How do I do a French manicure at home?

The classic French manicure is a nail icon, and this season it has been re-invented in the colour stakes.

Traditional colours

Instead of the usual white and pink combo, models were sent down the runways with every colour combination imaginable coating their nails. Jewel colours are big this winter, so you can go for a blue nail with purple tips, or the new, “Louboutin” red with black tips. The options are endless.


But this is much more fun! Image:

Start by shaping your nails. The shape that works best for a French manicure is the ‘squoval’, which is square but with slightly rounded corners.

Then wash, and scrub you nails to make sure they’re free of any debris and oils. Once dry, you can apply a coat of base coat. And before you ask, yes, you absolutely need to use base coat as it protects your nails from staining, and helps the colour last longer.

To get the line you can use those French tip strips, scotch tape, or if you have a steady hand, you could free-style. I always press the sticky side of the strips against my skin a few times to make them less sticky – this way they won’t pull any polish away when you remove them.  Apply the strip to the line where your nail leaves your nail bed. If you make them too low, your nail will look like nasty fake ones.

At this stage, if you are doing a classic pink with white tips, you can apply the strips and do two coats of white. Make sure each coat is 100% dry before applying the next, or removing the strip. Then you can apply 2 coats of the pink shade over the top.

If you are doing a dark tip, then you need to apply 2 coats of the main, lighter colour to the whole nail first. Make sure the coats are absolutely dry before you apply the strips. Then you can apply 2 coats of the dark shade to the tips.

If there is any glue left behind from the strips, use an ear bud dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove.

Then all you have to do is apply a coat of top coat, and you’re done!