(The Nail File)

This Reworked French Manicure Puts The Classic Design To Shame

Everyone’s wearing it.

Originally Published: 
Split French manicures

Ah, the French manicure. The simple design is classically chic and never fails to disappoint. While it’s true the look has been remixed and tweaked more than any other, there’s always room for a new version. The latest to enter the chat embraces contemporary elements and has a bit more edge. You’ve probably noticed split French manicures creeping onto your FYP and Instagram feed. But even with the uptick on social media, this style isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

For starters, the “split” name can mean several different things. Most often, it refers to painting just one half of the nail tip. Whether you’re applying a single sliver of polish or a full brushstroke, the key is to create a juxtaposition between the color and the bare fingernail. But the name can also allude to contrasting shades that, quite literally, split the classic French tip design in half. Semantics aside, the trend is sweeping the internet for good reason. Like the traditional style, it has range and always manages to look stunning. Even with sharp lines and matte finishes, it has an artistic feel that’s hard not to love.

There are tons of ways to sport a French manicure, but if you want a truly unique version, this is the one for you. Ahead, see the 10 best looks and bookmark your favorite for later.

Hand-Painted Hearts

Show yourself some love with this cute heart manicure. Though the motif is synonymous with Valentine’s Day, you can sport this look year-round. The cloud-like colors and classic white tips are a timeless combination. You can even mix up the nail art, adding one heart to every other nail.

Blue Sapphire

This French manicure takes the split look quite literally. With just half of the tip painted and the other half left bare, the design oozes contemporary elegance. Even the sapphire-colored polish feels sleek and cool. But the icing on the cake is the chrome finish and tiny flecks of gold foil. Together, they amp up the artsy appeal.

Nude & Black

Square extensions are making a major comeback. If you want to step outside your almond or oval nail comfort zone, this is the manicure for you. The split design and muted colors have an edgy feel. But if you’re not ready to fully commit, try a press-on version that lets you test-drive the trendy shape with zero regrets.

Snake Eyes

Neon green never looked so wicked cool. This Frenchie couples the electric hue with a simple onyx shade to create a daring design. Painting the whole nail with these bold colors might be overboard otherwise, but with a split tip, they’re the perfect pairing.

Matte Vs. Glossy

The beauty of this trend lies in its ability to create a contrasting look. Between the varying colors and angled position, it has a distinct appearance. But you can also play with the finishes to give your manicure even more edge. Take a cue from this set, which layers glossy coffee colors over a nude matte base.

Wavy French

While most of the manicures on this list feature sharp lines, this one is more of a free spirit. Instead of rigid angles, the fingernails sport a wave pattern in a bold green polish. The design may be fun, but it still requires some precision to recreate. For the best result, try drawing the shape with a thin paintbrush first. Then, fill in the tips as usual.

Shades Of Rose

There’s never been a better time to embrace a rose-colored manicure. Red is forever timeless, and a pink polish is also a solid choice. With this design, you don’t have to choose one or the other. Each shade has equal real estate and makes for a fun, colorful look. Plus, it’s a great alternative for Valentine’s Day if nail art isn’t your thing.

Emerald Dream

Angles are a quick way to give your French manicure a refresh. In this set, a deep emerald green is used to offset a creamy white polish. While the colors do a good job of catching the eye, the sharp slant adds to the effect. For the final touch, it has a distinguished silver streak.

Slanted Black Tips

Black tips might be the antithesis of the traditional design. Yet, the hue still has a striking effect, especially with just a sliver polished. To create a sharp look, opt for a licorice shade and pointy almond or stiletto nails. Then, finish them with a shiny topcoat. The result is a sleek manicure that’s also unique.

Latte Colors

The latte effect is clearly sticking around. If you’ve run through the solid manicure look with every coffee shade, this look is a nice change of pace. Like the trend, it features café-inspired colors but with a twist — the brown polishes aptly paired with an off-white tip. The final look is almost as good as the creamy beverage.

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