May 28, 2008

Variations on a Theme: The Traditional Essie French Manicure

Posted in Creme, Essie, Pink, White tagged at 4:56 pm by pretear

I know I’m in the minority when it comes to love for french manicures. I even like french for… *gasp*… pedicures, blasphemy, I know. In hopes of convincing more people to come to the dark side (rather the light pink and white side), I decided to do a series on the various types of french manicures. We’ll be looking at different polishes that can comprise the set as well as different application styles and looks. Today, we’re looking at, what is in my opinion, the quintessential french manicure: The Traditional Essie French Mani.

When it comes to demure, but sophisticated, nudes, pinks, and neutrals – Essie is the go-to brand. To me, Essie is also synonymous with french manis. I’ve tried several french mani combinations, nothing compares to the look you get with Essie Mademoiselle and Essie Marshmallow. Most people would refer to this combo as being an American French Manicure. (For an explanation for the differences between french mani styles check out this link.) The combo is soft and natural looking, definitely among my personal favorites but also widely popular with just about everyone who like french manis. Essie Pink Glove Service can also be used as a base color for a french mani but here I used it as the over-layer. Generally, I like flashy stark white tips but since I’m temporarily stuck in realm of professional looking manis, I decided to layer Pink Glove Service to dim Marshmallow a bit. I like the way it looks but ultimately I could have done without the extra PGS coat because Mademoiselle and Marshmallow look very professional all on their own.

As far as application: This is base coat plus one coat of Mademoiselle, perfectly smooth and even. Mademoiselle looks very pink in the bottle but applies translucent. I needed two coats of Marshmallow for the tips to look solid. I did this free hand so, as you can imagine, it was a huge pain in the butt. Stickers are great but they work best for the very patient. I find it easier to just do it free hand. Doing free hand correctly takes some practice but that’s better than fumbling with the stickers. The nail board wisdom tip for getting a good solid white tip is too move your finger instead of the brush, that’s also what works best for me.



  1. ericka said,

    I totally agree with you and love Essie for their pales! Have been debating by Marshmallow forever now…still searching for a wearable semi-opaque white!

  2. Ponchy said,

    Great french mani! I must confess that I will always think that french mani’s (at the proper length…not talons) are classy & classic. Thanks for the great article/pic!

  3. Alison said,


    I love your blog and really appreiate the trouble you go to for the great swatches, it’s really useful being able to see the colours before I buy.

    I too love french manicures (although I like them to look really natural so probably more of an american manicure) anway, I always use mademoiselle and marshmallow but just one coat of each.

    Your nails are beautiful, perfect length and shape, do you do them yourself? If so what are your favourite products?

  4. pretear said,

    Thank you so much Alison. : ) I actually use a ton of stuff but I think the most essential are cuticle oils (CND Solar Oil is my go-to), hand creams, and a glass nail file (which helps prevent peels and breaks). I don’t really use strengtheners, I find that my nails stay healthy and grow nicely if I just constantly keep them painted. Let me know if you have any other questions. : )

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