How to Do a French Manicure with Gel Polish

When you think about classic nails, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For most, the answer is a French tip manicure. This type of manicure is something that’s always in style. Contrary to popular belief, this technique didn’t originate in France. Its origins lie in the glamorous Hollywood, where manicurist Jeff Pink came up with what would become the world’s most famous nail art. Whether you’re a pro nail tech or a beginner, this design is easy to achieve.

What You’ll Need to Achieve the Look

supplies for creating manicure
  • Nail file
  • Nail buffer
  • Base coat
  • Nude or light pink nail polish
  • Tape, French tip stencils or a gel striper brush
  • Top coat
  • Cuticle oil
  • Pointed cotton swabs and nail polish remover

Importance of Choosing Quality Nail Polish

Choosing quality nail polish is crucial for several reasons, as it significantly impacts the outcome of your manicure and the overall health of your nails. The quality of the manicure, the ease of removal and the time of wearing gel polish depend on the base coat and top coat.

The base coat is responsible for the quality of adhesion of gel polish and natural nails. It protects the nail from the colouring agent of the polish, and it evens out the nail’s surface, preparing it for further polish application. Manufacturers also often add some strengthening ingredients to the base coat.

Additionally, using a strengthening and long-lasting top gel coat is another crucial component in ensuring a durable and long-lasting manicure. It serves as a protective layer that enhances the appearance of your nails while providing durability and a glossy finish. Here are the benefits of using a quality top coat:

  • Seal the Manicure – A gel top coat acts as a sealant, encapsulating the layers of coloured polish underneath. It provides a protective barrier, preventing scratches, chips, and fading, thereby prolonging the life of your manicure.
  • Enhanced Longevity – Applying a gel top coat significantly increases the wear time of your manicure. It reinforces the polish layers, making them more resilient to daily activities and reducing the risk of chipping or peeling too early.
  • High Shine or Matte Finish – Gel top coat nail polish can offer a glossy shine finish that adds lustre and depth to your manicure. It provides a professional, salon-like appearance, giving your nails a polished and attractive look. Or if you prefer a matte look, use can try a matte topcoat for a different look.
  • Smooth Imperfections – Some gel top coat nail polish has self-alining properties, helping to smooth out any unevenness or imperfections in the base layers. This results in a flawless and smooth surface.
  • Easy Application and Removal – Gel top coats are typically easy to apply and cure quickly under the appropriate lamp. They also remove easily with standard gel polish removal methods, providing convenience without damaging the nails.
  • Versatility – Gel top coats are versatile and can be used over various nail art, including nail stamping, decals, or glitter while preserving the design and providing a glossy finish.

The Steps Involved

Prep the Nails

After choosing which nail polishes to use it’s time to clean and prep the nails. Before you do so, double-check that you have all the tools you need for nail care to make this process easier.

Start by removing any current polish with a polish remover. Any residue can lead to chips and cracks later on. Buff out and shape your nail with a nail buffer and nail file. Make sure to soak your cuticles in oil before pushing them back. Exfoliate your hands with a body scrub and apply hand cream. Now you’re ready to start your manicure and apply that first coat.

Perfect the Design

woman applying top gel coat on her nails

Start with your base coat. This will anchor that polish to your nails, ensuring a chip-free finish. Give it time to dry completely before you start the next step. Then, apply a nude or sheer pink coat. After you cure that base under the UV or LED lamp, it’s time to make those white tips with whatever you prefer. You can use tape, French tip stencils or a gel striper brush.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and get comfortable with whatever works for you. If you mess up, use pointed cotton swabs and nail polish remover for clean-up before you cure your manicure.

Last but not least, apply a thin layer of gel top coat to ensure your manicure is long-lasting. When you’re done you can buff out your nails and reshape them to your liking one last time.

Finished Look

When learning anything, we all know that practice makes perfect. Once you’ve perfected your French manicure skills you can start playing with different shapes, add nail art or change the tip colour. You can try to use bold or pastel colours instead of white for a fun twist or incorporate glitter, gems or hand-painted designs for an added flair. Experiment with different shapes for the tips, such as chevron, almond, or rounded. Get creative and make sure to have fun creating mani-magic.