Difference between a French Manicure and an American Manicure

By: | Updated: Dec-5, 2017
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A manicure is a common cosmetic beauty treatment that women like doing at home or in a nail salon. The procedure entails cleaning, shaping, filing, and the application of nail polish on the fingernails. Two popular types of manicures are French manicures and American manicures which are both preferred for their simple yet sophisticated styles. In this article, you’ll see more about both types of manicures and the distinctions between them.

Summary Table

French Manicure American Manicure
Has a solid white tip with a light pink or nude base Faint white or cream-colored tip with a light beige, cream or skin color base
Uses stark white color and pinkish or nude base colors Uses cream or skin color tones
Polish is more evident and has a more sophisticated look Has a more natural, untouched look


French Manicure
A French manicure

The French manicure is a style of manicure which originated from the natural nail look created by Jeff Pink, who is the founder of the nail polish brand Orly. In 1976, this style was called the “French manicure.” Some say that the word “French” was added as it makes things seem more chic and stylish. This classic style consists of a solid white tip with a clear, pinkish, or nude base. French manicures are done either with artificial or natural nails. Another way of doing French manicures is to whiten the underside of the nail using a white pencil then place a sheer or pinkish color over the entire nail.

American manicure
An American manicure

The American manicure is considered to be the most “natural” nail look. This particular style has a defined tip that is simple and subtle. It consists of a faint white or cream-colored tip, with the entire nail painted with a light beige, cream, or skin color tone. There are no clear origins of the American manicure. It was just considered as the softer version of the traditional French manicure.

French Manicure vs American Manicure

What is the difference between a French manicure and an American manicure? The French manicure consists of a solid white tip with a pinkish or nude base while the American manicure has a faint white or cream-colored tip with a cream or skin color base. Stark white color is often used in French manicures compared to the cream or more subtle skin tones used in American manicures. French manicures are noted to have a more sophisticated look. American manicures, on the other hand, provide a more natural, untouched effect.

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