Textured French Manicures Are Here To Upgrade Your Nails

Getting your nails done brings a certain kind of decision fatigue with it. Picture this: You're at the salon. You've picked a brightly-colored, intricate set from your Pinterest as nail inspo, and you've even decided what length you want them to be. All is set, except suddenly, you chicken out and get a simple set of classic French tips instead. Sound familiar? Yeah, we've been there. 

There's a reason French manicures have remained so relevant, and it's not just because they are convenient — they're also appropriate for everything. However, there is such a thing as too much French, and if you need an upgrade, we have the perfect one. 

Meet textured French tips, a manicure that combines the classic French tip with 3D texture. Unlike other 3D nail designs like floral chrome nails or embossed crocodile nails, textured French manicures restrict the raised 3D portion to just the tip of the nails, creating a slightly deconstructed mosaic of swirls on the nails for extra character. The secret to textured French manicures is builder gel, or hard gel as some call it, which is a type of gel polish that is a lot thicker and thus pliable enough to mold into shapes you want, including 3D swirls on your French tips. Love this idea? Well, here are eight ways to switch up your bare French manicure without risking a moment of indecision at the nail salon. 

Textured beige

We understand the appeal of a white French manicure — we really do. But this time, we're gunning for you to make a change, starting with color. Textured French manicures are a fantastic way to stay minimalist with extra character, and they're also a great avenue to step out of your comfort zone. If you need a soft landing pad, try 3D pastels or neutrals for a subtle change to your French set.

Waterside nails

Speaking of stepping out of your comfort zone, do you have any vacation plans? If your dream destinations are anything like our beach-filled list, we recommend a textured French manicure with bright or iridescent pastels for a fun-filled waterside holiday nail set inspired by the most relaxing of resort vacays.

Classic white... again

While a change would be nice, sticking to your choice of white tips isn't such a bad thing, as there are so many ways to reinvent the set, even with such a generic color. You can try textured white Frenchies with long oval nails for a work-appropriate look, with pointy stilettos if you dare, or with lipstick-shaped nails for unconventionality.

Textured ombre

One of our favorite things about getting our nails done is how we get to mix several nail ideas, colors, and techniques to make a set even more stunning than our last — textured ombre French tips are a great way to do this. To achieve the look, make a gradient with similar colors on different French tips before applying your swirls of builder gel, like lavender and purple on the same tip, with some lemon and green on another.

Blueberry milk nails

From Zendaya to Dua Lipa, blueberry milk nails had a huge moment this year for being the minimalist's perfect manicure. But if you find them a bit too plain, some texture will do you good. After making your French tips in your favorite shade of baby or powdery blue, make swirls with builder gel on top to add more character to your set.

French grays

While a moody color like gray is not high on our list of nail colors to go for, we do recognize how versatile it can be for several aesthetics and occasions, whether it's the clean girl or the emo girl. Give the gray a chance today by incorporating the color into your French tips and adding swirls of builder gel on them right after. 

Meltin' off

So far, we've seen patterns and color variations of the 3D swirls, but there is another way to do the textured French, and it's a bit sloppy. Melt-off Frenchies create the illusion of the polish at the tips melting into the neutral base of your nails, and it makes for a very interesting set. You can do this with metallic polish colors like gold or silver or pastels for an ice cream falling-off-the-cone look.

Crystal clear

Gray, blue, pastels, and metallic shades — it's an endless list! If you struggle with decision fatigue at the salon, take color out of the equation and try clear nails with the 3D swirls on the tips. These nails are made with regular acrylic powder at the nail base and builder gel for the clear nail effect.