How to give yourself a french manicure

Most women want attractive hands, with perfect nails. The sad truth is that most of us have a hard time achieving that goal. We may not even be sure what kind of nails are most attractive.

The French manicure answers a lot of these questions. It is classic and gives the hands a polished, well-groomed appearance. It is equally as appropriate for the office as it is for an upscale restaurant — it’s even seen at weddings. In fact, this manicure style is the most requested at nail salons all over the world.

What is the “Frenchie,” anyway? It is a polished manicure that paints the tips of the nails white, following the natural curve of the tips, with a pink or buff nailbed. It mimics how nails normally look but give them a finished, professional appearance. The history of the franchise is a little murky. Some say it was developed for French women, some say make-up maven Max Factor developed it for Hollywood starlets. In any event, it started being seen in the 1930s and has remained popular ever since.

One of the best things about the French manicure is that it works equally well for shorter or longer nails. It isn’t one of those manicures that need longer nails for the best effect. Even women who have to keep their nails shorter can have that polished look without a lot of fuss and bother.
Another great thing about the franchise is that it can be applied at home, either with the use of a French manicure kit or without one.

The advantage of the kits is that they usually include peel-off stencils—small, narrow, curved stickers that the woman puts on top of the nail, below the base of the tip, to help her paint a lovely, curved nail tip. However, replacement stencils are available, so a woman can buy her own colors of polish and go it alone.

Here are the basic steps for a French manicure. First, clean the nails. Use a nail cleaner and get the dirt and crud from underneath the nails. Then, using a cotton swab, remove all nail polish and get into the nail crevices to get rid of all the color. File the nails to good shape, then soak the nails in warm water. Pat them dry with a cloth and push back the nail cuticles. Buff the nails — this gives the polish a better surface to adhere to.

Paint a thin coat of basecoat on the nails. Allow it to dry completely. Then, using a shell-pink or buff-color nail polish, paint the entire surface of the nails. Again, dry completely. Using slightly off-white nail polish, paint only the tips of the nails and allow to dry. Then, coat with a thin topcoat and dry again.

If the woman is using a kit, she will want to apply a basecoat first, and allow it to dry. Then, she will put the nail stencils on the nails and paint the tips and allow them to dry. She will then remove the stencils and paint the entire nail with a thin coating of the buff or pink polish. After allowing that to dry, she can then apply a coat of topcoat, including applying it to the undersides of the nail tips.

One of the keys to success for this, or any, manicure, is patience. Have the patience to work slowly and allow the polish coats to dry completely before applying more. Even if it takes the best part of an afternoon, the results will be well worth the time and effort for lovely, groomed nails — á la Francais.

One of the keys

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