The French manicure is the underdog of the nail art. After a brief hiatus in the mid-2000s, the polarizing look has made a comeback and is now more popular than ever.
But in 2022, acrylic square white tips aren't the only way to do a French. Minimalist lines, stiletto shapes, and neon polishes are a few new techniques nail artists and enthusiasts are reimagining the classic white stripe. However, for anyone who likes to stick to a neutral manicure, elevating the French manicure can be as simple as swapping white nail polish for black.
Not only are black French tips an unexpected twist, the universal color looks good on everyone and can be customized to fit your personal style, whether it's opting for an almond or a stiletto shape or playing with negative space for a graphic look.
Before familiarizing yourself with the many ways to do a black French manicure, let's clear up the difference between French tips and a French manicure. Dasha Minina, a nail technician and founder of Maxus Nails and BeauticianList, previously told InStyle that when someone asks for French tips, they typically mean artificial nail tips that are already painted white. On the other hand, a French manicure is when the tips of the nail are painted a color that's different than the base of the nail. However, you'll often hear the terms used interchangeably when referring to the design of the actual tip.
Ahead, 10 of the coolest iterations of the black French manicure to inspire your own nail art.
1. Stiletto Black French Tips
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For LaQuan Smith's Spring/Summer 2022 show, nail artist Yukie Natori brought the drama with this sharp stiletto shape with a black French tip.
2. Wavy Black French Tips
This wavy design by Jin Soon Choi for Peter Do's Spring 2022 show combines the classic French manicure with the negative space look. Choi created the cool nail art using products from her namesake nail care brand.
3. Almond French French Tips
The beauty of the black French manicure is that it works well across all nail lengths and shapes, including these long, almond black tips seen on nail artist Amy Le.
4. Black Swirls
Nia Ho remixed classic white tips by adding a black swirl accents to each nail.
5. Round Black Tips
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Melissa McCartney chose rounded black French tips to accept the the Icon Award at the 2021 InStyle Awards.
6. Pattern Clashing
You don't need to pick nail art or French tips. This whimsy look from Vanity Projects demonstrates how to do both: just add whatever designs you're feeling to a black and white French manicure.
7. Half Moon French
Half moons and pastel pink tips are two unexpected details that'll elevate the typical black French manicure.
8. Curves and Swerves
'60s-inspired swirls continue to trend. The design has popped up on dresses, jeans, and home decor, but it makes for great nail art, too. Here, @nailsbyalsn mixes up a black French manicure with a few black and white swirl accent nails.
9. Outline and Inverted Black French Tips
This take on black French tips is for nail art minimalists alike. Marina Iwakoshi of Vanity Projects played with different sizes of lines to create the graphic look.
10. Pop of Color
There's a reason you have a ton of black in your closet: it can be worn with everything. The same goes for black nail polish, too. This black and yellow manicure from Paintbox demonstrates how to add a pop of color to dark French tips. The angled tips are another eye-catching detail.