How to Paint a French Manicure Without Guide Strips

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Getting that natural look on your fingernails is not nearly as hard as it may seem when first looking at the instructions that come with French manicure kits. If you have attempted a French manicure, you may know that those guide strips stick on crooked, fall off or allow polish to seep underneath them. By following these instructions, you will be sporting a French manicure with only a little work and little aggravation from those pesky guide strips.

Things You'll Need

  • Manicure Set
  • White Nail Polish
  • Opaque or Nude Nail Color
  • Clear Tape


  1. Select two complementing nail colors. Typically, a plain white is used for the nail tip color and an opaque nude or buff color is used for the overall nail. But, feel free to experiment and try out other unique color combinations.

  2. Manicure your nails as you like. Push back the cuticles. Buff them. Shape them. Perform your usual manicure on them in preparation for adding color.

  3. Strip off the area of your nails that you want to be white using clear tape. Tear off small, finger-width pieces of tape. Stick them to your nails, leaving the tip exposed for painting. Make sure these pieces of tape are stuck down tightly.

  4. Paint the tips of your nails white or other selected color. Don't paint past the tape toward the back of your finger. You can paint over the clear tape so as to make the line as defined as possible.

  5. Remove the tape when the nail tips appear to be dry. You can test them for dryness by lightly touching them with the tip of another finger. If is feels sticky, then it is not dry yet.

  6. Using the complementing opaque color, paint over the entire nail making sure to cover the tip.

Tips & Warnings

  • If someone looks at your nails closely, they may notice that the lines appear to be straight, instead of naturally curved. However, most individuals will never notice.
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