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How to: French Tip Nail (for beginners)

By 9:15 PM

At this point I have been doing my nails since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, at which point, I used to do their nails.  You haven't lived until you've seen a T-Rex with some lace nail art.  I might be exaggerating a little.  My point is that I really don't think much of what I do, it's easy for me.

However, I get asked all the time by people how to do these things.  I decided I would attempt to make a post on how to do a simple nail look.  If you do your own nails all the time, this will be of no help to you.  If you're a nail art newb, this is for you.

I will apologize for the bad lighting, all the pictures were taken in the bathroom, with my camera phone.  I may have to redo the pics at a later date.

I started by oiling my nails after removing my nail polish.  I let that soak into my nails for about an hour before washing my hands.  Before you paint your nails, you want clean, dry nails.  If you have issues with your nail polish just peeling off, it may be because there is oil or lotion on your nails.

Nails Inc
About a year ago I was having trouble with my nails peeling.  That is something I have never experienced.  I switched to the Nails Inc NailKale Superfood Base Coat, which was an uncomfortable $15.00.  However, it is a large size and it really did help, so I would definitely buy it again when I run out.

I recently cut down all my nails because I broke one.  When I was in high school, one of my friends, Alicia, said to our other friend, "Don't her nails look amazing?  They look like fake nails."  My nails were long, but Jen told her that they didn't look like fake nails because they were uneven.  So, now I try to keep them fairly even.  

Apply your favorite nail base.  This is an important step and I recommend having a good nail base that suits your nail needs.



While you're waiting for that to dry, take a good look at your nails.  There is a reddish line in your nail.  That's where we aim for a French tip.  If you go under this line, that's where you get light showing under the line.  It will also make your nails look shorter.  The higher up you go on this line, the longer your nail will look.  

However, you need to take your nail bed into consideration.  If you have a deep nail bed, you can go deeper and give the illusion of a long nail.  If you have a shallow nail bed, going too far into the red may make your nails look stubby.  It is completely up to your personal preference there.


Take a white nail polish and paint a stripe from your starting point in the red to the tip of your nail.  As you can see, I went deep into the red to give an illusion of a longer nail.  I used the first white I grabbed, but my favorite to use is OPI Arctic White.  You want use thin, even strokes.  If you go thick, it will take longer to dry and may bubble.  You don't want bubbles in your nails.


From one side of the stripe you made, make another line from the red to the tip of your nail.  You can adjust this angle for how you like your tip shape.  You could go straight, a slightly rounded shape, etc.


Repeat this on the other side of the nail.  This polish is a little streaky, but that can be solved with another coat when the nail polish is almost dry.  You want to let the nails almost dry to fully dry between coats, because this also prevents bubbles.  


Repeat these steps on all your nails.  After you finish all your nails would be the best time to go back in with that second coat.  Don't worry about any polish on your fingers.  That stuff peels off in the shower.  

You can leave it as simple as this.  I like French tips with natural beds.  When I was married I used a shimmery sheer pink over my whole nail and then did silver tips.  It was freaking pretty.  You can also take a nail striper over the top of the high part of the painted tip.  Hold the tip of the brush at one side and roll your nail to the side.  It can be used to hide a choppy start or for a pretty finished look.

I am waiting for some nail tape, so I wanted something very simple, in case I needed to do my nails when it arrives.  You never want to take off nails you worked hard on.  I also wanted to do something because the Broncos are going to the Super Bowl.  United in Orange (white) you know?  Funny thing is that I learned to watch football (American) when I lived in Texas.  I think not watching football is a hanging offense there.  It's every where!

So, I wanted something with orange, but I don't look good in orange, so this is what I did.


I don't use orange a lot, so I used Formula X Flashy, which is described as a bright red.  It's not.  It's totally orange.  The formula is very sheer, so that's one reason I applied it over a white base.  For the blue I used the Formula X Turbulent, which makes most people think it is splatter paint.  Mine are the minis from a large set Sephora sold when it first started selling Formula X.  


I prefer OPI polishes, but that set does come in handy when I want colors that I don't normally use.  


When the nails are close to dry, I apply a top coat.  My favorite is Seche Vite.  This stuff helps my nails dry fast so I can move on to other things.  If you're using a bright color (like that orange) or you have nail art, you want to wait until it's nearly dry, get a good amount on the brush and bring it down your nails so the polish not the brush touches your nail to avoid smearing the color or art.  Seche Vite does have the issue of getting gummy at the end and it's rare that I can use the whole bottle before this happens.

I will try to fix the pictures on a day when I can get better light.  If you liked this, please let me know.  I would love to do more with nail stuff, but I went extremely simple for my first effort at this.

*I bought all my own nail polishes.  No one asked me to try their polish, supplied me with polish, or held me down and made me use their polish.

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