All Of The Best French Tip Nail Designs To Try Now

From slimline tips to the multi-coloured wonders of Gigi Hadid's latest manicure, here's how it's done

French manicure

by Annie Vischer |
Updated on

Appearing on the fingertips of every celebrity and influencer alike, the French manicure is back in business and it's more eye-catching than ever before. While we adore the classic French set – the look that pervaded the '90s and noughties with lengthy square Tippex tips which saw Victoria Beckham through her Spice Girl days and beyond – it has now evolved into a multitude of super subtle iterations, think: bold strips of colour and eye-catching designs. We round up the best French tip nail designs below...

Instagram @gigihadid
©Instagram @gigihadid

The Classic

The answer to classy, timeless and quintessentially chic nails, this iconic design has been enjoyed for decades for its simple but effective impact. It was spawned in the '70s by Jeff Pink (the creator of Orly who was working as an American beauty supplier in Hollywood). Pink created this clean, time-saving and natural-looking mani as a response to movie sets becoming bogged down by the change of nails that came with actress' costume switches. After success in Hollywood, Pink took the look to Paris, where it was used on models during fashion shows. The style is enjoyed today for those same qualities. The best thing about the classic is its suits-all nature, meaning it can be carried off with any nail shape and on any nail foundations, whether acrylic, shellac or BIAB nails.

The French Manicure Modern Twist

Spotted on the likes of Gigi Hadid (who served up an eye-catching multi-coloured take on the classic style), Ariana Grande (who opted for a French mani in her recent engagement pictures), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Rochelle Humes - the new modern take on a French manicure involves a shorter length of nail, a subtle strip of white at the top and those trademark levels of gloss. Most recently, it's Hailey Bieber who's been flirting with the look. Taking to Instagram, the model and her manicurist Zola shared a new red French tip set, which gave us all the Christmas feels.

And proving that it's totally achievable to do at-home, Rochelle shared her DIY #nelfie on Instagram (below). Here, we've spoken to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's go-to manicurist for all her top tips and tricks so you too can nail the French manicure.

French Manicure

The new-gen French manicure trend first appeared to hit the big time once more back in 2019 when Bella Hadid was spotted on a jaunt to Mykonos flaunting a head-turning set of Limoncello-esque bright yellow tips. That was just before she toned her French manicure look back down to tan tips for the 2019 VMAs too - talk about repping a look. Now we're in 2021 and the nail trend has quickly become one of the most joyful manicure looks to be gracing Instagram with its presence. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley debuted her new micro French manicure look, created by manicurist extraordinaire Harriet Westmoreland.

Watch: Pro Nail Artist Betina Goldstein Shares Her 'French Moonlight' Design

The Pro Secret Behind The New-Gen French Manicure

For celebrity and session manicurist Michelle Humphrey, the secret to treading that fine line between nostalgia-laced modernity and a classic, glossy French manicure vision, the likes of which only the Barbra Streisands of this world can pull off, lies in the ‘smile line’. ‘You want the tip colour applied in a curve, not painted straight across. This makes your nails look longer, and more contemporary.’

As for colour options, base-wise, Michelle advises the fair skinned to opt for cool tones of nude like Essie’s Nail Lacquer in Ballet Slippers, £7.99, and those with darker skin to use a warmed-up version. Nailberrry L’Oxygene Oxygenated Nail Lacquer in A Touch of Powder, £14.50. Then, when it comes to tips, the world is your multi-coloured oyster. Check out Melanie of @overglowedit Instagram account fame and her DIY take on a modern French manicure, and scroll further down for even more inspiration.

Ever Heard Of A Nail Art Palette Ring? You Have Now!

Nail artist Betina Goldstein has taken the nail art world by storm with her crazy beautiful Doublemoss Arte Artist Palette Ring, £69. The piece of jewellery wouldn't look out of place in the Liberty of London jewellery section but its worth extends far beyond aesthetics. The ring has been designed so that it can be worn on one finger as a nail varnish palette. Drop your colours onto the plate of the ring and dip a nail art brush in to them to paint your nails. At-home French manicures just got a whole lot more glamorous!

Browse The Best Of 2023's French Tip Manicure Inspiration Here


New Wave French Manicure

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Instagram @harrietwestmoreland

Named 'Petite French' by nail artist Harriet Westmoreland, we adore this chic double white line detail.

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Instagram @biosculpturegelgb

We love this new take on a French tip, try a subtle dotted line instead.

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Instagram @nailsbymh

How cute is this strawberry print French manicure?!

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Instagram @nailsbymh

This pastel take on a French manicure might just be our favourite so far.

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Instagram @nailsbymh

A rainbow French manicure? Sign us up.

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Instagram @nailsbymh

This Limoncello yellow French manicure style is very similar to the look Bella Hadid went for in Mykonos.

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Instagram @nailsbymh

Woah...the French manicure just got a Clueless makeover.

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Instagram @overglowedit

To go the extra mile clash colours by painting in half moons as well as tips.

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Instagram @overglowedit

The more bright colours the better, quite frankly.

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Instagram @thegelbottleinc

Go short for a new wave French manicure that's subtle and striking in one.

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Instagram @biosculpturegelgb

OK fine this is a pretty classic look but it's super subtle and definitely still a stunner.

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