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The French Manicure Reinvented: Mani Monday

As much as we love nail art, we’re better at admiring designs than coming up with them ourselves. That’s why we’ve enlisted Anna Norman, the smarty pants behind Glitter, She Wrote, to be a regular contributor. Every Monday, she’ll be sharing her latest lacquer inspiration—you won’t be satisfied with plain ol’ polish again.

French manicures have been a nail salon staple for ages. The traditional pink and white look isn’t quite a fashion faux-pas, but it can still feel pretty dated, especially for the style-minded gal. Here are a few ways to pay homage to the classic design while adding a fun, modern twist.

Saturated Statement Colors: There’s nothing stuffy about a French mani in edgy, on-trend shades. You can use a circular reinforcement sticker to create a perfect line, but I like to go freehand. For better control, try creating several short vertical lines across the tip of the nail rather than one long horizontal stroke. I turned to the Fall 2012 Pantone Color Report for seasonal inspiration, settling on two coats of Kure Bazaar Afrika with a cobalt blue tip in Nails Inc. Baker Street.

Seeing Spots: For a whimsical look, dip the end of a paper clip, Q-tip, or dotting tool in polish to create a line of polka dots across the tip of each nail. This works well on short ones like mine since the look doesn’t require much of a nail tip.

Glossy vs. Matte: Have you tried a matte top coat yet? If not, run, don’t walk! Try Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Flatline or Essie Matte About You to give any polish a matte finish in an instant. For this subdued yet unexpected French, I added a matte top coat to the bottom portion of my polished nail, leaving the tip glossy to create a contrasting finish.

Chevron French: Painting chevron stripes onto the tip of each nail is an on-trend way to jazz up this traditional mani. I began with Cult Nails Mazo, a light nude with gold shimmer. Starting with my lightest purple polish, I made two angled lines to create an upside-down ‘V’ shape at the tip of my nail. I continued with two additional polishes until I was happy with this modern take on a classic.

Don’t miss Anna’s other creative and fun must-try manis. Check out the rest of her nail tutorials here.

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