Today’s article is all about how French women wear their nails. French women are elegant from their clothing to their nails, and they know that scrappy nails can undo their look in an instant. The French take great care of their nails and stick to colors that are timeless, light pinks, nudes, and deep reds. Keep scrolling below to learn exactly how French women do their nails.
The French Manicure Is Not French
You might be surprised to learn that the French manicure (which is called “French manucure”) did not, in fact, originate in France. It was created in 1975 by President and CEO of Orly International Jeff Pink, who, at the time, was an American beauty supplier working in Hollywood. The French manicure started to became popular after Pink created the first DIY French manicure kit for Hollywood actresses in the 70s and it quickly became a hit.
Even if the French manicure is one of the most popular types of nail treatment widely offered in nail salons, French women don’t really wear it. Instead, they prefer to go for a totally transparent or nude polish. The French manicure with long acrylic nails is the exact opposite of French chic and is considered vulgar in France. If you’re a fan of the French manicure, you can wear it with short and natural nails.
How French Women Wear Their Nails
French women wear their nails (les ongles) short or with a little length, neat and with or without polish. Nails are real (fake nails are considered vulgar in France), rounded, classic looking, and are either painted in clear/ neutral or red colors. Super long nails (fake or real) are not fashionable in France. Also, French women don’t follow trends and nail polishes are much less creative; there are no fancy drawings or nail diamonds for example. French women stick to the incontestably chic classics, that is why the nail art phenomenon has never really taken off in France. Remember that the beauty philosophy in France is never to look like you’re trying too hard.
French women take great care of their nails. Some of them prefer going without nail polish color, opting instead for buffing their nails for a healthy-looking shine. They just keep all their nails short, at an even length, remove their cuticles, and apply a nail strengthener like this one from OPI or this one from Essie. Then, they usually apply a nail lacquer in a universal shade that enhances the color of their natural nails like the Dior Nail Glow Enhancer.
Others prefer to wear their nails with nail polish color. They usually apply a base coat to protect their natural nails, then color and a top coat to prevent chipping. Personally, I like to use a nail polish that repairs and strengthens nails while providing a sheer color result like the Essie Treat Love & Color Nail Polish. Once dry, French women like to moisturize their nails, and cuticles with oils like the Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil, the L’Occitane Shea Nail Oil, or the French Girl Colorless Nail & Cuticle Oil.
Do French Women Get Their Nails Done?
Nail salons are usually more expensive in France than they are in the US. So if some Parisian women get their nails done regularly, it’s certainly not the norm in France. I cannot speak for all French women, but I would say that the French tend to take care of their nails themselves. Aside from a summer pedicure and at Christmas (and wedding parties), frequent trips to get their nails done aren’t really a thing in France.
From time to time, when I was living in Paris, I used to go to my favorite nail salon to have a manicure and a “shellac” (vernis semi-permanent in French). I find shellac manicure very convenient (it can last up to 3/4 weeks), especially before going on holiday. However, I’m usually not doing a shellac more than four times a year as it damages natural nails. Also, very long acrylic nails are not really a thing in France and are considered vulgar. French women like to keep their nails very natural and avoid all types of artificial nails which can seriously damage their natural nails.
Do The French Paint Their Nails?
Yes of course! When French women decide to get their nails painted or paint their nails themselves, they usually prefer to opt for any shades of red, beige, and pink. French women’s nails are most of the time very classic. Some prefer nude colors such as Chanel Le Vernis Ballerina or Egerie. Whereas others prefer bright and classic red shades like Chanel Le Vernis Pirate and Rouge Puissant.
Personally, I like to wear different shades of red depending on the season. If during the fall/winter I like to wear deep reds, burgundies, or deep purples, I prefer bright reds, oranges, and pinks in spring/summer.
Light Pink & Nude Nail Polishes
Red Nail Polishes
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Bonjour! I’m Leonce, I’m French and I’m a Parisian expat currently living in the city center of Amsterdam (I previously lived in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, on the Ile-Saint-Louis). I created Leonce Chenal back in 2018 when I was living in London and missing my home country way too much. Because I truly believe you don’t have to be French or to live in France to experience the French art de vivre, Leonce Chenal is a French digital magazine to help you live your French life, wherever you are. Enjoy <3