Difference between a French Manicure and an American Manicure

By: | Updated: Nov-2, 2023
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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. You can check out some French manicure designs here.

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.

Another important difference between these manicures involves the nail shape and length. For instance, the shape of the French Manicure is a squared-off nail with longer, bolder tips. On the other hand, an American manicure has a more natural tip that is usually more blended and rounded, with shorter nails.

Some people prefer the American manicure for its shorter nail tips. They may prefer shorter nails for their functionality (it’s easier to type, for instance). Yet, the American manicure still has an elegant, classy look that’s perfect for every day.

If you’re looking for a more glam appearance, the French manicure is the one for you. This manicure is the right choice for those special events and elegant evenings out on the town. French manicures are also a popular choice for brides.

Ways to Personalize the American Manicure

The American manicure is perfect for short or long nails. You can choose tips or without tips. It’s also possible to use traditional or gel nail polish. Another popular option is to use dip powder. So, there are some ways to personalize the American manicure.

History of the French Manicure

Many people believe that the French manicure originated in France. That’s a natural assumption; however, the truth is that this manicure method comes straight out of Hollywood. The French manicure was started in 1975 by Jeff Pink, a manicurist.

The method was developed to meet the requests of movie directors who wanted a more natural nail finish for their stars. Jeff Pink developed the French manicure to meet these needs. From Hollywood, this popular manicure went on to be used by models during Paris Fashion Week the next year. Soon, the French manicure was popular around the world.

But why is this method called the “French manicure?” Jeff Pink thought the name gave the manicure a more glamorous name, especially after his French manicure took off in the fashion industry.

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