French tip nails are the subtle mani everyone's wearing in 2024 - here are 15 chic takes on the classic design

These stylish and versatile French tip nails suit all aesthetics and are perfect for everyday...

A close up of a hand with multi-coloured French tip nails, alongside another picture of a hand with black French tip nails by nail artists @gel.bymegan/ @matejanova/ Mateja Novakovic/ in a pink watercolour, two-picture template
(Image credit: (L) @matejanova/ Mateja Novakovic | (R) @gel.bymegan)

French tip nails never tire, in fact, every year seems to usher in a plethora of new, stylish iterations of the minimalist look - from adapting the classic design to shorter nail shapes to incorporating the season's trendiest colour - and 2024 is no exception. 

As celebrity nail artist, Robbie Tomkins notes, the French mani was hugely popular in the '80s, but what's great about it now is, "that you've got the Gen Z generation discovering these nail designs for the first time and wearing it with the traditional block pink base and block white tips. Whereas those that remember it from the first time around (myself included!) are experimenting with newer ways." 

Proving Tomkins' point, the 2024 nail trends are packed with stylish iterations of the iconic look, especially in the short French tip nail designs department and we've gone ahead and rounded up 15 of the most wearable and sophisticated options to try...

How to do French tip nails at home

If you already know how to paint your nails and want to give these new-gen French tip nails a whirl, Robbie Tomkins says that, "just like natural make-up looks, a great nail look is only as good as the prep and with a French manicure, that's quite intricate, it's even more essential."

Prep steps:

Whether you have short "squoval" nails or prefer longer talons, according to Tomkins, "any nail length can wear a French manicure. However, to really see the impact of the two colours you do need a bit of length to your nail." If you struggle to grow your natural nails long, a builder treatment such as BIAB nails could be a good option. That being said though, straight micro French tips, as opposed to the wider crescent shapes, are very popular right now, so if you don't have the length for a more angular tip, you can still achieve a very chic and subtle effect. 

Tomkins also advises investing in some helpful tools like nail stampers or thin nail art brushes: "Even I can't do a French manicure using the brushes that come with the polish. Use arts and crafts or eyeliner brushes instead." 

Finally, when it comes to application, take your time: "You need each layer of polish to have dried fully before applying the next so this is not a quick style to do."

Got everything ready? It's time to paint:

  • Step 1: "Push back your cuticles using a rubber or wooden cuticle stick, as these will cause the least amount of damage to your nail plate. Please do it gently!" 
  • Step 2: "The easiest French manicure is a 'negative space' style where you leave your nail bed completely natural and just paint on a white tip (using a thin brush). I recommend not choosing a bright white polish, go for a milky shade as it gives you more room for error." 
  • Step 3: "Keeping your hand as steady as possible, paint on your white tip. Use your natural tip as a guide. If you have longer nails then you can take the white tip down the side of the nail, for shorter nails create a small curve."
  • Step 4: "It takes years of practice to get it perfect. Have a clean brush, dipped in nail polish remover to hand to help clean up your line as you go."
  • Step 5: "Once the white is completely dry (this takes at least an hour, so pop Netflix on while you wait) apply a couple of layers of a glossy top coat. Again, let that dry fully before doing anything. You don't want to ruin all that hard work." Time poor? Our guide on how to dry nail polish fast can help you hurry things along a bit. 

Our 15 stylish French tip nail picks

So, now we've covered the French nail technique, let's dive straight into our favourite designs for 2024...

1. Muted tips

If you just can't be parted with classic French tip nails then simply switch up your usual white for other muted shades, like a cream, grey or green. For best results, follow our 11 essential nail care tips ahead of your manicure to get your nails in tip-top shape.  

2. Pretty in pastel

Pastel nails have to be the perfect French manicure idea for spring. Choose a different soft pastel shade for each finger. And the great news is that your regrowth will be really subtle so the design will last much longer.  

3. Double tips

If you're unsure about changing up your usual nail look, then this dainty double-line design is a great place to start. It has the oval tip of a classic French manicure and then a simple, thin line underneath. For another variation, you can also have the second line mimicking the shape of the tip across the middle of the nail instead. In the salon, you could combine this with the trending Bio Sculpture nails technique for extra health points. Simple but so effective. 

4. Negative space

Sometimes the detail is in what's not there, rather than what is. And we love this super simple French tip nail idea that uses just two lines to frame the top of the nail. Choose whichever colour you love, but there's something quite dreamy about this shimmery look.

5. Glitter tips

You might think glitter is reserved for Christmas nails only, but we say it's an all-year-round vibe. We love how this sparkle is almost luminous and while it's shown on an almond nail shape, it can be adapted to any nail shape - squoval nails are especially popular right now and will work well with this look. 

7. Neutrals

Whilst the classic white tip of a French mani is ultra-elegant, there's something about a nude-toned tip that actually makes a lot more sense. It seems more natural, blends in with your hand more seamlessly, and looks ultra-chic. 

8. Moment of metallic

Like the idea of change, but not too much change? This is the French tip nails look for you. Keep your classic French manicure exactly as is but simply swap out the classic white line for a pop of metallic colour.

9. Reverse French mani

Looking for a fresh French manicure idea that also combines the trending negative space nails? Simply reverse what you've always been doing. Take your white tip (or whatever shade you prefer) down to become a white half-moon and then paint your base colour up to the top of your nail. Not only does it look great, but it's super easy to do yourself. 

10. Classic ombré

This is a look best left to the professionals as it requires a steady hand and some serious gel or acrylic manicure know-how, but how gorgeous is this ombré French manicure? It has all the classic status of the original French tip but the softening and gradual fading between the tip and base colours gives it a modern feel. Plus ombré nails themselves are very popular right now, so win-win. 

11. Go green

Green is the perfect spring nail colour and also makes a lovely, fresh alternative to a French manicure tip. The paler your skin tone, the brighter green you should go. Deeper skin tones suit highly-saturated cactus and forest green tones. 

Green nail designs never go out of style, so if you're stuck for ideas before your next nail appointment, a green French tip manicure is always a good way to go.

12. Gold fingers

This is a statement look without being too much of a statement. By having gold tips instead of the usual white, your French manicure suddenly gets a very luxe look that works for every occasion. 

13. Lovely lilac

Fancy a nail look that sums up spring? Then this is that: gorgeously soft, lilac tips. If you are nail savvy then this is an easy look to do yourself. It's also a fairly exposing look, so ensure you've taken some prep steps to repair damaged nails so your polish goes on as smoothly as possible.  

14. Alternating Colors

Who said your nails had to match? Why not try switching it up and have a different color tip on each nail? You don't need ultra-long nails to rock this look, it looks great on any nail length and shape.

15. Top and Tail

French manicure the top and bottom of your nails for this cool double tip effect. Have them all the same color or add a pop by contrasting various shades on each nail. It's best to make the tips fairly square to recreate this modern look.

woman&home thanks Robbie Tomkins for his time and expertise. 

Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith
Freelance Beauty Director

Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith has worked in the beauty industry for more than 15 years and, as well as woman&home, has contributed to titles such as Stylist, The Daily Mail and The Times.

As a mum of two little girls she has limited time to spend on herself, so if you’re looking for hard-working multi-tasking products, she’s the one in the know.

Her top three products she has on her at all times are a glow-giving tinted moisturizer, brow pencil and a tinted lip balm. Oh, and she’s never far away from a hydrating face mist.

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