How to Do Short French Tip Nails

French tips are one of the oldest manicures but are still in demand because of their minimalist yet classy look. They look stunning both on long and short nails. The only challenge with short nails, however, is that the application is a little bit more difficult than with long nails because you’ll have limited space to paint.

No need to worry because we’ve got you covered! This article teaches you how to do short French tip nails to ensure an even application. You’ll also learn the history of French manicure, how you’re able to make your nails last longer, tips to create a perfect manicure and more. So, read on!

What Is a French Manicure?

A French manicure has a glossy clear or pinkish base with a white tip and has a square shape. It’s a minimalist manicure that gives you an elegant and natural look. The tip is the manicure’s key feature, which looks thicker and more prominent than the base. Over the years, the manicure has evolved, and variations or twists have been created, such as using nude colours for the base and bright or neon shades for the tips.

How Was the French Manicure Created?

The history of French nails started way back in 1975 when Jeff Pink, Orly International’s CEO, created the manicure for movie studios. He complained that changing the manicures of actresses between outfits could take time. This is why he came up with the idea of a classic look of the French manicure and then started selling a kit (The Natural Look Nail Kit) where it features white and pink polish.

Pink decided to take the look to Paris at a fashion week, and when he came home to the US, he started naming it the French Manicure. The look wasn’t widely popular, however, until Barbara Streisand and Cher had the manicure at The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Years after that, the kit that Pink created became popular.

9 Steps to Do Short French Tip Nails

1. Clean Your Nails

This is always a required step for all types of manicures to ensure a quality outcome. Start from the very basics of washing your hands with soap and water to remove dirt. Then, you need to remove any nail product or residue on your nails. Use a cotton ball or pad dipped in acetone for the removal.

2. Shape Your Nails

Once your nails are clean, you can start trimming and buffing them. Cut your nails into a length you desire and then file them to smoothen them down. It’s important to buff your nails to a crescent shape to achieve that elegant French mani later on.

3. Push Back Cuticles

We don’t recommend cutting your cuticles because they form a protective barrier for your nails. Just push them back gently using a wooden cuticle pusher to make your nails look longer. You can trim excess skin, however, on the sides. To help you push back the cuticles easily, you can soak your fingers first in warm water with olive or cuticle oil for 10 minutes.

4. Buff Your Nails

This is the final step for the preparatory stage of your nails. Here, you’ll buff the top layer of your nails to allow the polish to stick to the nails properly, enabling it to stay long. A high-grit buffer is ideal for this, but only use gentle pressure when filing.

5. Apply a Base Coat

In this step, you’ll start to paint your nails. The first layer should be a clear base coat to preserve the top layers of the polish. Work from the cuticles upward and make sure to apply it thinly. Wait for 2 minutes to let the base coat dry.

6. Paint Your Tips

Here, you may need the help of a nail tape if you don’t have steady hands. Place the tape on where you want your nail tip to end. Secure it firmly on your nails. You can have a curved or straight tip, but to make your nails appear longer, the curved tip is best. Paint the tips using a bright white colour, and remove the tape before the polish dries. Wait for 2 minutes to let your tips dry.

7. Shape Your Tips Crescent

If you opt for the crescent tip, you need to do a little something extra. To achieve the perfect crescent shape, you need to use a nail art brush or cotton swab to apply additional touches to the corners of the tips. You need to be really detailed to avoid messing it up. Again, wait for 2 minutes for the tips to dry.

8. Apply a Sheer Pink Layer

To make your short French tip nails look more natural, you need to apply sheer pink polish on top. Make sure to cover the entire surface. Again, start from the base of your nails upwards when you apply this colour. Then, allow 2 minutes for it to dry.

9. Finish the Manicure with a Top Coat

To seal everything, you need to apply a clear top coat. A thin layer is still ideal for this. If the sides of your nails are stained with polish, remove them first with a Q-tip soaked in acetone before applying the top coat. Let it dry for 2 minutes.

How Do You Make Your French Manicure Last Longer?

Making your nails last longer requires commitment. You need to consider the following tips to keep the best look of your nails regardless of the type of manicure:

  • Wear gloves when doing chores, especially when you expose your hands to chemicals or water.
  • Never skip a single step above if you want durability and a classy look for your nails.
  • Choose products with the highest quality as these have safe and effective formulations.
  • Hydrate your nails with lotion or cuticle oil.
  • Paint the edges of your nails to avoid damage.

Quick Tips to Achieve a Perfect French Manicure

There are helpful tips you should consider to see the results you want for your French manicure.

Choose the Right Base Colour

First is to choose the right nude colour as your base. Your skin tone plays an important part in choosing the best base as one shade of pink or nude can’t complement well with all skin tones. Dark skin tones are ideal with a cocoa-mocha or rose beige shade, olive skin tones are great with a soft peach or pale taupe shade and fair skin tones are best with a creamy or sheer pink shade.

Use a Striper Brush

Using a striper brush is a game changer. The brush allows you to have good control over the painting of the tips to achieve the outcome you want. It is especially handy if you opt for a micro French manicure.

Get High-Quality Products

Never settle for low-quality ones if you want the best results. Quality nail polish products offer the best consistency, so you can have an even and smooth application. If possible, use one brand for all the layers of your manicure as using different brands may not work well with each other.

How Much Does a French Manicure Cost?

A French manicure’s cost varies significantly on your location, the salon and any additional enhancements or decorations you’ll request. It can cost from $30 to $37 for the regular polish. The price can even go higher if you live in a major city.

Short Tip French Manicure Ideas to Try

As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of variations for this gorgeous manicure. Nail artists have put some twists on the manicure to fit different occasions, styles and people. Here are some of the popular French manicure variations you can check out:

Double Line

If you want more than a single line for a French manicure, the double French manicure is perfect for you. The tip is usually thicker than the second line below it. You can have a space between the lines or the tip and the second line can be positioned closely together.

Deep Tip

This looks the same as the traditional French manicure. The only difference is there are much thicker tips that extend deeper into the base section.


You might have heard about this inverted version of the manicure as this is very popular. It is what it’s called, where the bottom is coloured white or other colours you prefer instead of the tip. The nude base colour extends to the tip as well.


You can have really shiny French manicure by using glittery nail polish for the tips instead of plain white. The glittery polish makes your short nails look glamorous.


If you want something really bright, a neon French manicure is a great option. You can be creative with this variation as neon nail polish is wonderful for nail art.


Are you into nail accessories? A crystal French manicure is your best bet! Instead of nail polish, you design the tips of your nails with crystals or rhinestones. You’ll have that extra glam look with this manicure.


This is a favourite trend of many celebrities, and you can easily have them. Silver or gold nail polish is popular for a metallic French manicure. Apply metallic nail polish to the tip instead of white.


Ombre is brilliant for short nails as it makes your nails really stand out. The white tip fades into the nude base colour, creating a simple yet pretty effect.


Here’s another double-line tip you can try. This manicure uses two tones of the same colour to create two lines for the tip. It’s a fun colour you can have on your short nails.


We all know that the traditional French manicure is a minimalist nail design. But micro French is even more minimalist as it only has a very thin line on the tip. It gives you a very simple yet chic look.

The Takeaway

Short French tip nails can be easily done at home. What you need are the right materials to help you have a smooth application process. But if you don’t have the patience to do the manicure yourself, never hesitate to go to a salon.