What is French Nail Art?

Pamela Pleasant

French nail art is a design used on fingernails. Instead of painting the nail with one specific color, two colors are used. The first color is used to cover the entire nail, while the second color only covers the white tip of the nail. Lastly, a clear color is used to cover the entire nail and this seals in the first two colors. There can be many color variations with French nail art and different designs can also be used.

Standard French nail art may be enhanced with the addition of nail jewelry, like rhinestones.
Standard French nail art may be enhanced with the addition of nail jewelry, like rhinestones.

Using two colors to polish the nail is considered a French manicure. These two colors are typically a neutral color for the nail and a bright white color for the tip. With French nail art, any colors can be used to polish the nail and tip. For example, a neutral color can be used to cover the entire nail but the tip color can be changed to match clothing or accessories. This color does not necessarily have to be white.

The French manicure consists of a light pink nail bed and a white tip.
The French manicure consists of a light pink nail bed and a white tip.

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With a typical French manicure, the white tip is completely colored in. French nail art incorporates different designs to enhance the nail. Tips can be done in a triangular shape or they can also be only slightly painted. This all depends on the desired effect. If the tip is slightly painted, it gives the illusion of a longer, thinner nail.

French nail art can also consist of using various decorations on the freshly painted nail. Tiny rhinestones or gems can be added to the design for a more noticeable look. Nail jewelry can also be used to enhance the nail. Hoops can be inserted into the tip of the nail or certain tiny designs can be placed on top of the nail. Sparkly glitter nail polish can be used instead of a solid color for more pizazz.

These types of designs can be created at home or done by a nail professional in a salon. In a salon setting, air brushing and color blending techniques are often used. These types of manicures can be costly and time consuming but there are ways to get these designs at home. Nail art stickers or decals can be placed over the newly polished nail and they have a sticky back side that adheres to the nail. After a clear polish is painted over these designs, they appear to look exactly like an expensive salon airbrushing job.

The fingernails may be soaked and cleaned before applying nail art.
The fingernails may be soaked and cleaned before applying nail art.

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Discussion Comments

DinoLeash

@medicchristy: I know what you mean. I can’t afford to go to the nail salon every two weeks just to get my nails done. I finally started looking around for a simple kit that I could do at home. After much trial and error, I started getting pretty good at it. You have to be careful which ones you buy because the cheaper ones are just that; cheap.

There are French manicure sets that you can buy and they are really easy to apply. They usually last me around two to three weeks and they are much cheaper than going to the nail salon. You can even buy nail art pens to add designs to your nails.

medicchristy

I really like French nail art but I can't afford to get my nails done at the shop every few weeks. Does anyone have any suggestions?

cmsmith10

French nail art is a beautiful style that many women prefer for their nails. Many women get French manicures as well as French pedicures. The traditional colors for French nail art are clear and white coats. The clear coat (or even a pink or tan color) goes on bottom and the white color goes on the tip. However, you do not always have to go for the traditional colors. You can definitely get funky with it.

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