What's An American Manicure And How Is It Different Than A Classic French?

While you may associate the French manicure with many of the reemerging '90s trends we've been seeing on the beauty front, the classic style has been long adored and is not likely to leave the lead of the nail frontier anytime soon. However, there is a slight alteration of the beloved white tip manicure that is taking social media by storm: the American manicure.


If you're a nail girl who never misses an appointment at the salon for a fill or a full set — you'll surely want to remember this one for your next visit. Effortlessly simple and minimalist, the soft, ethereal American manicure has everything we love for a clean beauty look. The vibe here is definitely natural elegance and it has many over-the-moon in love. Whether you opt for long or short nails, the American manicure has the ideal undone-yet-done energy for just about any occasion. Let's take a closer look at what an American manicure is and how it's different from a classic French manicure.

The American manicure is blended

The main difference of the American manicure compared to the French is the bluntness of the tip. The American manicure has an extra soft transition from nail bed to nail tip – much like your natural nail. The French manicure, on the other hand, is known for its blunt, sharp white tip. The latter is obviously far less natural, but that is the signature look of the French mani we all know and love.


The American manicure really aims to reimagine your natural nail in an elevated manner. It's your nail upgraded. The gentle, understated look is a great alternative if the French mani is too much of a statement for your liking. "Unlike the French manicure, which is thicker and consists of more blunt tips, the American manicure has a softer, more seamless transition from a natural nude to a subtle, lighter tip," L.A. based manicurist Lisa Kon told Refinery29.

A neutral to peachy base defines the American mani

While there are a lot of similarities between the French and American manicure, you'll notice that the base of the American mani has more of a creamy, peachy hue than the French mani — which tends to be clear or pinkish. Essentially, the American manicure is your natural nail turned up a notch or two. On the other hand (no pun intended), the French is a bit more animated with its bright white, hyper-defined tip and pink base. The peachy base blends into the tip without too much distinction, which is just a dream for anyone who loves a gentle look.


The tip of the American mani is also a bit muted and soft. It aims for subtlety above all else. If you don't do your nails often and shy away from anything too showy, this could be the ideal understated manicure you've been searching for. The glossy finish is the perfect touch to give your nails a refresh.

The American mani is preferred for everyday wear

Referred to as "the ultimate clean girl aesthetic nails" by TikTok user urbanicole, the American mani is reigning supreme for its lowkey, effortless vibe. And while many will forever be devout followers of the classic French mani, it's always nice to switch it up with something a little more laidback for daily life. The American mani can add elegance to a super casual outfit or a carefree attitude to your formalwear.


Another reason the American mani is the ultimate low-maintenance nail is its easy-to-work-with outgrowth. Since the manicure is designed to mimic your natural nail, it won't be as noticeable when it begins to grow out. That means you can likely go a bit longer in between salon visits with this style. The color used for the base of your nail should be quite similar to the color of your natural nail bed. "One of the main benefits of opting for the American manicure is the imperceptible regrowth," Kon told Refinery29.

What to keep in mind at the salon

The American manicure can be done on short or long nails, with tips or without, and with longer-lasting gel or traditional nail polish. Dip powder is also totally doable for an American mani! You really have the opportunity to customize the subtleties of this easy, breezy manicure to your liking.


Typically, the American manicure tends to be shorter with rounded tips. This shape and length vibes well with the overall energy of the American manicure — in contrast with the French, which is often on the longer side. "Many manicurists will be able to achieve this look freehand by applying the base nude, then painting on the French tip in a thin shape to match the natural white tip of the nail. After this, they might add additional layers of nude base coat, building up until there is less of a clear line [to the tip]," Celebrity nail artist Jolene Brodeur told Refinery29.

A fun spin on the American mani

While the American manicure continues to be highly requested in salons around the globe, a few twists on the effortless look have come out of the woodwork. A fun, unique rendition of the American mani, these takes have the same peachy nail bed, but the tip is where the creativity is landing. From animal prints to bold colors to rainbows, we're seeing some beautiful patterns and colorful hues taking over the tips of the American manicure.


With spring right around the corner, we can't think of anything more fitting for an American manicure than some gentle lavender tips. Any pastel works beautifully for this vibe. And if we're keeping up with the seasons, consider adding an iridescent neon tip for summer, which is a great way to amp up this mani. Matte black or a deep, vampire maroon come fall is sure to make your American mani tips the most enviable of all.