Easy French Manicure Tips

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French manicures use white and nude nail polish.

The French manicure is a type of nail design that combines a milky white polish with a clear or nude polish. The first French manicure kit for home hit store shelves in 1978, but a kit doesn't guarantee your nails will look as you want them to. Whether you're free-handing your French manicure or using a kit, a few simple tips can help ensure your nails look nice and neat when you're finished.

  1. Prepare Nails

    • Be sure to prepare your nails before starting your French manicure. Remove all nail polish from your fingernails with nail polish remover and a cotton ball. File and buff your nails with an emery board. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove all residue from the polish remover and filing process.

    Soften Cuticles

    • Fill a small bowl halfway with warm water. Submerge your fingers into the bowl and allow them to soak for five to 10 minutes to soften the nail and cuticle. Don't soak for so long that your fingers prune. Dry your hands with a wash cloth. Massage cuticle oil on all your cuticles before using a cuticle stick to gently push back your cuticles.

    Protective Coatings

    • Apply a clear base coat when you're doing a French manicure. Apply one coat, wait for it to dry and apply a second coat. When you've finished applying the white and nude nail polish, you should also apply a top coat of clear nail polish. This will help prevent chipping and extend the life of your manicure.

    Use Guides

    • When you get to the step that involves using the white nail polish on the tips of your nails, a guide line can help you achieve a more professional look. Use a piece of tape to divide the top white of your nail from the pink nail bed. You want the tape to follow the natural white line on your nail tip. Paint the bare tip and after it's dry, peel away the tape.

    Use Polish Sparingly

    • After the white tips of your nails have dried, you'll apply the nude/pink shade of nail polish. The less coatings you need, the more natural your nails will look. Apply a coating in three strokes. One stroke down the middle of the nail and one on each side. The natural shade is applied over the entire nail; including the white tip.

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  • Photo Credit Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images

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