Best For: The Runway Take
Taking the French mani to new levels, Alicia regularly plays with thicker, graphic lines across the width of the nail, while sometimes swapping traditional white for thin stripes of red or gold for a festive upgrade. Plus, she usually gives both tips and exact colour shades in her captions, so you – or your manicurist – can do a copycat version with ease. To get the looks shown here, nail expert Loui-Marie Ebanks says it’s key to keep nails clean and neat by prepping them with an alcohol-based nail varnish remover. This will stop polish from clinging to oils or dust on your nails. “Try keeping your nails rounded too. This will tie in with the new French iteration by making sure the tip (where you paint your French line) won’t ever look too straight.”
Best For: A Delicate Alternative
As a celebrity manicurist, there’s nothing Betina doesn’t know about nails. Her work is often featured on shorter tips, proving elaborate designs and chic French manis aren’t just for those with length. Using negative space, her elegant take on the trend is never overdone – always very subtle, clean and chic. For the very thin white lines she created at Khaite NY SS20, she used Essie’s Sheer Polish in Mademoiselle as a glossy base, before using a super-fine brush dipped in white paint for the curved tips. It looks intricate, but it’s surprisingly easy to recreate – just make sure you keep your lines as thin as possible. If you don’t have a thin brush to hand, orange sticks work just as well when it comes to drawing on sharp stripes.
Best For: Reverse Frenchies
DryBy’s well-curated Instagram has an abundance of nail inspo. Best known for reverse French manis (colour at the cuticle instead of the tips) and serious precision, seek it out if you’re after a sophisticated twist. If recreating yourself, there are a few simple steps to follow. “For a reverse French, make sure your cuticles are really neat,” says Loui. “Use a cuticle oil to nourish, then wipe the nail plate clean with remover before you start to paint. To get the curved precision, use a small eyeshadow brush, dip it into your chosen colour and brush on the shape at your nailbed. Then go back in with a different brush soaked in remover [flat eyeshadow brushes work well] and sharpen everything up for precision. Finish with top coat.”
House Of Lady Muck (HOLM)
Best For: Coloured Tips
For a minimal switch-up that’s fun, look to HOLM. New to Topshop’s Oxford Circus store, it is brimming with nail art ideas that are sophisticated yet impactful. Expect coloured French manis that keep the focus at the tips of the nails. To recreate a similar look, apply your chosen colour horizontally to the nail, rolling your finger as you go. Do two coats, and don’t worry if it’s messy or not the perfect curved line – you can go back in and tidy mistakes by using a concealer brush that’s dipped into remover.
Best For: Chic Simplicity & Linear Art
Hang Nguyen’s new take on the French mani is fashion driven, but in the best possible way. It never looks overdone or too statement-making – think quirky hints of black and crystals at the tips for something a bit more subversive and fun. “For the application of a gemmed tip, choose a base colour first – either a glossy nude or a darker shade looks best,” says Loui. “The smaller the gems, the more elegant the tips of your nails will look. Once nails are painted semi-dry, put some nail glue across the tip using a brush. Then, take an orange stick, dab it into a bit of base coat, and pick up the gems, gently pressing them down at the edges of your nail for a similar effect to the one you see here. Once finished, don’t use a top coat over them – this will take away the shimmery effect and make them look clumpy and dull.”
Best For: Detail & Neon Tips
Based in Fitzrovia, this ’grammable nail bar’s feed is full of inspiration, from classic French manis to new, tonal takes that are spot on for this season. Most recently, it’s been playing with neon flashes, which sounds daunting, but is surprisingly wearable when paired with a nude base coat. Whether you’re replicating the looks at home or screenshotting for your manicurist, you’re guaranteed to find a look here that you love.
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