I Got “Naked” French Tips and My Nails Have Never Looked Better

There is nothing I love more than getting my nails done. Yes, the process itself can be tedious — I’m essentially handless for at least an hour — but the results always give me an instant serotonin boost. I used to get gel manicures every two weeks, but I switched over to CND’s Plexigel earlier this year, and it’s made a world of difference. I can now go a full four weeks in between manicure appointments, and the addition of builder gel completely got rid of my overgrown hyponychium (skin growth under the nails).

Although I can go a month without needing to get my nails re-done, I still like to opt for natural looks that will grow out easily. I stay away from dark colors (although the “cherry mocha” nail trend is very tempting), as well as trends with 3D embellishments, like “junk” nails. Recently, I learned about a trend called “naked” french tips, and I was immediately intrigued.

French manicures have been having a resurgence, and the naked french tip trend is a twist on the classic. It’s basically your nails but better. The final result is what looks like a mix of your natural nail and a diffused french manicure.

“Back in the day you used to have something called forever french nails, which were created with pink and white acrylic powder,” Vanessa Sanchez-McCullough, celebrity nail artist, tells POPSUGAR. “It’s a stark look, and people steered away from it because it was considered dated.” Naked french tips on the other hand, will give you the same clean look without being too intense or harsh. “This makes it look like a natural nail, as if you’ve got nothing but clear polish on, while still covering any imperfections,” Sanchez-McCullough says.

How to Get Naked French Tips

To try it out, I visited Sanchez-McCullough’s nail studio in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. After filing off the color I previously had on my nails and filing them into an almond shape, it was time to get to the fun part. We started out by laying down a coat of bonder, then cured it for 10 seconds. Next, Sanchez-McCullough went in and outlined the free edge of my nail using CND Plexigel in Porcelain to create a very subtle white french tip.

Naked French Tips Editor Experiment

“Porcelain’s tone and color is a very very soft white, which makes it perfect for this trend,” she says. After letting it cure, she went back in to fill in any gap areas to make sure the color was nice and full on the tip.

Then, she went over the nail with CND Plexigel in Oatmilk. Oatmilk is usually my go-to shade because it’s milky without being too opaque. “One of the great things about having a neutral color along the cuticle line is the grow out,” Sanchez-McCullough says. “When you use a natural hue like CND Oatmilk, you’re not going to see the grow out because it will blend in with the natural color of your nail.”

After the first coat, she went in with one more layer of the CND Plexigel Shaper Gel, which she said would allow her to refine the shape of my nail without removing any of the colors that she laid down. “It’s clear and it’s a very thin viscosity, so you don’t have to worry about it bulking the nail up,” she says. To finish everything off, she used the CND Plexigel Top Coat and let it cure.

The final result was genuinely the manicure of my dreams. I typically opt for sheerer colors that show the white of my nails, but not all of them are the same size or shape. This french tip gave everything uniformity, and it made it look like I had the most perfect natural nails ever. I’m obsessed with the trend and I plan on doing it over and over and over again, until I get sick of it – which I doubt will be anytime soon.

Naked French Tips Editor Experiment

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Renee Rodriguez

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