The Micro French Manicure Trend Is A Minimalist's Dream

Prepare to see these nails everywhere.

If it’s been a minute since you last had a French manicure, the time has come to whip out of your white polish once and decorate those fingertips. The early 2000s-era nail look has been a breakout mani trend for a couple of years now, and now, it’s all about going micro with the design.

The micro French manicure is an understated, subtle take on the classic French, explains Rachel Apfel Glass, the founder of Glosslab. “The trend is perfectly minimalist and offers a fun twist on the usual French for those who want to keep things simpler.”

Instead of going for thick, white tips, the micro French features a much skinnier line of polish on the ends of your fingertips. Mariz "Reece" Gutierrez, founder of nail salon Holy Chic + Co, notes that the mani can be altered to fit in with a really wide variety of aesthetics — and it’s easy to DIY.

To get the look at home, use a really thin nail brush to draw a line on your tips. “This gives you the most control over how micro your French tip really gets,” Gutierrez tells Bustle. “Some people even go for a tip that's barely even visible unless you're really looking.” If that’s too tricky, pour out a blob of polish on a flat surface and lightly dip your nails in it. No matter what, nail polish remover is your friend. “With any approach, you can always go back in with some nail polish remover to make your lines super straight and clean,” she says.

Keep scrolling for some super chic micro French manicures to inspire your next design.



“You can never go wrong with the classic sheer base and white tip,” Apfel Glass says. It works on both short and long nails, and is a good choice when you want to keep things basic — in a good way. When creating the look at home, she recommends using a sheer glossy pink for the base and an opaque white polish for the tip.


Skittles Tips

Apfel Glass also loves painting each nail tip a different color. It adds some interest, gives you room to be indecisive, and allows you to match your mani to the season. Go for a range of pastel hues in spring, neons in summer, and warmer colors in fall.



“Choosing a color gradient allows you to make your micro French really unique,” Gutierrez says. For example, you could start with a dark green on one finger, then move up a shade on each nail until you reach a pastel green on your last finger. “When people notice, it's like a cute little surprise,” she says.


Double Micro French

Combine two nail art trends into one with a double micro French manicure. Simply paint two super thin colorful lines on a sheer base for a look that’s twice as cool.



Apfel Glass also suggests painting black tips on your micro French manicure for a goth-chic take on the trend. “It's a reverse of the classic and is just very sleek and elevated looking,” Gutierrez adds.



For less contrast, go for a neutral micro French mani with a darker base color instead of pastel pink, and an earth-tone tip. “Whether it's cream, brown, or even a soft gray or peach, a neutral micro French is really warm and inviting, and it puts a more sophisticated spin on a minimal look while still keeping things serene,” Gutierrez says.



According to Juli Russell, a DIY nail expert for Sally Beauty, adding a shiny finish to your tips is super easy with a touch of glittery nail polish. Opt for anything from sparkly silver to dazzling fuchsia.



Chrome nails are everywhere and are a fantastic fit for the micro French manicure. Whatever color you go with for the tips, the metallic finish will look gorgeous against the natural subtlety of the micro French look itself, says Gutierrez.



Russell says the simplicity of this manicure trend serves as the perfect backdrop for stickers, shapes, and even rhinestones. Think gems, butterfly stickers, fruit decals, peace signs — your nail bed is your oyster.


Artsy Accents

If you’re feeling artsy, you could hand-paint a small design on an accent nail or ask for it at your next manicure. Go for a cute heart, a smattering of dots, rainbows, stars, or whatever else catches your eye.


Blue Tips

Bold blue nail polish always looks cool, especially with a micro French mani. If you’re feeling funky, you could even reverse the colors and do blue as the base with a neutral tone tip.



Who doesn’t love a neon nail? When in doubt, ask for a bright yellow, orange, pink, or green to draw some attention to the micro-ness of your French manicure.


Pointed Tips

When it comes to French manis, you have the freedom to play around with the length and shape of your tips. The micro looks amazing on short, rounded nails, Russell says, since the thin, barely-there edge of color acts as an enhancement — and it also plays up a pointy stiletto tip. “The micro French mirrors how your nails naturally grow your-nails-but-better look,” she tells Bustle.


Square Tips

A micro French can also show off a square nail, thanks to the way the thin line traces and highlights the sharper angles. Go for a darker color on your tips, like black or blue, to really make your manicure pop.


Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of GLOSSLAB

Mariz "Reece" Gutierrez, nail entrepreneur, founder of the nail salon Holy Chic + Co

Juli Russell, DIY nail expert for Sally Beauty