We're Calling It: This Elegant Nail Trend Will Be Everywhere This Season
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a maximalist beauty moment, but sometimes the tiniest accents make the biggest splash. It's why so many are drawn to subtler skin scents over high-impact perfumes these days—their undetectability somehow feels even more alluring. The same goes for nail trends: Rather than opting for mile-long nail extensions and megawatt embellishments, just a small stripe of polish can provide a sleek, chic addition to your holiday party ensemble.
But don't just take my word for it. The micro French mani is having a major moment right now, and the hype is only expected to grow in 2023: According to Pinterest's annual trend report, searches for "micro french nails" are up 235%. Below, you can learn how to master this universally flattering look—and make it your own.
What is a micro French mani?
Imagine your classic French manicure, but instead of painting the entire tip, you trace just a teeny-tiny line. Et voilà: the micro French. "The thin line imparts an elegant and delicate look, making it ideal for the holidays," says editorial manicurist Jin Soon Choi, founder of JINSoon. Not to mention, it complements every single nail shape, outfit, and season—simply switch up your base and tip colors to match whatever style you desire.
"It's not overpowering, especially if you are wearing a fun, over-the-top, [holiday] themed outfit," adds Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of GLOSSLAB. "You can rock a bright red or emerald green without looking like 'too much.'" I'm personally clad in head-to-toe glam as soon as December 1 rolls around (and firmly believe you can never have enough glitter), but for all my minimalists out there, this is a versatile style you can make as subtle as you please. It's also arguably one of the easiest nail art designs to master at home—promise!
An easy how-to.
This might just become your go-to style, for this holiday season and beyond.
- Prep the nails: No mani is complete without proper nail prep. To ensure an elevated finish, prioritize shaping and filing the nails, cleaning the nail plate, and moisturizing the cuticles. See here for our full, step-by-step instructions, if you'd like to go into more detail.
- Lay your base: "Always start with a strong base coat," says Glass. You could go the classic French mani route with a sheer shade of white or pale pink, or choose any other polish that strikes your fancy.
- Choose your color: Again, there are plenty of ways to get creative here. "My favorite micro French manicure is a sheer white base with a black tip," says Choi, with JINsoon Dew and JINsoon Absolute Black. "It's a strong contrast without being overbearing because the micro French line is so thin and the base is such a subtle shade." Or if you'd like a pop of color, try a candy apple shade, like Glosslab's OG Deep Red—perfect for the holidays. "The variations are endless by experimenting with different tip or base colors," Choi adds.
- Draw your line: Next, apply a thin strip of color at the tip of your nails. You can use either a striping brush (here's a set from Amazon) or the actual nail polish brush to create your thin line. It might be helpful to paint a slightly curved line at the end of the nail tips first before filling in the rest, says Choi. You may also have to layer on a couple of coats to make sure the color stands out.
- Finish with a top coat: Finally, use a top coat to seal in the French tip and secure a patent leather finish. Feel free to touch up with top coat every few days (a helpful pro tip to make the lacquer last longer).
If you’re looking for an easy, chic way to play up your nail art game, try this unique spin on the classic French manicure. It’s low-lift, stunningly chic, and flatters every single nail shape—I'd call that a major win.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.