The French manicure is making a comeback! As seen on fashion runways, red carpets and all over our social feeds, it’s taking a more modern approach. Now with different colour combinations, finishes and accessories, nail artists are taking this classic look and adding their own creative touches.
“We’ve been forecasting a big uplift in French manicures with a twist,” says Samantha Silvius, an educator for OPI, who’s based in Leamington, Ont. “One of the ways we anticipate seeing the style is with colour incorporated into the French, along with combining trends.”
Mastering the Technique
Through pops of colour, different textures and designs, the modern French is projected to continue throughout the year, says Tamara Di Lullo, owner of the Montreal-based nail salon, Candy Nail Bar.
Not sure how to start? “YouTube and Instagram are so readily available to learn great French techniques and are oh-so-satisfying to watch, but to learn how to do a proper liquid-and-powder or pink-and-white sculpted French, it takes practice,” she says, adding that as a CND education ambassador, she’s always keeping on top of her own education.
Once you have your technique down and have figured out what works best for you (for some it’s free-handing, while others may choose to use a stencil for precision), you can transform just about any nail look into a French.
“It’s just a matter of moving your design up towards the free edge and leaving more negative space on the lower two thirds of the nail,” says Di Lullo. “Many experienced techs like myself will opt for a variation of a French as a base for our work because our clients—especially those who love and invest in nail art—want to rock those nails as long as possible.”
“Many experienced techs will opt for a variation of a French as a base for our work because our clients especially those who love and invest in nail art want to rock those nails as long as possible.” – Tamara Di Lullo, owner of Candy Nail Bar, Montreal
Once you’ve honed the basics, it’s time to shake things up! Silvius often draws inspiration from her Instagram feed, but always makes it her mission to keep her work as original as possible. Case in point: She combines different textures in her looks, such as glitter, gems or even pearls on the tips for an extra pop of glam.
She also recommends combining different finishes. “Having a matte black nail with a shiny French tip is really edgy,” she says. “It looks really sleek and is such a cool way to amplify the whole look, if your client’s taste allows it.”
Di Lullo enjoys graffiti art and hand painting, so with this nail trend, she enjoys creating more asymmetrical or two-toned looks, adding more hand-painted elements on top to push herself out of the box.
The bottom line: The modern French trend gives the artist the freedom to take the basic structure of a French manicure and interpret it in a different way. Some techs opt for a thin line, while others may play up the thickness, or flip it entirely and place the line right by the cuticle.
A combination of precision and creativity, the modern French can require more time and additional add- ons (such as foils, rhinestones, etc.), which is good for business and allows nail techs to use the trend as an upsell.