has all the makings of a traditional French yet is anything but. If you wear acrylics, this a great design because you aren’t reliant on the natural line of your tips to do the design.
14. Traditional Twist
Back in the noughties, there was definitely one distinct nail shape associated with the French manicure, but now everything goes. This stiletto shape is one of my favourites to team with the classic.
15. Pinky Swear
This colour palette is screaming for summer and sunnier climes. If you find it difficult to suss out the best matching nail colours, always go for variants of the same colour instead.
16. Superfine Line