How to Paint French Tip Nails without Guide Strips

We’ve all been painting our nails since the grade school slumber party days, but a good French manicure is one nail trick that seems almost impossible to master at home.

Yes, nail art is still a popular trend, but a back-to-basics look is just as stunning. If you too are addicted to sleek and chic French-manicured nails — that can end up costing you with monthly touch-ups at the salon — then you’re in for a treat.

how to do a french manicure without guide strips
how to do a french manicure without guide strips | Credit: cutepolish

Follow the Tutorial

Remove the Old Nail Polish

First, wash hands and remove old nail polish with an acetone-free polish remover if you have a light shade or an acetone remover for darker shades (acetones can be drying to the nails). Use an orangewood stick with the end covered in cotton and dipped in nail polish remover for the edges if needed.

Clip Your Nails

The trendy nail shape of the moment is a “squoval” meaning not square nor oval. Long, squared nails that look fake can be tacky and super square nails can look dated.

To get the perfect squoval, clip your nails straight across. Grab a file and file in one direction so the corners are slightly rounded.

If you get your nails professionally done, you’ll notice how much prep work goes in before the paint goes on.

With a little practice, you’ll be doing this easy at-home French mani in your sleep:

Start off with a base coat on the tips of the nail to protect your natural nails. You’ll see why we only apply to the tip.
how to do a french manicure without guide strips
Apply base coat on the tips
Using a white polish, apply it to the tip only, it’s okay if it’s a little messy.
Now, grab a flat brush and a polish remover, you’re going to create a curve for the french tip.
French tip manicure
Use a flat brush

When doing the french tip just carefully slide the brush to remove the polish. This is best done, right after you applied the white nail polish to the tip since the polish is still wet.

If needed, just the brush again to the remover to grab a little bit more just in case the brush starts to dry out.

You can also use a thin brush and white polish to get into the edges of your nails more if you need to. And of course you can clean up any excess on the skin with the remover and brush.
French Tip Manicure
Use a thin brush
Next, you can use a natural sheer polish and apply it over the entire nail. Finish off with a fast drying top coat to seal in your manicure and add a beautiful shine.
How to do french manicure without strips
finish off with fast drying top coat

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Credit: cutepolish