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FEMME MAG Trend Report: The Y2K French Manicure

The white-tips are back but with a twist.

FEMME MAG Trend Report: The Y2K French Manicure

The white-tips are back but with a twist.

We’re proud to announce that the French manicure, is back. 

Don’t scream all at once.

The classic nail art design known for its signature pale pink base with a white tip was popularized during the Y2K era as the go-to nail choice, and it’s making its much-awaited come back in 2022, albeit with a few updates. 

So much of what’s made the French manicure reach iconic status is its ability to simultaneously give off an understated yet distinct feel.  “What I love so much about the French manicure is its ability to give a neutral base colour a sophisticated edge”, says beauty enthusiast Mo. “For someone who doesn’t like a lot of attention on my nails, it makes me feel like I’m doing something without doing too much. Plus, any beauty-related thing co-signed by the French? Count me in”. 

Image via @life_withkoko Instagram

Surprisingly, the French manicure didn’t originate in France. 

Conceptualized in 1975 by manicurist, and ORLY nail brand founder, Jeff Pink, the French manicure was created to help screen actresses in Hollywood speed up time between wardrobe changes. According to the ORLY website, the French manicure’s goal was to give the actresses accentuated, feminine manicures, that didn’t upstage their outfits.

It didn’t take long before Hollywood’s nail art secret leaked and soon after, everyone was rocking the trend.  Shortly after, the gospel of Hollywood’s practical yet chic manicure began to spread beyond the sunny hills of California and to the rest of the world, arguably reaching a fever pitch during the early aughts. 

Back home in Nigeria, Jeff Pink’s white-tipped creation was making waves as Nollybabe heavyweights (and beauty trendsetters) like Patience Ozokwo in “The X Gang” rocked the sophisticated manicure. French manicures were everywhere and they showed no signs of slowing down.

Until it did. 

Patience Ozokwo

“I think somewhere in 2010, French manicures became synonymous with looking ‘basic’”, says nail artist Bilquees to FEMME MAG “A lot of my clients at the time stopped requesting them and wanted solid nail colours. Suddenly, French manicures were out”. One of the reasons for this shift can be seen in the decline of the Y2K aesthetic. Kohl liners and micro-minis phased out and so did the French manicures. 

Now in 2022, you don’t have to look very far to see some of the trends that dominated the early aughts resurfacing. The French manicure, which was arguably the first nail art we had, is back with twists and updates.

Still maintaining its sophistication, 2022 French manicures are playing around with textured polish and nail accessories. For example, you can opt for a thinner or thicker white tip on a shimmery neutral base. You can also accessorize with pearls and gemstones to give your nail beds an extra dimension. Tv Shows like Euphoria can be cited as the inspiration of some of the updated French manicure trends we’re seeing today.

The French manicure is in full steam and we’re excited over here at FEMME MAG to see where the trend goes next.


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