15 Ways to Upgrade the Classic French Manicure

Erin Lukas
·2 min read

Getty Images

It doesn't matter which decade you grew up in, everybody has an opinion about the French manicure.

Whether you love or hate the infamous manicure style made popular in the '90s and '00s, the Wite Out-like rounded or square white tips are now considered a classic at nail salons. But just like virtually every other beauty trend in 2020 — from lip gloss to kohl-lined eyes — nostalgia rules when it comes to the year's most popular nail art designs, and that's why the French is once again one having a moment.

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The retro manicure first started popping up again on red carpets in 2019. But in 2020, the French manicure is nothing like you remember. In addition to chunky square white stripes, there are also rounded shapes with delicate tips, and even rainbow versions.

While the French looks simple to do, it can be tough to do at home on your own. So if you're going to attempt a DIY manicure, press on nail kits and nail art tools are always a foolproof option.

However, before you head to the salon or grab the supplies you need to give yourself a French manicure, you'll need to decide on the design. Below, our favorite modern takes on the French manicure as seen on celebs and our favorite nail artists' Instagram feeds.

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The Classic French Manicure

The one that started it all, the classic French manicure features almond or rounded tips, which can help elongate hands.

The Barely-There French Manicure

From French moons to pencil-thin stripes, this is how minimalists do the retro manicure style.

The Retro French Manicure

Chunky white stripes and air-brush inspired accents, these are designs that come to mind when you think of French manicures.

The Colorful French Manicure

These looks prove that white isn't the only color to paint your French tips.

The Next-Level French Manicure

There's no such thing as too much when it comes to these blinged-out and sparkly French manicures.