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The French manicure is an easy-to-update classic. Recent versions pick up on trends like neon tips or color blocking, using equally bold colors for the base and tip. Keeping your nails in style and professionally manicured can get expensive for a diva on a budget, and anyone who has attempted a French manicure at home knows it’s not easy (your hand is never as steady as you imagine once you pick up that tiny brush, and then there’s trying to apply polish with your non-dominant hand!). Fortunately, there’s a budget-friendly way to get a salon-quality French manicure and no one will know you did it yourself with office supplies.
Much like masking tape keeps trim paint from getting on your new wall color when you paint a room, a self-adhesive hole reinforcement will keep your tip color off of the rest of your nail and will give you a clean line. Speaking of masking tape, you can use it in place of the hole reinforcements if you prefer a straight line rather than a curved one on your French fingernails (or on your toes.)
To pamper yourself with a salon-worthy manicure, check out SQ’s DIY manicure instructions, but hold off on applying the clear topcoat until after you’ve applied your tip color. Otherwise, here’s the quick and easy way to your next French manicure:
-clear base and top coat
-two nail polish colors; for a traditional French manicure you’ll need a light pink shade for the base color and white for the tip, but feel free to substitute any colors you like. Beige for the base and neon yellow for the tips work well, or an aqua blue base with royal blue tips for the color blocking trend.
-self-adhesive hole reinforcements
1. Start with clean, polish-free nails. Apply a coat of clear polish. Allow to dry fully.
2. Take your base color (traditionally pink, but whatever you’d like on the bottom ¾ of your nail) and paint the entire nail. Allow to dry fully; you’ll have a literal mess on your hands if the polish isn’t fully dry for the next step.
3. Apply a hole reinforcement to each nail, placing the top edge of the reinforcement at about the place where the white of your nail begins, or wherever you’d like the tip color to start.
4. Carefully apply your tip color above the hole reinforcement. Don’t apply the polish too thickly or add many coats, or your tips will be noticeably thicker than the rest of the nail.
5. Allow the tip polish to dry completely before removing the hole reinforcement. This is crucial; if you pull off the reinforcement before the polish is dry, it will destroy your clean line. Once the polish is fully dry, carefully pull off each reinforcement.
6. Apply a clear topcoat.
7. Show off your stylish digits!