The Glass French Manicure Would Make Cinderella Jealous

Mani magic.

Glass French Manicure


Let’s get one thing out of the way: the French manicure is a total classic, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The pink and white nail look is a mainstay both at your hometown nail salon and on the red carpet because of its sheer simplicity and versatility. The basic French is the grande dame of nail looks, but part of the magic of the French manicure is that you can customize it in a million different ways, from neon green tips to minimalistic designs to contrasting colors, not to mention the latest twist on the trend: the glass French manicure.

No, it’s not actually made of glass; you don’t have to go full Cinderella to rock this trompe l’oeil style, but it does add an enchanting pop to the classic French manicure that the Fairy Godmother would definitely love. Ahead, everything you need to know about the trend.

The Trend

The glass French manicure is like the slightly edgier, more adventurous sister of the “invisible” French manicure; the pair are definitely related, but while the invisible French is all about subtly and delicate textures, the glass French manicure brings the drama with a totally clear, glass-like tip. It’s yet another addition into the ever-expanding canon of French manicure-inspired looks to try.  “[The French manicure] is an incredibly versatile, fun, and classic look that can be tweaked for new looks easily,” says celebrity nail artist Sonya Belakhlef. “It can be very elegant or very edgy, depending on the color used, the shape of the nails, or even the length.”

Jin Soon Choi, founder of JINSoon, agrees. “A glass French manicure is on-trend right now because it offers a modern and stylish twist on a classic look that is subtle yet makes a statement,” she says. “I love this trend because it's unexpected, absolutely cool and sophisticated, yet the end result is a subtle look that is natural and polished.”

Part of the reason the “glass” style of manicure has seen a rise in popularity is because of advancements in nail technology. “In recent years, gel extensions with systems like Orly's Builder in a Bottle and Aprés Nail Gel-X Tips have gotten really popular,” explains Belakhlef. “They offer non-damaging ways to add length with clear tips, and frankly, it looks really cool, especially in close-up photos.” Builder in a Bottle is a pro product meant to sculpt nail extensions, while the Gel-X Tips come in a variety of shapes and sizes for celeb-worthy nails.

Stars like Hailee Steinfeld have experimented with the style; at first glance, you may not even notice the see-through glass texture, but it adds such a fun, special detail to any type of French manicure. “Before we add on nail art, you see these glass French tips first,” shares Belakhlef. “What’s cool is that you can do reverse French manicures and do a white base with the clear tips.” You can also add glitter, gems, or a hint of color—whatever you and your nail artist dream up.

How to Get a Glass French Manicure

While you can do glass nails at home, it’s a time-consuming task that is best left to the pros—or attempted after a lot of practice. “First, make sure you go to a salon that offers either Aprés Nail Gel-X or Orly Builder in a Bottle,” advises Belakhlef. “These require extra training and practice to do well. You can also find nail artists that have done these looks on social media and if they’re in your area, book an appointment with them directly.”

When you’re at the salon, ask for a sculpted clear tip. “The best way to get the exact look you want is to show them pictures,” recommends Belakhlef. “Just like with hair color, sometimes you and the nail artist may have different things in mind. 

If you do want to give it a try on your own, Belakhlef recommends practicing on forms before trying the technique on your own nails using the above products. “It does require a lot of practice to sculpt the tip. There are a lot of YouTube videos that show you step-by-step how to apply them, but a lot of it comes with practice,” they explain. For a less involved workaround with a similar result, Belakhlef suggests using nail glue to glue on clear, translucent press-on nails. Just remember to head home before the clock strikes midnight, Cinderella! 

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