Whether you love them or hate them, the french manicure is here to stay.
If you like the look of the traditional white tip, however, there are many simple ways to make it more interesting. One of my favorite methods include making use of those sheer duochromes that require numerous coats to even remotely resemble bottle color.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, though, let me break down the easiest way I’ve found to free-hand a french manicure.
You may have heard this described as “moving the finger, not the brush.”
I like to think of it as getting fingerprinted, you know, by the police. Place your finger on the ink pad, then on the form- rolling from extreme right to extreme left (or vice versa) in one smooth movement.
The last time I got fingerprinted, I was updating my greencard. (I was born in Canada) There was no inkpad, only a computer with a touch-sensitive screen. The concept, however, remained the same, because the fingerprint could only be read clearly with a smooth roll of my finger across the screen.
You’ll have to excuse my one-handed pics.
Since my husband draws the line (no pun intended) at merely enduring my polish addiction, there is no way I could coerce him into photographing pictures that may subject other innocent husbands to further fume exposure.
far right edge
There are definite advantages to mastering this method of application:
- you can stop buying the guide stickers. (or devising other substitutes out of address labels and the like)
- avoid the frustration that accompanies the use of sticker guides when they remove previously applied layers of polish. (or leak polish under the guide itself)
- the little bit of a “ledge” that is built up once the guide is removed is no longer an issue as the freehand layers tend to be thinner and blend in easily with the application of a topcoat.
- if you do not have a Konad, do not have french tip image plates or they don’t seem to work for you, this is another alternative.
- you can easily use whatever shape you choose to change the look of your nails. (Some of my nails have a more curved border between the pink and white, so I can either add curve to the others, or flatten the line as I see fit.)
I prefer to keep my nails, from cuticle to tip, relatively the same length, so when I wear darker colors, they appear approximately uniform. This means the nails with shorter nail beds have longer nail whites, and so on.
The french manicure can be used to somewhat disguise the discrepancies in length, and the stripes only enhance the illusion.
I started out with a sheer peach base (Misa Romantic Peach)
right hand: classic french (natural light)
Add a bit of color, (and a smudge off my index finger, some over-zealous cuticle-nipping on my middle finger) and Voila! Snazzy french manicure!
snazzified french (natural light)
With flash, for dramatic effect.
classic french (flash)
snazzified french (flash)
Now, for those of us who prefer the funky french manicure, this too can be made snazzy with a little bit of striping.
left hand: funky french (natural light)
funky french (flash)
snazzified funky french (flash)
For the striping accents, from thumb to pinky: Omega striper art brush holo glitter, ChG OMG and Misa I will Survive black for the rest.
Now, to clarify, I do not go out, sporting the various colors you see here, all at one time. This was for demonstration purposes only.
One final thought: since my nailbeds tend to be stained, even slightly, I rarely do a french manicure without the assistance of my Seche Bright. It is an optical brightener that looks clear on the nail, but freshens up both the color of the polish and “pinkens” (if that’s a word) my skintone from the dingy orange to a more palatable blush.
Here, I have only painted the bottom half of my thumb with the Seche Bright to show the contrast. While it looks somewhat strange on half a nail, it is not at all apparent when used over the whole nail.
It also really brings out the white in your nail edge when used alone. If I run out of time to do my planned manicure, one coat of Seche Bright is all I need to feel confident that I look, well, “polished.”
seche bright thumb 1/2 and 1/2