In the USA, French manicures are simpler but all the more colorful. A star manicurist reveals how to do it.
Pale pink nails with white arches on the tips have long been known as French manicures. After the classic look fell out of favor for a short time, it has now experienced a revival, and nail artists have begun to spice it up with patterns, bright colors, and creative color schemes. In the world of nail art, these original variants now have a new name: the American manicure.
Well, I'm taking that back. The name isn't exactly new, but it has got a new definition. Manicurist Tom Bachik first heard about American manicure in the 1990s after graduating from Nail School (today he can be seen dressing the tips of Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, and Olivia Rodrigo decorated). Back then, American manicure was basically a French manicure, where the tips were painted a less intense white with a more natural, skin-tone-flattering foundation. "A great way to achieve this was to paint the white first and then apply the neutral shade all over the nail, including the white," recalls Bachik. "That made the look softer."
It was also around that time that Bachik heard people refer to monochrome French manicures as American manicures. For example baby blue nails with navy blue tips. In both cases, he believed the term was a marketing tactic in the 1990s. However, with new nail art trends popping up every day in 2021 thanks to social media, the term "American manicure" makes perfect sense for alternative variants of the classic French manicure.
Nowadays more subtle tones are used in American manicures, explains nail artist Lolly Koon to "Allure". A clear, natural-colored primer - or simply a clear varnish - is applied to look more like the actual nail. This change also flatters the individual complexion in a more inconspicuous way than the flashy pink of traditional French manicures, explains Bachik.
For the tips of the nails, manicure experts often choose a creamy, off-white varnish for the latest American variants. Bachik recently embellished Kate Hudson's nails for the 2021 Met Gala (as seen above) and J.Lo for a fashion event in Venice, Italy with this look.
But colorful tips in the style of French manicure can also be considered American manicures, says Koon. Bachik even notes that this is the most popular way to do an American manicure these days - and the trend is set to become even more prominent this fall. "People can personalize this look with their favorite colors - all the tips can be one color or each fingertip can be a different color," he adds.
Sacramento-based Icey Milli, also a nail artist, shares Bachik's opinion, adding, "If we were fortune tellers, we'd predict this look would become even more popular in the fall of 2021. I can well imagine manicurists with warm Color palettes get creative".
Although Icey Milli specializes in acrylic, she says that American manicure is more popular with those who want to keep their nails in their natural state. However, the look works with any length.
Bachik's preferred approach to American manicure is to finish the tips first. Usually, he envisions an imaginary line down the center of the nail. Then he creates with the lacquer color of his choice - we love "O2M No. 601" from Inglot if you prefer the soft white variant - starting from the middle, arches on both sides of this line. He charmingly describes it as a "smile".
After all of the arches are done, Bachik perfects them by shaping and cleaning them with a thin eyeliner brush soaked in nail polish remover. "Rotate your hand so your nails are up and facing you as you clean the smile line," he recommends. "This will help you with your imaginary line down the middle so that both sides are the same."
Next, Bachik wears a clear base coat, e.g. B. Yves Saint Laurent's "La Laque Couture Base Coat" on the entire nail to smooth the edges of the American tips. Then the entire nail is painted with a simple, natural color and a top coat is applied. Try the Manucurist nail polish in nude or the "Essie Gel-Setter" topcoat, which has been awarded the Best of Beauty Award.