Friday, April 11, 2008

Simple and Classic

I'm a huge fan of the UK pop band, Girls Aloud. I have a soft spot in my heart for British singers in general...Spice Girls, Beatles, Keane, Coldplay, Leona Lewis, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Artic Monkeys, Westlife... What can I say? As someone who was classically trained in singing, I just like the way their music sounds and the way they sing. It's more "proper" to my ears (anyone who's taken singing lessons knows what I'm talking about, right?).

Anyway, the girls of Girls Aloud are a pretty big fan of having french manicures on their tips. In the earlier days it was really obvious and had that really blatant fake look. However, in this picture, while all the girls are sporting french manicures, it looks really simple, clean and fresh:
L-R: Sarah Harding, Kimberley Walsh, Cheryl Tweedy-Cole, Nicola Roberts. Not pictured: Nadine Coyle, but she probably would have been sporting french tips too.

The french manicure is a timeless look. Lately it's gotten a lot of flack because it seems like everyone and their mothers sport fake french nails, the ones with very white and very rectangular tips. However, technology has improved, and this applies to nails as well. It's most likely that the nails the girls are sporting are fake, but you can see that it still looks pretty natural. There are different sorts of fake nails now that can look a lot more natural than the thick, cartoony acrylic french tip ones.

If you want to try doing your own french nails, there are lots of different tips and tricks. One of the easiest things for beginners are those french manicure strips you can get at any store that sells nail polish. Another way is freehanding. This can be very difficult, but there are definitely ways to accomplish this without making it look like your white polish exploded on you.

For both ways, the white tip is applied first, and then a sheerer color is applied over it as the base color. Note though that if you're using the french guides, the opposite is true (base applied first, then use the stickers for the tips). One way is to carefully trace the natural tip outline of your nail where it grows out and then correcting any mistakes with a qtip and nail polish remover or a correcting pen. Another way is to be sloppy and paint the white tip unevenly, and then use a small brush (it doesn't have to be a specific brush, I know people who use old paintbrushes) dipped in remover to form the outline. The second way is more preferred by beginners but the former is more suited to perfectionists and experts, I think. The only drawback of the second way, though it sounds faster and easier, is that if you're in too much of a rush then all your outlines may be different, as opposed to tracing your natural outlines.

There are also some great instructional videos on Youtube that you can look at for inspiration. When done right, the french manicure can look natural and perfect.

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