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Should you put a color under the tip of French manicure gel?

French manicures have been a classic, elegant look for nails for decades. The white tips paired with a nude base coat are timeless. But recently some manicurists have started experimenting with adding a pop of color under the white tip instead of just leaving the nude base coat. This new take on the French manicure gives it a fun, modern update. But is it the right choice for your next manicure appointment? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of adding color under a French manicure tip.

The Pros of Adding Color

There are a few advantages to adding a bright color under the tip of a French manicure:

  • It’s trendy – The colored French manicure is popping up more and more on social media and at nail salons. It gives the classic look an on-trend twist.
  • It’s fun – The pop of color livens up the traditional French manicure and makes it more playful and youthful looking.
  • It’s eye-catching – The color under the white tip really makes the nails pop. It’s a great way to add some flair.
  • You can match it to your outfit – Go for a color that coordinates with what you’re wearing for an accessorized look.

The Cons of Color

However, there are also a few drawbacks to keep in mind if you’re considering a colored French manicure:

  • Growth regrowth is more noticeable – As your nails grow out, the white tip with color underneath will look very different from the nude base. This can look awkward as it grows out.
  • It’s harder to match – Getting the right color combo for the base, tip, and underneath color can be tricky. It may take more time at the salon.
  • It’s prone to chipping – Having three colors layered on the nail makes it more prone to tip wear and chipping, especially if you use your hands a lot.
  • It’s harder to do at home – This three-color look is very difficult to DIY. Most at-home manicure kits don’t have all the specialized tools you’d need.

Tips for Making It Work

If you want to try the colored French manicure trend, here are some tips to make it work best:

  • Use a sheer color underneath – Pick a jelly-like sheer shade rather than an opaque one. This will blend better with the base and tip.
  • Go for complementary colors – Choose an underneath color that coordinates well with the nude base, like pink, peach or blue-toned shades.
  • Use a top coat – Seal the manicure with a glossy top coat to help it last longer and prevent chipping.
  • Get fills frequently – To avoid growth looking awkward, get fills every 2 weeks to maintain the colored tips.

The Best Base Color Options

The base color you choose for a colored French manicure can impact how natural and flattering it looks. Here are some of the best nude gel polish options to use:

Gel Polish Color Undertone
Sheer Pink Slightly warm with a hint of pink
Nude Beige More neutral beige shade
Mushroom Cool-toned taupe shade
Milky Pink Soft pinky nude

Look for a sheer nude shade that compliments your skin tone. Warm undertones look best with pinky nudes. Cooler tones pair better with beige or taupe nudes. Stay away from stark white or pale pink bases, as these can look harsh.

Choosing the Right Color Combo

Not all color combinations work equally well for the colored French tips. Here are some of the best color pairings:

Base Color Tip Color Under Tip Color
Sheer pink Crisp white Baby blue
Nude beige Off-white Lilac
Mushroom Bright white Seafoam green
Milky pink Stark white Peach

The most flattering combos use a nude base, bright white tip, and pastel color underneath that complements the base shade. Stay away from using neons or other harsh colors under the tips, as these tend not to blend well.

Cute Color Combination Ideas

Here are some of the cutest color combo ideas for a colored French manicure using gel polish:

  • Lavender base, white tip, baby blue underneath
  • Blush pink base, bright white tip, peach underneath
  • Nude base, white tip, sage green underneath
  • Caramel base, stark white tip, copper underneath
  • Light grey base, white tip, lilac underneath
  • Pink base, white tip, gold shimmer underneath

Use your favorite pastel shades or metallics for the underneath color. GLitter tips are also a fun option for some sparkle. The options are endless for customizing your colored French manicure!

How Long Does It Last?

When properly done with gel polish, a colored French manicure can last 3-4 weeks without chipping or fading. Here are some tips to get it to last:

  • Use a base coat under the gel polish to protect the nails
  • Apply 2-3 thin layers of each color for full coverage
  • Wrap the tips when applying polish to seal the edges
  • Use gel top coat and cure properly to seal it
  • Avoid picking at the polish
  • Use nail oil daily to hydrate the nails and cuticles

With regular touch-ups for grow out and proper gel polish application techniques, your stylish colored French manicure can stay chip-free for weeks.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your colored French manicure looking tidy and flawless, be sure to:

  • Use cuticle oil daily
  • File down any chips as soon as they appear
  • Avoid scraping or picking at the polish
  • Wear gloves for cleaning and dishes
  • Get a fill every 2 weeks
  • Use a good gel polish remover to avoid damage when taking it off

With regular fills and gently removing polish when needed, you can maintain the perfect colored French tips for as long as you like.

Removal Process

To properly remove a gel manicure with colored French tips:

  1. File the top layer of polish off
  2. Apply pure acetone remover and let sit for 10 minutes
  3. Gently push back cuticles and scrape off polish with a wooden stick
  4. Soak for another 5-10 minutes and scrape away any remaining polish
  5. File and buff nails to remove residue
  6. Apply cuticle oil to hydrate nails

Removing gel polish properly helps avoid damage to the natural nails. Never peel off the polish, as this can take layers of the nail with it.


The colored French manicure trend puts a fresh new spin on a classic look. Adding a pop of color under the tips can give your nails a fun, fashionable look. Just keep in mind the potential drawbacks like increased maintenance and chipping. Use sheer, complementary colors and proper gel polish application and removal techniques to make the manicure last. With the right strategies, you can rock colorful French tips that turn heads.