Alternative French Manicure


The classic French manicure–a pale pink, beige, or nude nail with a bright white nail tip–has long been a favorite of brides, prom queens, and classy ladies everywhere.  Demure and lovely, yes.  Kind of boring, also yes.  If you like the look of a French manicure, but want a little color to liven it up, the alternative French manicure may be a good option.  Pick any color as a base, and any other color for the tips.

Burgundy and Gold

Here’s my first attempt at the alternative French mani.  For the main color, I used Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in Brilliant Bordeaux and for the accent color I used Revlon ColorStay in Fall Mood.  You’ll notice I combined this look with the Accent Nail trend, so my ring finger inverts the look.  I loved how this color combo looked on my hand.  The deep red bordeaux with the gold-bronze is perfect for fall.  To get this look, I painted two coats of the main color.  Then I poured a small amount of the tip color on a piece of foil, then dipped a thin nail brush in the polish and applied.  In the past, I’ve always used the actual nail polish brush to achieve a French manicure, but using a thinner, better quality brush gave me much more control over the line.


Red and Gold

This is a similar take on the previous mani, keeping the tip color Revlon ColorStay in Fall Mood but with the main color of Rimmel in Stiletto Red.  Here I made my tips a bit thicker than in the previous mani, so that the Fall Mood was more visible.  This is a great new nail polish, by the way.  Very dense, sparkly, luminous color–only one coat covers most of the nail, though I’d recommend two for best results.


Blue and Black

I really love how my third attempt of this look turned out.  I did a strict French manicure, no accent nail, and I paired two unlikely colors:  China Glaze in Man Hunt (main color) and China Glaze in Liquid Leather (tip color).  These are my first China Glaze polishes, and I was very impressed.  The blue is a rich, dark hue that applied smoothly and opaquely.  The black also was opaque with one coat which is pretty rare for a black nail polish.


Gray and Navy

Here I’m wearing one of my favorite polishes for the main color, Rimmel in Steel Grey.  This is a really attractive grey hue–oftentimes the grey polishes out there make your hand look washed out and corpse-like, but this has just a hint of lilac in it for a beautiful fall color.  For the tip color, I used L’Oreal Colour Riche in After Hours.  I’ve had this polish for awhile and it’s a bit finicky when placed on the entire nail–sort of runny and requiring many coats.  But it worked well just just at the tips of my nails.


Ahhh, a teachable moment, as Oprah would say.  See the streaking on the close-up of my ring finger here?  This is called “Beth got impatient and applied a clear top coat before the blue was dry.”  No good.  May this be a lesson to you all.


2 Responses to “Alternative French Manicure”
  1. Jeremy says:

    Beth, what is your recommended cover coat? :)