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Twists on the Classic French Manicure

Ah, the classic French manicure--so elegant, so sophisticated, so timeless. Beautiful on nails of all lengths, the French manicure is a great escape from the traditional polished look, but is still more of a traditional style than some of the flashier airbrushed nail art that is popular. Perfect for the workplace or an evening on the town, the French manicure is lovely on its own, but there are some fun variations on it that you can use to get a whole new look.

1. Glitzy Glam - Glitter polish is a fun way to modify the French manicure. You can apply a layer of clear polish with light glitter over the entire nail, or choose a polish with very heavy glitter and apply it only to the tips.

2. The Reverse French - The reverse French manicure is one of the most common plays on the traditional look. Here, white polish is applied along the nail bed in a "U" shape and a pale pink polish is used on the rest of the nail.

3. Black Tie - You can give yourself a great get-noticed French by using white for your first color and black for the tips, or, get even bolder by using black as the primary color and white along the edges.

4. Vibrant Variants - White isn't the only color you can use for painting the tips in a French manicure. Switch things up with soft pastels, bold neons, richly saturated vibrant hues or even prints.

5. Double Take - For this version of the classic French, you replace both the tip color and the base color with coordinating shapes. One of my favorites is a petal pink base topped with a magenta tips, but you can get creative and use virtually any two shades together.

6. Awesome Ombre - Ombre nails aren't exactly a French, but to me they have a similar look. To give yourself an ombre manicure, you'll need a dense, heavy makeup sponge and polish of two colors with a lot of contrast. Pour the polishes one above the other onto paper or a plastic covering. In the center, let the colors mix together. To paint your nails, press the sponge down in the polish and then press it firmly against your nails, placing the area where the colors meet somewhere near the center. This takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you'll love this unique look.

7. A Little Bling - Diamonds are a girl's best friend, right? So why not use them as a part of your manicure? Applying rhinestones just beneath the tips will give your French some sparkle.

8. V for Vivacious - Another fun play on the French manicure is the V tip. Here, the top color is applied at a diagonal, so that it meets at the very point of the nail in a "V". This look is most attractive on a more squared-off nail shape.

9. Going Vertical - For a really dynamic look, turn your French on its side. Paint around one-fourth of your nail one color from the tip to the base and use a second color for the remainder.

10. A New Slant - In a slanted French, the dividing line between the colors is oriented at an angle and is straight rather than curved.

These are just a few of the many ways that you can improvise on the classic French manicure and give it a cool, new twist. Just remember that a gorgeous manicure always starts with good quality polish and effective base and top coats. Choose your products carefully, and keep practicing your technique to get a gorgeous French in any style.

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