The Story Behind the French Manicure

The Story Behind the French Manicure
See Gallery
The Story Behind the French Manicure

Step 1: File Your Nails

Make sure your nails are all an even length, so that the white tips are equal in length across your nails.  You file is your best friend, we love this one by Tweezerman, $5.00.

Get it here!

Photo credit: Tweezerman


Step 2: Use a Nail Buffer

Sephora is just one brand that makes these great multi-faced buffers for your nails.  Just follow the order of the instructions on the buffer and you'll see your nails transform.

Get it here!

Photo Credit: Sephora

3. Base Coat

A good base coat is essential to a manicure staying for a long time.  This base from O.P.I. will help polish stick and stay!

Get it here!

Photo Credit: O.P.I.

4. White Line

The order you choose to paint the two shades in may vary by your preference, but we like to paint the thin white line first(China Glaze White on White is a good option), so that the pink shade can dull the brightness of the white a bit, making the manicure look more natural.  If you prefer a serious pop of white, go ahead and paint the line second.

Get it here!

Photo Credit: China Glaze

6. Top Coat

Another Essie choice, No Chips Ahead is a great top coat to seal in your polish.  No manicure is complete without a clear coat to make it shine!

Get it here!

Photo Credit: Essie

6. Top Coat

Another Essie choice, No Chips Ahead is a great top coat to seal in your polish.

7. Voila!

Enjoy your beautiful new French manicure, you sophisticated lady, you!

Photo Credit: Getty Images


Ever wonder if the French Manicure is really French? Well, we found out!

Though Jeff Pink, founder of the nail polish brand Orly, is credited with branding the term "French Manicure" when he created an at-home kit in the late 1970's, the French Manicure is believed to go much further back than that.

The origins of this particular manicure are difficult to trace, but manicures in general have been around for thousands of years. The term comes from the Latin words "manus" and "cura" – meaning "hand" and "care." Maybe that's why a good manicurist gives you a hand massage along with painting those lovely nails – you're quite literally getting care for your hands!

As far as the French mani, some claim that it was indeed created in France – Paris, to be exact – for the fashionistas of the 1930's. (Others speculate the word "French" was added because it makes anything seem stylish and chic.) When it became popular in the United States, Hollywood starlets of the 70's loved it because it was a clean look that was incredibly versatile to an ever-changing schedule (on and off the screen!).

The white-tipped look with a pink or nude overlay seems to be an everlasting trend, with women still constantly requesting it in salons. If you want to look effortlessly, naturally put together, it really is a great look for you.

What manicure do you usually ask for when you visit a salon? This editor happens to have about 30 shades of polish at home (guilty pleasure, admittedly!), but white and nudes/pinks are certainly part of that collection. We think a "frenchie" is always a good option!

Click through the gallery above for a step-by-step how-to to do a French for yourself!

More from Stylelist:

15 Unusual Uses for Nail Polish

Essie Introduces Magnetic "Reptile" Nail Polish Collection

2012 Wrap Up: Best Celebrity Nails

Now You Can Name Your Own Nail Polish!

Photo Credit: Jupiterimages

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.