(The Nail File)

How To Wear The Teeny-Tiny French Manicure Taking Over Instagram

A minimalist’s dream.

micro French manicures

Few nail designs have transcended trends like the French manicure. Sure, white tips are a certified classic menu option at salons, but the look remains popular because it can be tweaked to suit both your personal style and nail preferences, like length and shape. In the ‘90s and ‘00s in particular, the rosy pink base with thick, crisp white tips was the go-to look. Other variations over the years have included swapping out the natural color palette for an assortment of bright shades, reversing the placement of the stripe, and even adding an alluring ombré effect. The latest version to take the internet by storm is the micro French manicure.

As the name suggests, this style of French is all about the ultra-thin tip. With just a sliver of polish at the top of the fingernail, the look might not seem like a full-fledged design. However, in a sea of rhinestones, bright colors, and textural elements, this manicure is the breath of fresh air your nails might need. It’s light, clean, and instantly gives you a refined look. Despite its barely-there style, the micro French has lots of range. You can play with the colors, add strips of glitter, or even use the border to frame a tiny decal — the world is your oyster. Whether you choose to go bold or soft and subtle, you can’t go wrong.

Ahead, the best micro French manicures to pop into your rotation.

Cherries & Cream

Spring is just around the corner. With that in mind, you’ve probably bookmarked a few fresh colors and looks to try. These cherries and cream nails are the ultimate show stopper to wear now and straight into the new season. The red strip is the perfect minimalist design, framing the delicate cherry stems.

Sequin Strips

There’s no better way to jazz up a manicure than with some sparkle. While full-on glitter can sometimes be intimidating, a single strip of shimmer does the trick nicely. Try using a dark-colored polish with flecks of silver on a bare base to make the look stand out. Then, paint a line across the top of the nail and along the sides.

Angled Pastels

You may have noticed an uptick in angled French tips on your FYP. As one of the latest trends, the design works any nail length, shape, and polish shade. This set features short slashes of pastels that split the tip in two. Not only is it a swoon-worthy look, but it’s very fitting for spring.

Vampy Colors

If neutral tones aren’t your cup of tea, you can still test-drive the micro trend. Unlike most of the looks on this list, this set embraces dark and moody colors. Instead of a nude base and bright strip, it uses burgundy and black for a vampy feel. The combination is as classic as the design and works on any nail shape. For a witchy twist, try it with long extensions with a squared-off tip.

Yin & Yang

Minimalist nail designs are showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. The barely-there aesthetic has a timeless feel that’s hard to ignore. This set features an artsy mix of teeny-tiny symmetrical bars. However, instead of a single color, it has black and white shades. Against the nude nail, it has just enough contrast to really pop.


Who says you have to pick just one of the French manicure's many variations? This version combines the invisible and micro trend for a whole new look. Even better? It’s DIY-friendly. Simply select your polish color and draw a razor-sharp line at the base of your natural nail’s tip.

Lemon Slices

Light lemon shades are one of the top color trends for spring and summer. With this micro manicure, you can lean into the hue without going overboard. The key to making this look work is focusing on the details. Groom your cuticles and file your nails down to a round shape, then add nude polish and a yellow tip. For a fun twist, try painting an actual lemon slice on one nail.

Mirrored Design

This design puts a fun spin on the micro tip trend by adding a matching strip at the bottom of the nail. Together they create a quirky yet stylish pattern. You can use any color of polish, but a soft hue adds to the airy feel. Light sage, mint, or creamy pistachio are all great options to recreate this look.

Reverse Micro French

If you prefer longer nails, try opting for a reverse French design. Instead of focusing on the tip, this variation uses a slim strip to highlight the base of the nail. It’s a great option for extensions and works well with any lengthy shape. Whether you choose a sharp stiletto or a natural almond shape, there’s no denying the sleek appeal of this simple style.

Classic Colors

A spectrum of varying hues is nice for a fresh spin on a steple design, but there will always be a special place for the classic colors. This set uses a softer version to deliver a more natural appearance. On short, round nails it has an elegant look. It’s even easy to DIY at home.