Everyone loves a classic, right? They’re generally simple to follow since the parameters for them have been definitively set at this point, and they always make you look nice.
One true classic that I may well be one of the only girls to have never sported before is the French manicure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m almost positive that I’ve attempted to make it happen in the past, but either shaky hands or impatience always made it a bust.
This past week I decided to give it another go, and after a few failed attempts (never underestimate the need for persistence), I finally ended up with a result I was content with.
Ta da! It’s not immaculate, but I also saved $20 by not paying a professional to do it, so I can deal with the imperfections. And, in all honesty, unless you get very close to my nails, you can’t see that they’re not perfect (and I don’t know anyone who’s going to be looking that closely at my hands).
Part of the reason it took me a few tries to get it right was that I tried the wrong method for me or the wrong polish.
For the first go, I went and purchased some stickers that are meant to act as guides for the tip that look like this.
I’d seen a few people recommend them for those who have difficulty with the process, so I purchased a set from CVS by the brand nailene for less than $3. The first thing I noticed with these particular ones was that the stick on them is very strong. I had put down a base coat to help hold the polish, and these things pulled up about half of what it touched. It’s not a huge deal, but something to know – they definitely need to be put down on nothing but bare nails.
The second issue I had with them is the texture they create on the end of the polish when pulled up. If you’ve ever taped off a room before painting it, you’ll have an idea what I’m talking about. No matter how carefully and slowly you pull the tape up, it will slightly pull up the edge of the polish that is meant to stay on the nail. It can be pressed back down to a point, but I found it made the tip look a tad ‘fuzzy’.
However, the ultimate reason I ended up not using them is that the natural curve of my nail is much sharper than the curve of the sticker. I found that I had to place the sticker so far down to cover all edges of my natural nail that it created a painted tip that was too big. This is something I hadn't even considered before, but it now seems painfully obvious in hindsight.
So it was all down to free-handing it. Eep. However, with some patience and always having my hand resting on the table for an anchor, I managed to get through it without too much trouble.
The other problem I had was finding the right polish. After a few fails with shades I already had, I went to the store looking for the cheapest white I could find that seemed opaque. I check by pulling out the brush and seeing how much the color shows up on the bristles – if it looks sheer on the brush, it will probably apply sheerly on the nail.
Good news for fellow beauty cheapos, the polish Snow Me White from Sinful Colors is a very good white (only needed 2 coats) and costs $1.99 at Walgreens. You won’t get a better deal than that! It doesn’t have a micro-fine brush, but I found it thin enough to still be easily workable. Add any clear top coat (after the white has thoroughly dried), and you’re done!
I have to say that, despite its simplicity, I’ve really enjoyed this look. It’s not showy and doesn’t make a statement like some of my polishes, but I still feel like they look very ‘finished’ and more polished that a bare, buffed nail. To be honest, I couldn’t stop looking at them the first few days I wore them (maybe blame it on the novelty of it?). I’ve also really loved that, although the edges of the tips have incurred some wear over the week I’ve worn them, you can’t really see it since the white blends so well with where my natural tips are starting to show. A low maintenance polish that still looks really nice? I’m there!
It will probably have to come off soon since I don’t want to push my luck with the wear, but I think this look has earned a place in my permanent rotation.
What do you girls think about French manicures? Love them? Or too plain for your taste? Let me know :)
Thanks for reading!