Now Is the Time to Have Fun With Your French Manicure

The French manicure is a foundational nail style, regardless of the connotations it may bring up. (For me, it’s all early ‘00s, when my middle-school self was obsessed with acrylic nails filed square and tipped in bright white.) But recent years have seen a decidedly more out-of-the-box revival for the the suburban mani—one that’s all about using the original minimalist format as a vehicle for creativity.

“The French manicure has really kind of picked up momentum this year,” says nail artist Tom Bachik, a favorite of Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez (an original ’00s French advocate), and more. For Bachik, the resurgence has allowed for quiet reinterpretations (see his American manicure) and louder ones, those focused on a fun, playful, colorful quality that he calls one of his favorite approaches for fall. Among his ideas? Tips painted in multiple hues, swirled tones, and French-as-accent nails. “The French manicure has evolved quite a bit,” agrees nail artist Hang Nguyen, whose Instagram is crammed with squares of fun French inspiration. “We’ve seen colored tips, tone-on-tone variations, and textured designs become popular, giving this classic style a modern twist.” 

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There’s only one rule for the fun French manicure: it’s all about the tip. “Everything’s still feeling super minimalistic in the nail look, but we’re taking the designs to the tip of the nail, which in my viewpoint still kind of represents a French,” says Bachik. For his part, Bachik suggests leaning into the season’s array of green polish, from moss to olive to emerald. “I love contrasting the colors, where you take like a light olive-y moss green and do a little micro French,” he says. Hguyen suggests trying a reverse French (simply swap the tips and base), adding geometric patterns in a similar color family; reaching for vibrant shades; or topping a classic French in chrome powder for an unexpected finish. 

As for length? For the most part, we’re still keeping things short. As fall sets in, “normally people start to let their nails grow longer, and they get more pointed and luxurious—but we’re not going as long this year,” says Bachik. “I find that my clients in general, and kind of as I scour over social, people are keeping things minimal and chic.” Bachik suggests filing shorter nails on the squarer side, a detail that offers a nice full-circle evolution of the early-aughts French. 

For the rest of the year, you’re invited to carry those off with a little kitsch—at least at nail level. 

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