The Modern French Manicure: 2 Ways To Create A Chic Micro French Manicure•
Posted on April 18 2023
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I remember back in the late 90's and early 2000's when having a French manicure was the epitome of classy style for your nails. It was often reserved for women who were able to afford going to a salon to get their nails done or for special occasions. If you were going to Prom, you got a French manicure. If you were attending a wedding (or were the bride herself), you got a French manicure. Senior pictures? French manicure. It was the go to nail design worn by many a woman in that era and I loved it.
I didn't really get to go to a nail salon much as a young woman and DIY manicure instructions weren't as readily available back then as today. I attempted many a French manicure in my younger years that often ended in frustration and nail polish remover. So, I was excited to see that this trend has made a comeback and that other nail artists have come up with much easier ways to recreate this look without all of the headache and hassle.
Micro French Manicure Vs. French Manicure
While the French manicure and the micro French manicure share similarities, there are some key differences between the two. The classic French manicure features a nude or pale pink base color with a white tip that is thicker and more noticeable and often extends in a curved manner to mimic the smile line of the nail. On the other hand, the micro French manicure takes a more subtle approach, with a thinner, more delicate white tip that's closer to the width of a thin stripe and is often straight across the nail edge. This creates a more understated and modern look that is still elegant and sophisticated.
While the classic French manicure is most often done with white tips, the micro French manicure is often more loose with it's color scheme, sometimes showcasing a range of colorful tips rather than the classic nude and white color scheme of the French manicure. Overall, the micro French manicure is a fresh take on a timeless design that is perfect for anyone looking for a modern twist on a classic look.
How To Create A Micro French Manicure With A Make Up Sponge
Make up sponges are so useful in nail art applications. I love to use them to blend vertical or horizonal gradients (see the Dollhouse Gradient Manicure for more details.) and to densely apply glitter or flakie toppers for a more full coverage look. Now I'm going to use them to create micro French manicures too!
The technique is simple and easy. Paint the base color on your nails, I've chosen 'Powder Puff' for our examples, and allow to dry. Once completely dry, take a make up sponge and paint one stripe across the bottom with a color of your choice, I've chosen 'Venetian Blinds' for a more classic look. Now, while the paint is still wet on the sponge, gently press it into the tip of the nail until you have a thin strip of color going across the edge. If you nails are in a square or coffin shape, this is very simple as your free edge is straight across like the make up sponge which makes it super easy to keep the stripe even. If your nails are in a round or coffin shape, it may take a little more patience and practice to rock the sponge evenly back and forth across the tip.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was to create with a make up sponge. I thought it might have a bit of a learning curve, but it honestly was easier and quicker than I expected and it's now my favorite way to create a micro French manicure.
How To Create A Micro French Manicure With A Brush
But what if you don't have any make up sponges or any special tools whatsoever? What if all you have is a bottle of nail polish and the brush that comes with it? Well, it turns out, you can pretty easily create a micro French manicure with just that too!
If you've ever tried to create a classic French manicure, I'm sure you've tried painting it with the nail polish brush. I know I have, and the trouble I had with that is that I could never seem to get the tip quite even. The curve would be too pointy or the thickness of the white tip would be different between all my fingers. So, I was a little hesitant that this technique would actually work, but again, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome!
The idea here is that you aren't going to paint the tips like you would your fingernail, where you press the whole brush down and flat on your nail tips. Micro French manicure tips are much to thin to be able to use that kind of technique and make them even. Instead, you are going to use the flat side of the brush (Flat brushes will work better for this than round brushes. You can read about different nail polish brushes here.) and press the tip of your nail into the flat side of the brush, much in the same way that you would press your nail into the make up sponge.
The biggest trouble I had with this technique was making sure that I got just the right amount of nail polish on the brush. There is a little more trial and error with this technique. If you wipe off too much nail polish from the brush, you won't get a good solid tip. If you don't wipe off enough nail polish from the brush you'll end up with a tip that is too thick and creates a bump along the edge of your nail, much like when people cap the edges of their nails with too much nail polish after painting them.
When you use the sponge, it will soak up a certain amount of the nail polish, so you are less likely to get too much on your tips. While using the nail polish brush is basically the same technique as with a sponge, the bristles of the brush do not soak up the nail polish like the sponge does, so you have to be more careful about how much nail polish is actually on the brush.
Either way, once I figured out the right amount of nail polish to leave on the brush, this technique is just as easy and quick and the sponge technique and both work surprisingly well for creating micro French manicures! Which method will you use to create you micro French manicure?
Nail polishes used for both manicures: 'Powder Puff' & 'Venetian Blinds'
Looking for more nail painting tips? Read this!