‘Micro French’ manicures are this season's must-try nail trend

A Spring twist on a classic. 

The ‘Micro French’ manicure is here to make you rethink everything you know about the French manicure.

If the words ‘French manicure’ conjure up images of perfectly preened, pared-back nails, you wouldn't be wrong. The OG style has become synonymous with grown-up sophistication since its inception in the 1930s.

But over the last few months, a new iteration of the famed nail trend has been making waves; one that’s a little more creative than its counterpart. Enter: the ‘micro French’ manicure. 

Perhaps you’ve already heard of it. The term has been gaining traction for a while now, with almost 300 million views on TikTok and countless new colourways and textures cropping up by the day – not to mention a whole host of celebrities popularising the trend, from Hailey Bieber to Jennifer Lopez

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So what is the ‘micro French’ manicure? 

“A micro French is a modern and delicate take on the classic French manicure,” explains Juanita Huber-Millet, Founder and Creative Director at Townhouse. “Instead of a thick white tip, this manicure typically features a thin, delicate line painted along the edge of the nail, giving it a more subtle, unique look,” she adds. Though it draws on the sophistication and simplicity of a standard French manicure, the aesthetic looks and feels more creative and fun as it's usually elevated via a pop of colour or alternative texture.

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While it's typically featured a razor-thin line in the past, the latest instalment, which comes courtesy of Jennifer Lopez, takes on a micro French chrome effect too. No stranger to fuelling a mani frenzy, J Lo’s latest nail upgrade which Tom Bachik calls the ‘Micro French Fantasy’ is an amalgamation of the viral glazed donut manicure, cellophane nails and micro French trend, which blurs the effect of a French manicure using a chrome polish.

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What’s the difference between micro French and French manicures?

There's no shortage of French manicure upgrades to choose from (see: invisible French manicures and Autumn French nails) but the micro French is a little different. ‘A micro french tip is a fabulous alternative to your classic for a few reasons,’ says Charlotte Knight, nail Tech, Founder and CEO of Ciate London. ‘The main difference is the size of the width of the tip,' she says. 'If you have short nails or are attempting to grow them out, a micro tip does a great job at elongating your nails and allows you to have an accent without squashing the appearance of your nail in the way a thicker tip would do.’

But it's not just suited to short nails either. Longer nails could experiment with different textures and effects, a la J Lo. ‘You can customise the trend to suit your preference with endless variations and combinations of colours, so you’ll never run out of new looks to try with this style,' she continues. ‘The end result is timeless, which means you can wear them every day, on special occasions, or even at the office.’

Why is the ‘micro French’ manicure trending for Spring?

As you might have kept your nails under strict social hibernation for the last few months, you may not have been experimenting as much, favouring ox blood reds and sheer hues, over anything trend-led. Yet, Spring is definitely the time to shake up your nail art and this trend is the perfect starting point, says Knight. ‘The look is gaining popularity as it’s a subtle, refined design that allows you lots of customisation options – chrome tips, pops of colours and even glitters can be incorporated with this tiny accent,’ she adds. It's also an easy way to experiment with a new colour or texture without committing to a block colour or bold outcome. 

Knight also says micro French manicures are trending as they offer a middle ground between attention-grabbing nail art and subtle looks. ‘It feels like a direct response to the more ‘out there’ nail art which we’ve been seeing recently and also really fits in with the ‘clean girl’ trends as they are so tidy and chic,’ she says.

How to create a micro French manicure at home

The good news is that there are simple hacks and easy ways to recreate the look yourself, too. Below, Townhouse's Juanita Huber-Millet shares her top tips for creating the look at home:

The tools you'll need:

  • Nail file
  • Cotton buds
  • Thin liner brush
  • Kitchen foil
  • Nail polish remover 
  • Base coat
  • Neutral colour nail polish
  • Contrasting nail polish for the French tip
  • Topcoat

A step-by-step guide to creating the micro French manicure yourself

  1. Begin by prepping your nails, says Huber-Millet. Remove any old polish and file your nails to your desired length and shape – she suggests a short ‘squoval’ shape (square with rounded edges) 
  2. Apply the base coat to your nails and let it dry
  3. Once the base coat is dry, apply your chosen nail polish colour to your nails. Sheer and neutral shades are a popular choice - she recommends CND Beau and OPI Bubble Bath!
  4. Next, pour your chosen tip colour nail polish onto a piece of kitchen foil and dip a thin liner brush into it, working around the edge of the nail. Top tip: If you are struggling to create a straight line try using nail tape as a guide (this can be purchased from Amazon)
  5. Use a cotton bud dipped in nail polish remover to clean up any mistakes or polish left on your skin
  6. Once all polish is dry, add a topcoat, this will help seal the design and give your mani a glossy finish.