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French nails are a sophisticated look that can take you anywhere – day or night, work or weddings, it’s a clean, natural look that makes you feel just a little more classy.
Unfortunately some people are put off by the French nail, thinking it’s too complicated to do – some nail salons will even charge more for the service. Luckily, it’s much easier to get this classic manicure than it looks! We’ve put together a fuss-free way to get a French manicure – perfect to do for yourself or as a fun hen’s night activity to pamper the bride!
THE FIRST RULE OF FRENCH MANICURES
This look as all about accentuating the beautiful natural nail. In fact, it’s generally done so that the nail underneath is still slightly visible. Since it’s all about going au naturale it’s important to have a healthy, well-shaped nail. If y0u’re a nail addict, make sure you find a nail strengthener that works for you (my favourite is the Ciate strengthener nail tonic that also makes a great base coat, pictured below).
Keeping your nails healthy makes them easier to shape, avoids peeling and chipping and allows you to grow the nail for longer. For French nails, you ideally want a thick band of white to work with and a relatively square shape.
GETTING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
There’s four products that you need for a French manicure: base coat, a base colour, a french manicure pen and a top coat.
Your base coat can be your favourite nail strengthener – it simply needs to shield your nails from the polish to avoid drying them out.
For the base colour, choose a pale natural colour, preferably sheer. I’m using OPI in Bubble Bath, but you can also choose a slightly brighter pink or light brown.
French manicure pens make life much easier, avoiding the messy business of guiding stickers or shaping the tips with polish remover. I’m using a pen by Essence – some brands even offer a double-sided pink and white pen but you’ll end up finishing your pink much faster!
THE TOP TIPS
Applying base coast and colour are straightforward – apply and let dry, as usual. You can choose to do one or two coats of your base colour, depending on how sheer a cover you’re comfortable with.
Just make sure that you can still see where the pink and white of your nail meets, as this is the guiding line for you to draw with the pen. It’s best to start with the pen from the tip and work your way inwards (if you get any blobs of white polish, it’s much easier to fix than having to strip the nail and start again). If you’re not confident doing this with your non-dominant hand, get someone else to help you – it’s as simple as tracing!
THE FINAL POLISH
Once you have your base and tips, all that’s left is to finish off with a top coat. I like a matte top coat for daily wear to keep it very natural (you can see Ciate mattelicious on the last two fingers), or a super-shiny top coat for special occasions (the first two nails have butter’s Hardwear top coat).
There you have it – a surprisingly easy look for your wedding or any time you want an elegant maniured look!