How To: My First Do-It-Yourself French Manicure – Be Nice!

Hey Everyone,

The french manicure will always be a classic. It’s clean, sophisticated and matches pretty much every outfit but it can be pretty pricey at your local nail salon – they usually add ten to fifteen dollars extra on top of your classic manicure bill. So hey, why not do it yourself? Today I’m going to show you my first attempt at a french manicure, free hand. I’m warning you, I haven’t done nail school so don’t laugh if things get crooked but hey, practice makes perfect. Plus, if my nails look yellow, it’s because I decided to do this at 1 in the morning under my yellow desk lamp. Whoops! Let’s go!

Here are the tools of the trade! I got this Rimmel French Manicure paints from Priceline on sale but really, any white cream nail polish and sheer skin color polish will do. Don’t forget your base and top coats too!

Here are my bare nails – un-cut, un-filed, un-squared. Pretty boring

The first thing you have to do is cut and square them. Refer to my How To Paint Your Nail Post for full details on how I do this. Basically, I cut my nails straight across and then I use a 4 way buffer (best thing ever) to file across and then a little bit on the edge to keep the square shape.

I then continue with the rest of the steps on the buffer for gleaming nails.

It’s always important to add a base coat because this prevents your nails from getting nail polish stains especially from dark tone nail polishes. I’m using the Sally Hansen Base & Top Coat!

Overall, it’s like putting a face primer before your foundation.

All good to go for the paint!

Apply your first layer first of the French Ivory Rimmel Paint or whatever nail polish you have chosen

You then get the classic white milky finish

Then, it’s time for the hard part. Apply your strip of white to the tops of your nails. Of course there are actually tons of ways to do this. You could go out and buy the manicare tapes which I have done before. Make sure the nail polish is extremely dry before you take the tape off or you could be too cool for school like me and do it free-hand. Now the the trick to this is to put one finger on the table top and then alight your brush to the side so that it is parallel to the edge of your nail. Then sweep from left to right towards you. This is the quickest, no mess way. Painting it with the tip of the brush facing the nail does not work by the way. It will create an uneven line. The trick is to sweep from left to right in one motion.

Then apply your top coat and you are finished! Not bad for my very first time doing it freehand right?

Hope you liked this post!

Do you have any nail tips to share?

P.S: You don’t have to sign in to anything to leave a comment anymore! I’d love to hear back from you!



  • Jae

    Looks good!! I was thinking of doing blue french tips tomorrow ~

    • roseannetangrs (author)

      Thanks hun! That sounds exciting!

  • Julie

    Nice job on your very first try πŸ™‚
    For my French polish manicures, I prefer not to have the milky base coat. I just brush the base coat on the tips of my nail (where the white polish will be) and use a flat round brush and nail polish remover to fix up the white polish and shape it to my liking.
    I also like to just put a top coat on where the white tips are and leave the rest of my nail polish free. I find that it lasts longer, as you don’t have polish lifting up/off near your cuticles due to wear&tear or nail growth.

    • roseannetangrs (author)

      Thanks Julie!! and Thanks for the tips as well and that’s a smart tip with just covering the white part! πŸ™‚

  • Grace

    it’s amazing that you can do it free-hand!! Especially when you’re doing it on yourself! Even people in the salon have to wipe the uneven edges away by using nail polish remover afterwards!

    • roseannetangrs (author)

      Thanks dear! the trick is to sweep left to right! πŸ˜€

    • Yumi

      Well if you went into a nail salon, you wouldn’t want them to do it ‘free hand’ when you’re paying for it, you’d expect a prefect job πŸ™‚
      Plus, by using brushes to reshape the white part, you get a nicer and cleaner curve.

      • roseannetangrs (author)

        True! thanks for the tip hun!

  • aDe

    good job on ur first try~!
    Usually, i skip the base coat.
    1) Paint the white tips
    2) Reshape the white tips, using a cottonbud soaked with nailpolishremover.
    3) Paint 2-3 coats of nude/milky polish over the whole nail
    4) Paint the white tips again, following the contour of the earlier shaped.
    5) Top coat.!/photo.php?fbid=10150362380228083&set=a.338660693082.192678.691653082&type=3&theater

    • roseannetangrs (author)

      thanks hun and thank you for your mini tutorial as well, good to see how you do it πŸ™‚

  • Claudia

    I tried to do french manicure myself too. I bought the manicure stickers to do it. Quite tedious. Haha.

    • roseannetangrs (author)

      yep it is quite tedious!

  • palmade

    I am often to blogging and i really recognize your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for brand new information.

    • roseannetangrs (author)


  • Courtney

    It looks great! Considering it’s only your first try! I have failed so many times. I use the sticky tape method to create a more neater line. Which I tend to fail at anyways..haha

    • roseannetangrs (author)

      thanks! practice does make perfect πŸ™‚

  • Body Reviews

    Thanks a lot for expending both time and knowledge to post this information. This information continues to be particularly useful for me individually.

    • roseannetangrs (author)

      my pleasure! do spread the word πŸ™‚

  • hairsetters

    i love opi do you lilac it!

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