Manicure: All About French Manicures

Mention the words “French Manicure” around nearly any woman, and you’ll immediately see their face light up like a kid on Christmas morning. This is because many women regularly indulge themselves in this classic beauty routine, whether they go out to a salon or do it themselves at home. It has become known as a common form of manicure in the United States, as it most resembles a “natural” look for fingernails. It’s very universal in that the look is ideal for day-to-day life, weddings, proms, special events, or nights out on the town.

The history of the French Manicure is thought to go back to the mid 1970’s when a man named Jeff Pink, president of the popular manicure company Orly, attended a fashion show where he noticed several of the models were using a white pencil to whiten the tips of their fingernails. He immediately realized this could be major fashion trend and brainstormed a way to recreate the look. The result was a kit that contained two shades of polish; a light pink base and white polish to paint the tips of the fingernails. He also included adhesive strips to place at the baseline of the nail so that women could effortlessly create a stunning, perfect look when applying the white paint.

French manicures also last longer than traditional manicures with colored polish because you cannot see chips as easily. They are also easier to touch up without being too noticeable.

Also, I like that I don’t have to think too much about the color of my nail polish when choosing my outfits. Nothing is worse than having someone point out that my hot pink polish clashes with coral dress.

While French manicures may look almost natural, they are the most difficult type of manicure to have done to your nails. Most salons charge more money for a French manicure, than a regular manicure with one solid color. Some salons use an actual paint brush, with very fine bristles to apply the thin white coat to the tips of the nails. Other salons will very quickly apply the white coat without much attention to detail. Then they will come back before the polish has dried and remove the excess color with an orange stick wrapped in cotton. This is interesting to watch. I always get nervous when the manicurist paints half of my fingernail white. I’m thinking to myself, great, I could do a better job at home blindfolded and I’m paying her my hard earned money to make a huge mess. But then, she is always redeemed when she had cleaned off the excess and my nails look great. Watching her perfect this skill with ease, I was enticed to try this process at home. I made a huge mess; I think that next time I will leave this skill to the professional.

Now if I have more time on my hands, I will give myself an at home French manicure. It’s not as great as getting one in a salon, but still a treat nonetheless. First I will soak my hands and scrub them well with an exfoliating scrub. Next I will trim and shape the nails. Then I will apply a base coat of polish to my nails.

For a French Manicure without acrylic tips, prices usually range from $10-$15. You can expect to pay around $30 at a salon for a French Manicure using the tips. The kits to do it yourself at home are sold at any drug or department store for around $8. If you decide to go to a salon, you can rest assured that nearly any nail salon will be trained in the French Manicure application.

With so many options available for French manicure designs, women now have the ability to customize their manicure and go beyond the classic look. Ask your manicurist for ideas on different nail designs.