25 Outside-The-Box French Manicure Ideas To Remix The Classic Look

It would be hard to find a trend in the nail industry as iconic as the French manicure. Although this look has been around for decades, it really took off in 1975 when then-beauty supplier Jeff Pink, who is now the President and CEO of Orly International, used the neutral look on movie sets to eliminate lengthy polish change times and create a style that would go with everything.

The French manicure has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last few years and is being embraced by minimalists and maximalists alike — but this isn't your mother's French manicure anymore. Nail artists have taken this iconic trend and put their own unique and individual twist to this timeless trend.

"French manicures will be barely there and very thin and natural for 2023," OPI global ambassador Harriet Westmoreland told Vogue. Celebrity manicurist Tom Bachik agreed, telling Marie Claire that this year we'll see that "French manicures are thinning the tips to just be guided edges," and that those who want to have a bit of fun with this look can "add a glitter liner." If you want to have a bit of fun with your next manicure, here are 25 outside-the-box French manicure ideas to remix the classic look.

Accent nail

Accent nails aren't just for colored polish. A classic French manicure gets a subtle yet lovely update with the addition of this delicate nail art on an accent nail. Using white polish to create the design on the natural nail keeps everything very understated while adding a touch of elegance to this pretty manicure. This is a look that would be ideal for any event where you want to add just a bit of nail art.


If you love the look of a traditional French manicure but don't love how thick the white tips are, this micro tip is a stunning option. This is also a great look for those who prefer to wear their nails short because it highlights the very tip of the nail. This look is a favorite of minimalists everywhere, as well as those who are looking for versatility in their manicures.

Gradient glitter

If you're looking for something a little more fun, why not add some glitter? This look takes a traditional French manicure and adds a bit of color and sparkle. Instead of using a pale pink base color, why not opt for something a bit brighter like this purple polish before adding a gradient glitter to the nail cuff? You can then opt for an accent nail in the same glitter polish.

French rainbow

No need to decide on just one polish color with this pretty rainbow French manicure. While you can create this look using different colored tips, this nail artist uses monochromatic shades as an outline first, putting their own spin on the double French manicure trend. Medium-length oval tips are the ideal canvas for this manicure.

Something blue

Swap the bright white polish for this lovely shade of pale blue on your next trip to the nail salon. This change is perfect for those who want something just a bit different or who feel that white tips are too stark. The addition of one small nail gem makes us think these nails would be the ideal "something blue" for a wedding.


Love the French manicure trend but don't love those minimalist vibes? You can still rock a fun and funky look with multicolored tips. Blue, green, orange, and pink stripes are painted on these tips to create a unique and vibrant look perfect for those who like a little, but not too much, color on their nails. 

Ombré tips

Ombré tips give you the same vibe as a French manicure without the clear division between the base of the nail and the tip. This can be done with any polish color, but we love how natural and soft pink polish looks. You can also add a glitter topcoat to a few accent nails for something really unique.

Spring Garden

Flowers for spring may not be groundbreaking, but they're a staple when it comes to spring nail art — and you can incorporate flowers on your nails in a variety of ways. For example, the addition of the floral trim around the French tips is a cute and clever way to combine these two trends that even Miranda Priestly would approve of.

Tips and cuffs

The French manicure is a classic look that works for any and every occasion thanks to its clean lines and neutral tones, but if you want to add a more dramatic vibe why not add a glitter cuff? Gold iridescent glitter adds the right amount of sparkle and shine, taking this look from classic to chic.

V-shaped tips

If you love to wear a stiletto or almond-shaped nail, ditch the typical rounded French tips and paint V-shaped tips instead. This look highlights your natural nail shape, elongates the nail, and gives your manicure an updated look. Add some nail art to an accent nail or two for an even more unique look.

Stripes and flowers

There are no rules when it comes to updating a modern French manicure, so why not have fun with it? Instead of a full manicure, a French tip can create a fun accent nail, especially when you experiment with color and add multiple stripes, like this manicure. Combine a few different trends with the addition of some spring floral nail art in coordinating shades for a pretty summer mani.

The double French

The double French manicure is a great way to elevate this classic trend while still keeping the same minimalist and classic feel of the original look. You may see the second line in a different color, closely lining the tip or further away from the tip and creating some negative space. This manicure keeps things soft and subtle with the addition of a second line below the micro tip.

Elevated French

Take your French manicure for a night on the town with this gorgeous interpretation. Square nails always create a different effect when it comes to a French tip, but using black glitter polish instead of white gives a dramatic effect that is complemented by the accent nail featuring silver gems.

Chrome tips

Chrome nails are an uber-hot nail trend, so it makes sense that nail artists would combine this trend with the French manicure trend to create chrome tips. Whether you choose the classic silver chrome or opt for something more colorful like this pretty pink chrome, this is one way to seriously elevate your French mani.

Swirly tips

Abstract swirl nails are another hot trend for 2023 that nail artists have used to create a different sort of French tip. There are no rules when it comes to creating swirl nails, which makes it easy to be unique. This style works on any nail shape or length, but the longer the nails, the more design you'll be able to showcase. 

Feeling blue

If the clean girly with a soft and feminine aesthetic is your thing, these are the nails for you. A pale blue squared-off micro-tip features tiny daily nail art for the ultimate spring fling manicure. These nails are perfect for everyday wear, a special event, or when you want to lift your spirits by admiring your nails.

Skinny chocolate

We don't often see earth tones used for French manicures which is a shame because as you can see by this skinny chocolate tip, they look amazing. If you want something unique to you but still like the classic styling of a French manicure, choose something different like a chocolate brown or other warm, earth tone regardless of the season.

Side tips

If you're bored with the traditional painted tip, the side tip is a great way to play with color. You can choose one solid color like a regular French manicure or change things up, as seen above. Add some extra flair with an outline in a monochromatic shade.

Pink flowers

Pink tips and floral nail art may not be for everyone, but if they're for you, you're going to want to show this design to your nail artist immediately. A long, oval tip is the perfect canvas for these gorgeous pink tips, and if you want to be just a little bit extra with your manicure, why not add some white, floral nail art and polka dots? This manicure would particularly look amazing on the beach.

Abstract French

This is one of the coolest, out-of-the-box designs we've seen! This nail artist totally reimagined the French manicure with abstract swirls instead of the traditional white tip, and we can't get enough! The best part is that no two nails are the same, and the combination of the cobalt blue polish and white outlines simply works together beautifully.

Theme French

If you love a themed nail (and who doesn't, really?), the French manicure provides a great backdrop to any seasonal or event theme you're celebrating. Check out how adorable these Easter nails are, but Easter is just one example — you can do this for any holiday or event.

Black lace

You can add a bit of texture to your manicure with the addition of nail decals and nail art. Look how stunning this black French manicure becomes with the addition of black lace nail art outlining the tip. The look is striking enough for a red carpet yet subtle enough to be worn every day.

Don't forget your toes

This trend is such a classic look for your hands, but it also makes your toes look stunning too! If you love the look of those signature white tips, ask your nail artist for a French pedicure the next time you're at the salon. Because people often don't change their toe polish as often as their fingernails, this gives you a neutral look that will go with anything.

Encapsulated tips

Encapsulated tips are when a nail tech captures florals or different colors or textures between layers of acrylic. The result is a soft, translucent look that is quite unique. This nail artist took a traditional French manicure and created two encapsulated tips with blue and green florals and gold leaf as the accent nails — just the right pop of color.

Negative space French

The French manicure is a tried-and-true mainstay for those who simply can't decide on a different color or style at the nail salon. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun with it. We love how this nail artist put their own spin on this look by painting slightly asymmetrical tips with two white underlines painted on a slight angle to give the effect of a side French. Just as classic as the OG look but with a bit more personality.