Sometimes even icons have to reinvent themselves to stay relevant – like the French manicure. While we’ve seen various manifestations, right now it’s the ‘Invisible’ French manicure and its jelly-like finish that is having a serious moment.
These days it’s rare to see the type of classic French manicure where a candy pink nail is accented with a heavy white tip. Instead, modern spins on the look are what have us in a chokehold, including skinny pastel stripes on the free edge, Autumn French nails and mirrored manicures. But now a more minimalist approach is taking seed, championed by celebrity nail artists Tom Bachik, who counts J-Lo and Selena Gomez as clients, and Julia Diogo, who was a GLAMOUR Beauty Power List 2022 judge.
As expected, an Invisible French manicure starts by laying down a neutral pink or nude base. But depending on the technique, instead of a colourful or thin white line at the tip of the nail, the trend is characterised by either a sheer finish to create a subtle arc or an outlined, but not filled in, tip.
“There is a huge moment for the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ right now and minimal nails with nude bases that suit your skin tone seem to fit right into that vibe,” says Julia. “Also once they start to grow out, they don’t tend to bother people as much because nudes are super forgiving.”
The possibilities for the invisible French are endless. A sheer shimmery tip is another option, and an ombre nail effect, favoured by Julia, is also hugely popular. Meanwhile, Tom favours a tip reminiscent of negative space.
For Hailee Steinfeld’s birthday, for example, he used a shimmering pewter hue for the nail bed before ending with a delicate white line and a clear, pointy extension. Part glitter manicure, part French manicure it was the definition of glamour.