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The Ultimate French Girl Manicure

The Ultimate French Girl Manicure

french women nails

French beauty, celebrated for its emphasis on natural skin, classic makeup, and an overall minimalist aesthetic, finds a perfect echo in France’s nail care trends. French women prefer their nails to look impeccable yet simple, focusing on perfect shape, healthy cuticles, and a refined color palette. Long nails, acrylics, chipped polish, or bold nail art designs are not commonly seen in France. Instead, the French nail aesthetic is characterized by clean, minimalist elegance. In this article, I will guide you through the nail trends French women adore and recommend products to help you achieve this look at home. So, let’s step into French chic, where beauty is in the details and simplicity reigns supreme.


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french women manicure
Collage: Les Collections Particulières by Leonce Chenal.

Natural, Short & Rounded

French women prefer their nails to be short, rounded, and classic, avoiding long nails or squared-off edges to keep them as natural looking as possible. Their nail care routine is thorough, starting with a manicure that enhances the nail’s natural shape. After moisturizing their hands with their favorite creams (mine is Caudalie Vinotherapist Hand & Nail Cream), nails are prepared for nail polish with a protective base coat, such as Dior Base Vernis. One or two thin coats of polish are applied to achieve the perfect color, followed by a layer of top coat. Cuticle care is also essential for strong and healthy nails. Products like Dior Huile Abricot nail serum, infused with apricot kernel oil, can help. I also recommend Dior Crème Abricot, an iconic nail care product since 1963, which I use as an overnight treatment to improve nail resistance.

The Minimalist French Manicure

french minimalist manicure
Christian Dior Ready to Wear FW22. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

Despite its misleading name, the French manicure—known for its natural, sheer, or pale pink base and distinct white or off-white tip—actually originated in the 1970s in Hollywood. Created by nail technician Jeff Pink, this style was designed to give Hollywood actresses a versatile nail option that matched any outfit. However, in France, where the style suggests, it’s not as popular among Parisians and French women. They prefer the simplicity and elegance of transparent or nude polishes, such as Les Mains Hermès 03 Rose Coquille, Chanel Le Vernis 111 Ballerina, or Dior Vernis 108 Muguet, over the more noticeable French manicure. This preference aligns with the French minimalist aesthetic, where long acrylic nails are often seen as overly extravagant.

For enthusiasts of the French manicure seeking a touch of this French subtlety, opting for short, naturally rounded nails with a sheer pink base and an almond milk-white tip can offer a more refined take on the classic look. Alternatively, for an even simpler look, a light pink base like Dior Nail Glow can subtly enhance your nails’ natural beauty.

A Shade of Red for Each Season

In France, classic red is the go-to nail color for many women, sidestepping the trend of flashy hues. This red varies from bright crimsons to deep burgundies, always applied with care to ensure a perfect, glossy finish. A coordinated lipstick adds an extra touch of sophistication. My personal preference shifts with the seasons: in spring and summer, I’m drawn to lively pink-reds and orange-reds, while in autumn and winter, I opt for the warmth of deep reds and burgundies, like the Chanel Le Vernis 155 Rouge Noire. Nevertheless, certain shades of red, such as the Dior Vernis 999 Rouge and Chanel Le Vernis 151 Pirate, are forever classics, transcending seasons and occasions.

View Comments (2)
  • Hi Leonce. Please do you know what nail polish the model (Christian Dior Ready to Wear FW22. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight) has? And lipstick on the lips? Do you know where I could find it? Thank you very much Sylvia.

    • Bonjour Sylvia, thank you for your question! Her nails and lips look very natural. She’s probably wearing one coat of Dior Vernis in color 108 Muguet, as well as Dior Addict Lip Glow in color 000 Universal Clear or 001 Pink. Voilà! I hope this information is helpful. xo

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