The 'American Manicure' Is The Subtler Version Of French Tips For A Minimalist Nail Look

One of the most stylish ways to wear your nails in the late 1990s and early 2000s was the bright white tips, pale pink base, and square cut of a French manicure. There are differing stories about the origins and the name of the style. But one version is that in the 1970s, Jeff Pink, founder of Orly International, was tasked by Hollywood directors to figure out a nail look that would go with everything. So he came up with the idea "of using white polish on the tips of the nails ... then put a flesh-toned polish over it," according to Who What Wear. He then used the style in French fashion shows, and back in the U.S., sold pale pink and white nail polishes together in a kit.


Ever since, the French manicure has remained popular, with plenty of variations for the modern French manicure. If you still like the look of a classic French manicure, but you want to update it and make it more subtle and natural than the early 2000s white tips look, try the "American manicure."

The American manicure is all about subtlety

An "American manicure" is like a French manicure in that the base of the nail is painted in a pale pink and the tips are white. But with the American version, the white tip is more off-white rather than a bright, pure white. Another distinguishing characteristic of the American manicure is the lack of a clearly defined white line between the base color and the tips. Instead, it's a subtler transition between the color of the tip and the base of the nail.


The color difference extends to the base color as well. It's more on the nude side than always being a pure pink. This means nail growth will be less obvious, which means that you can go longer between touch-ups since there won't be such an obvious change in the color at the base of your nails. Therefore, you'll save both time and money with an American manicure over a French manicure.

An American manicure will match any outfit or occasion

As for the shape of the nail with an American manicure, it's also about a more natural look, particularly when compared to the square tips of a classic French manicure. Smooth and rounded is the way to go. It doesn't have to be a completely rounded style though, as almond nails are also a good option. If you're going to try the American manicure at home, paint the tips first, let them dry, and then paint the entire nail with the nude color. Finish up with a clear topcoat to help your manicure last longer.


You can still personalize the minimalist look with some abstract accents or nail art. But keep it subtle to maintain the classic essence of the American manicure. Going for a minimalist style means that whatever you're wearing or however you're doing your makeup, your nails won't clash. It's like a no-makeup look, but for your nails. And you can feel classy and put together no matter what situation you're in. Whether it's a job interview, a wedding, or a night out with friends, an American manicure will be perfect.