The Monochrome French Manicure Is A Fun Twist On The Nail Classic

In the words of Lizzo, "All the rumors are true": The French manicure is the gift that keeps on giving, generating more and more versions of itself to keep us going to the nail salon. All of these versions go right onto our nail inspo boards without fail, of course, but what is the latest iteration of the French, you might ask? It's none other than monochrome realness.

Monochrome French manicures are the chic yet funky and playful take on the classic trend. As you can imagine, the trend consists of picking two similar yet distinct shades of one color — one for the base of the nail and the other for the tips. And it looks stunning. Alternatively, you can also paint your nails one solid color before going in with two different top coats — one glossy and one matte — to differentiate the body from the tip. This one is definitely more subtle, but so satisfying to look at. There's seemingly endless inspo out there, so we gathered the best of the best so you can, well, look your best next time you leave the salon.

Glitter galore

When in doubt, make glitter rain on your nail tips. Your life will be all sparkle all the time, and a monochrome French design is the perfect way to make your life glimmer. Luckily, there are a few ways to get this look. For a simplified version, start with your preferred glitter nail polish for the base, covering root to tip. After this dries down, take the same nail polish and draw a regular French tip, with a twist. When painting the tip, use horizontal brush strokes instead of vertical to create contrast.

Gradient monochrome

If you're not a big fan of one-tone French manicures, you might be better suited to this gradient alternative. While still maintaining the allure and subtlety of a monochrome design, it gives you some dimension and space to play around. The idea here is to create a gradient on the nail — brown to milky gray, for example — and repeat this gradient for the tip in reverse order (milky gray to brown). This way, there's a clear distinction between body and tip while the look remains decidedly monochrome. Neat trick? We think so, too.

Glossy matte

Glossy matte is an oxymoron, we know. But we promise it's legit and well on its way to becoming one of your favorite looks, as this one-tone French manicure is the definition of sleek and classy. To get the look, simply pick your nail color — the darker, the starker the contrast between body and tip — and do as many coats as needed for an opaque base. Then, cure the nail with a matte top coat, over which you'll draw your French tip with an extra-glossy top coat. Make the tip as thick or thin as you want.

Negative space action

You don't need to stick to one-shade designs for monochrome French nails. You can play around and add touches of glitter or bright colors to enhance and complement your mani. For instance, you can choose a base color — rose gold or bronze are our recommendations — and coat the full nail with it. After that, you can start creating a French tip outline with a different shade or glitter and play with the negative space. This way, both the base and tip are the same shade, but you're still getting the fun of a second color.


There's something uniquely satisfying about a crisp, white manicure. It's almost like wearing a magnified version of your own nails. Thankfully, the monochrome French manicure is perfect for all-white nail lovers.

There are two ways to achieve a beautiful monochrome white French manicure. Either pick two distinct shades of white (egg-shell and off-white, for instance), one for the base and one for the tips, or — our personal favorite way — create an ombré white French design and finish with a coat of white chrome. It's ultra-white and sparkly, just how we like it.

Pink on pink

We could never forget to include a little something for our pink lovers. If your favorite color is pink, odds are you rarely deviate from a pink manicure — hot pinks or pastel ones, we don't discriminate. Good thing you can always combine the two for a dreamy French manicure that is unapologetically feminine. For this look, we suggest choosing two distinct shades of pink. A softer shade of baby pink works best as a base and allows your (preferably hot pink) tips to stand out. Two shades of pastel pink also work if you're going for subtlety.