The French Mani Is Back (but Not the Way You Remember It)

From neon to multicolor.

Modern French manicure at Kith NYFW SS19 Show.

Courtesy of Essie 

If you're like us, as soon as you notice a chip in your manicure, you begin to daydream about the nail art you'll book for your next appointment. While abstract designs and neon accents surely occupy a large amount of real estate in our Instagram "saved" folder, we also find ourselves gravitating toward a simpler, classic look: none other than the French manicure.

Now, we know what you're thinking: That's not new—and you'd be partially correct. Thanks to manicurists at New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 (and all over since then), modernized takes on the standard white tips are popping up left and right. From bright pops of color to tonal ombré nails, ahead you'll discover 25 ways to put a modern spin on the French mani.

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White Edges

Modeled on the Kith runway, these Squoval nails pair with white catty-corner accents for an updated French manicure that we plan to immediately include in our repertoire.

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Rainbow Tips

If you love the simplicity of a French manicure but crave a bold pop of color, you can't go wrong with this rainbow take on the classic. With four ultra-thin curved lines, your tips will look like something dreamt up by Lisa Frank.

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Diagonal French

Not all French manicures have to take up the entire tip of your nail. This one shows how statement-making it can be to try a half-dip.

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Glitter Tips

Sometimes all it takes is swapping out white polish for your favorite glittery silver. Our favorite is the Essie Luxeffects Nail Polish ($9) in Set in Stones.

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Blue Beauties

White nail polish is dainty and demure; cobalt blue, on the other hand, demands attention.

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Technicolor Tips

Why settle on just one color when you can wear a rainbow French tip on each nail? To get the look, use a French manicure sticker to section off your nail and serve as a stencil for the fine line between the neutral base and colorful tip. From there, place a few drops of different-colored polishes side-by-side on a plate. Use a sponge to gently pick up all the colors and press it on your nails. It will effortlessly blend between the shades for a subtle faded effect.

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Negative Space French

French manicures are gorgeous for their simplistic design. If you want to make it a bit more complex while still nailing the minimalist allure, skip a solid coat of white in favor of this lightly lined look.

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Tortoiseshell Tips

Who doesn't love tortoiseshell? Sure, the marbled acetate looks great on accessories, but it's even more enticing on your digits.

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Metallic Pink Tips

These nails might look like a single shade of pink glimmering in the light, but if you look closely, you'll notice that each tip is a varying shade of fuchsia.

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French Stars

Instead of ditching classic white French tips altogether, why not try pairing them with an extra touch of glam? Here, we have a single star glued to each nail for pretty, minimalist impact.

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Retro Blue

These fun baby blue nails will leave you feeling anything other than, well, blue. In fact, the retro design paired with the light, bright hue might make you feel downright cheery.

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Slim Black Tips

Why line your whole nail with a French tip when you can make just as big of an impact with a fine line arched around the outermost edge? One thing's for sure: With a crisp line like that, you'll have to enlist the help of a pro or keep a touch-up pen closeby.

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Double Arches

After creating your French tip, consider mirroring it with a half-moon at the base of your nail. While you can opt for one singular color, pairing two bold hues together will make even more of a statement.

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Tonal Tips

Whether you love the tonal manicure trend or you simply can't make up your mind as to which sweater-weather shade to pick, this fall-friendly mani is worth adding to your inspo folder.

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Duo Digits

It's a twofer: We're into it— especially since every edge has a different shade combination.

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Modern French

We can't take our eyes off of this geometric rendition of the classic French manicure. While the white tip doesn't extend across the entire nail, the way it's layered with a slightly paler shade gives it a dimension that we want to copy ASAP.

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For all the classic French manicure lovers, check out this bejeweled (er, be-shelled) nail art idea. It's a more elegant trade off for the holographic pastels of typical mermaid-inspired nails.

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Splash of Color

What do you get when you cross a Crayola box with a French mani? We imagine something like this varicolored set.

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Ombré Pink Nails

One of the most popular ways to upgrade a French manicure is to blur the lines between colors. And, we can't lie, we totally understand why after sinking down the rabbit hole search query that is #frenchombrenails.

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Tie-Dye Dip

Tie-dye is in; French manicures are in—it was only a matter of time before the two joined forces for one epic nail look.

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Neon Nails

You didn't think we'd forget to include the neon trend, did you? These solid tennis-ball yellow tips are a kicky vibe.

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Pumpkin Points

Sometimes all it takes is swapping out shades for a fun take on a classic. This warm pumpkin hue is great for fall (though we wouldn't mind wearing it in the summertime too).

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Pink Points

Go big or go home—or, in this case, go as paper-thin (and pink) as possible to make a really big splash. Before you know it, all your friends will be snagging your snap-worthy nail art.

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This white-tipped look stays true the classic while adding a (literal) twist. (See how it's sloped down towards one side of the nail?) We're loving the unexpected variation.

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Fine Lines

This may very well be the teeniest, tiniest French mani we've ever seen. And yet, the ultra-fine lines capture our attention in a way that a classic French never could—no wonder it was seen walking down the runway at NYFW.

Up next: Discover the spooky black-tipped nails that will get you in the Halloween spirit.

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