The Beauty Desk
The latest beauty news & views, direct from PRIMPED HQ!
Now and Then: The Classic French Manicure
Fri, 13 July 2012 12:58PM
The French manicure has come a long way since its origins and – fun fact! – did you know that the classic style wasn’t actually created in France? It was actually the brainchild of Jeff Pink, the founder of Orly Nail Care, who was commissioned by a Hollywood director back in the 1970s to create a natural and long-lasting nail look to suit an array of outfit changes.
Cue the renowned milky-pink base and a thin, almost non-existent white tip, which not only made your nails look cleaner and neater, but also made them appear longer. And picture Barbra Streisand’s beyond-fabulous two-toned talons – she was one of the first actress to wear and love the look.
The reason it is now known as the French manicure? Well Mr Pink’s (by the way, can you think of a better surname for a beauty entrepreneur?) products, originally called the Orly Natural Nail Look Kit, didn’t sell until he had the brainwave to rename them the French Manicure Kit. Knowing, of course, how most of us think that anything French is instantly chic. Including, of course, les femmes.
Quite hilariously, French women weren’t even wearing the nail look at the time. Nevertheless, sales took off and a beauty legend was made.
So as we said, since then, the style has evolved somewhat, and there are so many variations on what the original style once was. Along with the emergence of nail art and feature nails, we’ve spotted hundreds of new styles emerging, with both the runway and red carpet main sources of inspiration.
There really are no boundaries on where you can take this mani and nail art in general, which is what makes it so much fun. And really, an ideal way to express your creativity if you’re on the hesitant side when it comes to exploring bold makeup hues.
Here are some of our favourite looks of late …
Feature nails have been around for a little while now – I am particularly a fan of this style – which meant I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica Alba’s variation, seen recently at Couture fashion week in Paris. While she kept her nail base a neutral, barely-there nude, the taupe tips and ring finger feature nail were a welcome surprise, and tied the look together. Experiment with different colours on the tips and feature!
Only yesterday Zooey Deschanel took the trend one step further, coordinating her bright red dress to her nails, accentuating the tips with a shimmering gold glitter at the ESPY Awards. If this is a little too out there for your tastes, you could always try this trend as a feature nail, too. With glitter and metallic shades a strong trend emerging for Spring/Summer ’12, this is one you could also take for a spin. Try the combo from the Carla Zampatti Pre-MBFWA’12 show, where the classic white tip was traded in for a shimmering silver.
Reverse-Moon or Reverse-French Manicure
And then you’ve got the reverse-moon manicure or reverse-French manicure, which is essentially exactly its namesake. Paint a colour on the slightly lighter ‘moon’ section of your nail close to your cuticle, and the rest of your nail another, so it looks like a French manicure, except upside down. If you’re looking to take it for a test drive, make like the Philip Lim 3.1 A/W ’12 show with a sandy nude and a rich sapphire blue on the half-moon arc. Or you could try a slight variation, like Chanel’s recent couture version.
And since I was getting so into the idea of these nail styles, here’s a snapshot of some variations you could try, created here at PRIMPED HQ. Regardless of whether you like the colour combos, try diamantes, glitter like Zooey, or perhaps your favourite colour along the tip. I think my top pick is the Carla Zampatti-esque combo on my middle finger.
If you’re new to the whole reverse-French concept, here are a few pointers for nailing it (displayed on my left thumb):
- Paint your nails in your chosen moon colour. As per the case in the picture, I opted for OPI’s Over The Taupe, $19.95, from David Jones. You’ll more than likely need two coats.
- Then, once your nails are thoroughly dry, grab some of those mini hole reinoforcement stickers (you know the ones you used in school for your binder sheets?) and place them over roughly where you want your ‘moon’ to be.
- Add two coats of polish to the rest of your nail. In this case you will definitely need two coats, as you don’t want any of the bottom shade showing through. Once dry, you can peel off the sticker. Voilà!
Primpettes, which is your favourite style?
Are you a fan of the traditional French mani, or do you like it with a little bit of nail art or colour variation?
Are there any that you would like to see a how-to on? Just let me know in the comments section!
Posted by: Hayley Bennett