French manicures are the epitome of chic and sophisticated looks for nails. Whether it’s for a special occasion or just your everyday style, a French manicure never goes out of fashion.
But getting that perfect salon finish at home can be tricky, especially with regular nail polish.
This is where gel polish comes in. Gel polishes have been gaining popularity recently because of their glossy finish, long-lasting wear and durability. And when it comes to French manicures, gel polishes are the way to go for that professional look.
We’ll take you through how to create the perfect French mani at home and recommend some of our favourite gel polishes for the job.
What You Need for a Classic French Manicure
Before you get started on your French manicure, make sure you have the following tools and products. Save this list and check off each item as you go:
- Cuticle pusher
- Cuticle nippers
- Nail file and buffing block
- Nail cleanser and dehydrator
- Nail wipes or cotton pads
- Base coat
- White nail polish
- Pink or nude nail polish
- Gel top coat
- UV/LED lamp
French Manicure Gel Polish Colours, Sets & Kits
A good way to get started on your French manicure journey is with a kit. These usually come with all the products you need to create a classic French mani and are perfect for beginners.
A real favourite with at-home manicurists is the French Me Kit by Mylee. The gel nail colours in this set are perfect for creating a classic French manicure and come in beautiful nude and white shades. They’re also long-lasting (up to 3 weeks!), so that’s plenty of time to admire your perfect French mani.
The Essie French Manicure Duo Kit is another great option, with a light rose shade and pure white gel nail polish colours to create the perfect French mani look.
Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails® French Manicure duo kit is also a popular choice. There are 2 shades available: nearly nude and sheerly opal, so you can pick whichever nude best suits your skin tone.
Of course, you can really use any colours you like for French tips – it doesn’t have to be just white and nude. Experiment with different shades to create your own unique French manicure.
How to Create the Perfect French Manicure At Home
So, you have your gel polishes and all the tools you need, now it’s time to create that perfect French manicure. Follow these simple steps for a flawless finish!
Step 1) Prep Your Nails
Before applying any polish, you’ll need to prep your nails correctly. Use the cuticle pusher to gently push back your cuticles, then trim any excess with the cuticle nippers. Use a nail file and buffing block to shape your nails and create a rough surface for the polish to adhere.
Next, use a nail cleanser or dehydrator to remove any oils from your nails that can prevent the polish from adhering properly.
Step 2) Apply Your Base Coat
Apply a thin layer of your chosen base coat to your nails. This will help the polish adhere better and protect your natural nails from staining.
Cure the base coat under a UV or LED lamp for the correct amount of time depending on the polish you’re using. Typically, gel polishes cure in 30 seconds to a minute under an LED lamp and 2-3 minutes for UV lamps.
Step 3) Apply Your Base Nude Colour
Once you’ve cured your base coat, it’s time to apply your base colour. Take your nude-coloured gel polish and apply a thin coat to each nail. Make sure to avoid getting any polish on your skin or cuticles.
Cure the nude polish under your lamp for the recommended time and repeat with a second coat if needed for full coverage.
Step 4) Create Your French Tips
Now it’s time for the fun part. Creating French tips can be tricky if you’re doing it freehand, so here are two techniques you can try:
The Guide Method
This method involves using a guide sticker to create a straight line for your French tips.
Apply the sticker near the top of your nail, leaving only the tip exposed. Then, paint over the tip with your white polish and cure under your lamp.
The Brush Method
If you’re feeling confident, you can use a thin brush and steady hand to create the white tips.
Dip your brush in white polish and carefully paint a straight line across the tip of your nail, cleaning up any mistakes with a small amount of nail cleanser on a cotton pad.
Step 5) Seal the Look with a Top Coat
Once you’ve created your French tips, seal the look with a high-quality gel top coat. Apply a thin layer to each nail and cure under your lamp for the recommended time.
Step 6) Clean Up Any Excess
After curing your top coat, use a cotton pad or wipe with some nail cleanser on it to gently remove any excess polish from around your nails.
It’s important to note that you should do this before curing your nails at any step in the process, as cured gel polish on the skin can cause irritation or sensitivity.
Summary: The Best French Manicure Gel Polish for French Tips
While there are plenty of gel polish brands and sets that can create a beautiful French manicure, our top picks would have to be the Mylee French Me Kit, Essie French Manicure Duo Kit and Sally Hansen Hard As Nails® French Manicure duo.
These all come with high-quality polishes in perfect shades for classic French tips and will give you a salon-worthy finish at home.
So, next time you’re in the mood for a chic and timeless look, try out these gel polishes for the best French manicure experience! Remember to always prep your nails correctly, use thin coats of polish and cure under a lamp for perfect results.
How long does a gel polish French manicure last?
This will depend on the French manicure gel polish you’re using, but most gel polishes last around 2 to 3 weeks. Make sure you follow proper prep and application for the best and longest-lasting results.
Is gel polish better than normal nail polish for French manicures?
Gel polish is better than regular nail polish for French manicures because it’s more durable, longer-lasting and has a glossy finish.
What gel polish colours are best for a French manicure?
The best gel polish colours for a classic French manicure are nude shades for the base and a crisp white for the tips. However, you can also experiment with different colour combinations to create your own unique French manicure look.