The Most Basic '90s Manicure Is Back

Photo: Paintbox Nails.
But it's not what you think. We've seen French manicures all over the runways for the past few seasons now — but basic they are not. Gone are the white tips with nude-polish topcoats that were a staple in every sorority from the '90s to the aughts. Instead, we're seeing manicurists breathe new life into contrast tips thanks to colors, metallics, graphic shapes, and negative space.

And it's trickling down from the catwalk to the nail salon. “We’re definitely seeing a recurrence of the French manicure," says Eleanor Langston, CEO of Paintbox. "But it’s more updated and modern. We’ve done many evolutions of this design over the past year-and-a-half.” (Like the one pictured here.)

Ahead, we take a look back at where the French mani came from, how much it's changed, and the endless possibilities to come.