How To Do a French Manicure: The Best Step by Step Guide (2021)

How To Do a French Manicure: The Best Step by Step Guide (2021)

The French manicure is one of the most timeless and elegant nail styles ever created, and it’s not hard to see why. Versatile, chic, and elevated, the French manicure employs neutral shades to create a truly lovely look every time. With a few simple steps, you can begin achieving that style right at home. 

Nailboo is here to help. In addition to carrying a wide inventory of tools and supplies, like an easy-to-use nail dip kit, we’re also sharing all we’ve learned about gorgeous manicure styles. Take a look at our guide to applying your own French manicure, so you can get those classic looks you love.  

How To Get a French Manicure at Home 

The French manicure is, surprisingly, an American invention, and was first designed to make costume changes on Hollywood sets faster and easier. The neutral colors were subtle, but elongating shapes made it a great match for many different fashions and outfits. It soon became a runway favorite, before making its way into the homes of women around the world. 

While you could always visit the salon to get this classic look, the French manicure is easy to achieve with a few simple tools. Here are the steps you’ll want to take to apply a lovely French manicure look for yourself. 

Step One: Remove Your Nail Polish

Whenever you’re ready to apply a new coat of nail polish, you want to remove the existing polish first. Not only does this allow you to get a smooth application every time, but it will also help to keep your nails healthy and strong. 

Step Two: Shape and File

After you remove your nail polish, you’ll want to cut and shape your nails and then file down any uneven edges to avoid snagging or irritation. While French manicures are traditionally applied to oval or square nail shapes, you can really make this look your own by picking a nail shape and length you love, like a stiletto, ballerina, or squoval shape. 

Step Three: Cuticle Care 

Your cuticles can be found at the base of the nail and it’s as important to care for the cuticles as the tips and surface of the nails. If you’re planning to push the cuticle back, to help elongate the appearance of the nail, be sure to hydrate the cuticle and use the proper tools, to avoid irritation or damage. 

Step Four: Moisturize

One of the most important steps you can take when caring for your nails is to keep the nail and the skin around it well-moisturized. This helps to prevent cracking, itching, and irritation and can keep your skin and nails looking and feeling smooth and healthy. It also helps to ensure that your manicure lasts long and looks great. 

Step Five: Apply the Base Coat 

French manicures take neutral shades and colors to a whole new level, and the simplicity and elegance are why this look is such a beloved classic. The base coat will help you to get the polish to adhere more fully and complement the other neutral shades of the overall manicure look. With a strong base coat, your nails will look as smooth and shiny as possible, and your manicure will last even longer. 

Step Six: Add Your Tips

The most iconic feature of the French manicure is the white tip, but it also provides a great opportunity for you to express your personal style. You can go for the classic tip design, which is either straight across or curved with the natural shape of the nail, or you can take your own spin on the French manicure tip. 

Some options for unique and stylish manicure tips include thinner or thicker lines, tips in colors other than white, and tips that have been stamped or have decals. You have lots of wonderful options for embracing your own French manicure style or looking chic and elegant in the classic design. 

Regardless of what kind of tip you decide to add to your French nails, there are a few simple methods for achieving a clean, uniform line every time. One easy option for straight lines is manicure tape, which will allow even the messiest manicurist to achieve the look they love with ease. 

If you’re looking to give the nail a longer, more natural style, that is achieved by following the curve, rather than cutting across. The best way to get this style is to start at the outside of the nail and work your way in. This helps to keep the line uniform and smooth and provides you with greater control over your brush when applying those iconic French tips. 

Step Seven: Apply Your Pink Polish 

Once your tips have dried completely, you’ll then want to apply your layer of sheer pink polish. Along with the white tips, the sheer pink tint helps to give the French manicure its truly classic look. 

The pink gives the manicure a natural, uniform appearance while elevating it through the use of shiny, chic neutrals. The tint of pink is just one of the reasons why we love a French tip so much. 

Step Eight: Seal With Your Top Coat 

Now that you’ve put all of this effort into creating a beautiful French tip manicure, you want to make sure it stays shiny for as long as possible. The best way to do so is with a layer of topcoat. 

Once your pink polish layer has dried completely, apply a thin layer of top coat to your nails and allow it to dry before moving on to the next great activity for the day. This will give your polish a smooth and finished look and protect it from chips and damage for a long time, so you can show off your favorite styles. \



There are many reasons to fall in love with a classic French tip manicure. It’s timeless, chic, and perfect for matching with many different pieces and styles—and you can wear it all year long. After all, there’s a reason Hollywood movie stars and runway models alike have been flaunting the French tip for decades. 

The French tip manicure is also fun and easy to try out at home, and you can adjust it to match your personal style and fashion sense. All you need are a few simple colors. A basic nail kit can both help you achieve smooth and long-lasting manicures and keep your nails healthy and strong for a long time to come. 

When you’re ready to begin trying out the French tip manicure and many other great nail looks for yourself, turn to the team here at Nailboo. We carry a wide inventory of tools and materials for achieving beautiful manicures right at home, but that’s not all. 

Our expert team is also sharing guides, resources, and ideas for creating truly unique and elegant manicures with ease. Begin trying out your French tip manicure look and a whole lot more with the support of Nailboo. 

Shop the Look 

Get the look from this article! Check out these products to help you get a perfect French manicure.

  1. White polish: Sweater Weather
  2. Pink polish: Nail-flex and Chill
  3. Top coat
  4. Base coat
  5. Nail maintenance 


How the French Manicure Made Its Comeback | New York Times 

The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Nail Shape | Harper’s Bazaar 

Do You Really Need to Use a Base Coat? | Good Housekeeping
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