French Manicure Explodes into Gen-Z Revolution

Image via Kylie Jenner “Pucci Nails”

What’s up with the comeback of the French manicure? While traditionalists never really abandoned white tips on round nails, the French manicure wasn’t seen as a Gen-Z revolution until celebrities like Lizzo, Hailey Bieber, Carey Mulligan, Gigi Hadid, and Selena Gomez started rocking modern versions. Now, it’s riding high alongside fashion’s love affair with retro looks from the ’90s. Multicolored and animal-print tips with exaggerated nail shapes and lengths, plus tiny designs of cherries, smiley faces, and more, are becoming very on-trend.

The explosion of nail art indicates that French nails may serve as a stepping-stone out of the pandemic era. Part of the appeal is that they magically make your fingers appear longer and more beautiful. Leaving the clear part of the nail bare is not only flattering but more alluring than nail art on fully covered nails.

Modern Designs for the French Mani

Nail artists are playing with color and texture for the new French look using ombré shades, swirls, and textured prints. They have also been experimenting with glitters and foils in place of color. Nail artist Lisa Kon says one of her favorite types of modified French manicure is the animal print. She used the impressive design for Kourtney Kardashian’s leopard-print French mani and Kendall Jenner’s zebra print.

Shaping of the nails definitely plays a role in modernizing the French manicure. Salons are seeing a lot of demand for a classic red tip with a neutral, almost sheer, base paired with a more almond-shaped nail. Other shapes include coffins, stilettos, and squares. Another popular French manicure look contrasts textures using a matte base color and painting on a thin shiny tip.

Bold colors and designs sometimes can be overwhelming when worn on every nail. Stylists have discovered they can lessen the intensity by incorporating these into a French manicure. One example is Kylie Jenner’s recent Pucci-inspired nail design, which alternated full-coverage designs with patterned French tips.

Create the Look at Home

Fans of timeless French manicures can create the classic at home or tweak it with new colors and nail art for the trendiest manicure of the season. To get the look:

  1. Choose a sheer, pinkish nude as your base.
  2. Polish nails with two base coats and let them dry.
  3. Paint the tips freehand using a solid white shade or color of your choice. If you don’t feel comfortable painting freehand, use tape to create a nail guide. Or, try the rubber band technique: Tie a rubber band into a knot in the middle so that there are two loops. Slip one loop over the nail you’re polishing and adjust it into a slight half-moon shape that follows the contour of your nail. Slide the other loop onto the thumb to anchor the rubber band in place, then paint the tip in small strokes outward from the rubber band. Remove the rubber band carefully before the polish dries (you risk smudging the edge if you leave it on for too long).
  4. Apply a clear topcoat to blur any imperfections on the surface.

What do you think of these fun French manicure designs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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