25 Fresh and Modern French Manicure Ideas

A French manicure is about as classic as it gets, but “classic” doesn’t have to mean “boring.” There are so many ways to update the look. Of course you can keep it timeless with white tips, but if you’re looking for something more playful, you can try rainbow ombre tips, glitter nail tips, or use a flash of red polish (like Ashley Graham). Plus, you don’t even need to go to a salon to achieve the perfect French tips — they’re actually extremely do-able from home. Here’s a step-by-step guide for trying your hand at your own French manicure:

Prep your nails. Like any manicure, be sure to remove all of your nail polish beforehand using acetone-free nail polish remover. Cut and file your nails into whatever shape you prefer (pro tip: oval nails look divine with French tips). Apply some cuticle oil and gently push back your cuticles. Finish with hand cream to give yourself a salon-worthy experience.
Paint the base layer. Pick out two different colors — if you’re going classic, you’ll want to pick a sheer nude color for the base and a white polish for the tips. Start with a base coat and wait two minutes for it to dry, then use the nude polish (or whatever color strikes your fancy) all over the nail, taking care to wait two minutes between coats. While you’re painting, be sure to only do thin coats, and start at the bottom of your nail from the middle before painting the sides.
Carefully paint the tip. After you let the second coat dry, you’ll paint the tip of the nail with white (or a statement color). You can do this freehand or use guide strips to help you — just be sure that the second coat of polish is dry enough that the guide strips won’t cause any indents. Wait another two minutes for the tips to dry, and seal it all in with a top coat.
Still think French manicures belong at a high school prom? Think again. These photos prove that they will always be in style thanks to these trends. Below, inspiration for your next modern French mani.