The French manicure is a classic nail style for a reason. It’s flattering to nails of all shapes, lengths and sizes. It’s sophisticated and elegant. And it’s been inspiration for countless upgrades throughout the year.

Bring your clients’ nails into the 21st century with the ombre French manicure — sometimes called a “baby boomer French.” It’s clean, it’s stylish and best of all, it doesn’t look dated. Follow along as we show you how to do a French ombre manicure that’s sure to “wow” even the most traditional client.

Before You Begin

Set yourself up for success by choosing the right types of nail polishes. Whether you’re using gel polish or nail lacquer, you’ll need a semi-sheer beige or pink shade, as well as a full-opacity white polish. Choosing the right polishes for the job will ensure that you get a nice, even blend, with a solid white tip.

You’ll also need a cosmetic makeup sponge, cotton swabs and nail polish remover to create this look.

Now it’s time to get started!

How to Do a French Ombre Manicure

  1. After manicuring the nails, apply your gel base coat and cure.
  2. Apply two coats of your semi-sheer beige or pink gel polish, curing between coats.
  3. Cut three small strips of your cosmetic makeup sponge so that each is thinner than the width of your client’s nail.
  4. Apply your white gel polish to the edge of the sponge. Gently tap the sponge along the tip of your client’s nails, reapplying the white gel to the sponge as needed.
  5. Use a clean piece of sponge to diffuse the area where the white ends to create a softer and smoother blend. Using a cotton swab and nail polish remover, clean up any areas where the white polish may have gotten on the skin. Once you’ve blended the white on all 10 nails, cure.
  6. Grab one final strip of sponge. Apply your semi-sheer nude or pink to the tip of the sponge, and then add a stripe of white just below it.
  7. Gently tap this sponge with the two shades onto the nail, moving it up and down the nail slightly to blend the area where the colors meet. The semi-sheer shade will help smooth your blend, while the white will brighten the tip. Clean up any polish that may have gotten on the skin, and then cure.
  8. Finish with gel topcoat, cure and cleanse.

The ombre French is the perfect modern take on a truly classic nail style. It gives nails a healthy glow while turning it up a notch from a basic nude manicure. Clients will be delighted with the finished product — and feel current and chic to boot.