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Named for its origins on Paris runways, the French manicure, characterized by its pale pink base and white tips, was crafted to fill the need for actresses to have a nail shade that would match any outfit the set designer would cho0se to throw their way. It has since earned its stripes, appearing on hands clutching Chanel handbags on the runway of high end designer in Spring 2013 and various takes on it have been modeled by the likes of J.Lo and Zoe Saldana in red carpet premiers.
While many visit salons seeking the pedigree of all manicures, there are ways to get the professional look at home. If you’re ready for a little self-pampering, here’s what you need to do.
- Trim. Begin by trimming nails to the length your desire. Make sure they’re even; the longer, the better.
- Shape. Either rounded or square will work for a french manicure. File accordingly.
- Soak Cuticles. For that extra salon feel, soak your hands in some warm water for a minute or two. Then, using a cuticle pusher or orange stick, push your cuticles back. Use the opposite end of the stick to clean under your nails.
- Buff and prep. Before you apply the first coat of polish, buff the top of your nails and massage cuticle nails with cuticle oil.
- Apply Base Coat. Now things get interesting. apply a layer of sheer pink nail polish and allow it to dry for a couple of minutes. If you’re are using a gel manicure, cure nails under the LED light for no longer than 45 seconds. Repeat this step with a second coat and allow it to set.
- Apply nail guides. After the base coat is dry, place nail guides on to get the perfect white tip. If you don’t have any you can use some office supply doilies or, move on to the next step.
- Paint on French tips. Using your whole polish, brush color on the tips of your nails in the shape of an upside down smile. Let the polish set , and repeat with a second coat, providing adequate time to dry or cure.
- Remove nail guides and seen. Remove your nail guide a apply a light top coat of polish. Give it a few minutes to dry and -voila- instant Parisian glamor!
If you are lacking in coordination, you may want the assistance of a French manicure kit.They should contain all the necessary tools including a white polish, a pink or beige polish, and a clear topcoat. Some will also contain stick- on nail guides which makes the process easier and makes the polish less likely to spill outside the tip, greatly decreasing the potential for error.
If you are so inspired, consider adding color to the mix. You can do red nails with green tips for Christmas or mixed pastels for Easter. Remember practice makes perfect!
If you’re thinking of going French this holiday season, we would love to hear how it turned out. The good, the bad, the ugly, we want to hear it all!