What Are the Best French Manicure Tips?

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  • Written By: Judith Smith Sullivan
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2019
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A French manicure is a classic style which looks clean, elegant and chic. Doing such a manicure for a clients or on oneself can be tricky as it requires clean lines along the tips and the correct combination of clear coats. The best French manicures will last a week or more without chipping. There are many French manicure tips which help with the process as well as the results.

The most basic of all French manicure tips is to start will a properly shaped and prepared nail. Whether it's rounded or square, the nail edge should be smooth. As long as all nails are shaped the same way, any style is appropriate for a French manicure. Use a coarse file to reduce the length of the nail, followed by a fine grain file for optimum smoothness. Use even swipes in the same direction across the nail.

Next, inspect the bed of the nail. Often nails have ridges in the bed, which can effect the final results of a manicure. To smooth the ridges, apply a clear coat filler to even out the nail. If the nail is free of ridges, apply a base coat.


There are basically two methods for applying the white tip of the French manicure, and there are French manicure tips for both techniques. Paint the line cleanly or clean up the painted line. In the first method, follow the natural growth of the nail and paint from side to side, not top to bottom. The white edge of the nail provides a guideline to follow, while using one long, sideways brush stroke will reduce the chance of a choppy, uneven line.

The other method requires a brush and nail polish remover to create a smooth line after the white tip has been applied. In this case, the best tip is to use a short bristled, stiff brush and a strong nail polish remover. Work your way from side to side. Using only one or two strokes will help to ensure an even line. This technique is difficult to perform on oneself but it does give the cleanest shape.

French manicure kits often come with a pack of thin, rounded stickers. These are applied to the nail just before the white tip and removed directly after. When used properly, they can give a clean line without the use of a brush and remover. The French manicure tips for this method are to paint quickly and remove the strip as soon as possible. If the paint dries at all, the strip may take off the paint as well.

Finally, for the best results, choose a top coat that dries quickly and resists cracking. It may be more expensive than other coats, but it will be worth it if the manicure doesn't have to be repeated as often. Apply one or two coats of the top coat, allowing each to dry before applying the next. Do not apply more than two coats as they will usually not dry quickly, resulting in smudges. If desired, the first coat can be can be light pink.


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