A pale pink base and bright white tips have come to characterize the ever-so-popular French manicure, which believe it or not is a common request at nail salons everywhere. Even in France, where it’s considered an American invention, this kind of mani is called “la French.” Too funny, huh?
Now (luckily) with all the new nail advances, it’s easy to score a salonworthy mani right in the comfort of your own home. Pick up a French manicure kit at your local beauty supply store (for longer-lasting color, try a gel nail one), or invest in some sheer pink and white polish to easily do it yourself.
After you’ve got the necessary items, it’s really not much more difficult than painting your nails. To make it super-simple, we’ve provided simple steps for everyone to follow.
Step 1: Trim your nails
Start by trimming your nails to the desired length. Make sure all of them are even. And remember: When it comes to the French manicure, the longer they are, the better.
More: How to Get So Cal Nails
Step 2: Shape your nails
Figure out the type of shape you’d like (either rounded or square). Then grab a nail file and get to work.
Step 3: Soak your cuticles
If you really want to recreate the spa experience at home, dip your hands in a bowl of warm water and let them soak for a minute or two. Then take a cuticle pusher (or orangewood stick) and gently push your cuticles back. Use the opposite end of the cuticle pusher to remove any dirt and grime from underneath your nails.
Step 4: Buff and prep for polish
Now, before you apply your first coat of polish, buff the top of your nails to prepare them for your nail polish. Then, simply massage cuticle oil onto your nails at this time.
A version of this article was originally published in April 2008.
Next Up: Paint on your base coat