Everyone’s Asking For A “Deconstructed” French Manicure

Photo: Courtesy of Jess Brush.
Nail art trends have become super specific. The colour might appear to be yellow or white, but in fact, it’s French vanilla. It's not blue with a shimmer, it’s blueberry glazed. It's hard to keep up with the lingo — and you definitely don't have to if you find it overwhelming. But here, we unpack nail trends to make things less confusing for you, whether you're at a nail salon or at home among polish bottles.
Recently, the big nail trend we're picking up on TikTok and in nail salons everywhere is something called a "deconstructed French manicure". Instead of a specific trend, this one is actually pretty general and can be taken in different directions (which we'll talk about). According to nail artists, 'deconstructed' is serving as a catchall term for nail art that closely resembles a French manicure — in that it's on the tip of the nail — but isn't quite a French manicure as it shows up on a nail art menu.

What is a "deconstructed" French manicure?

"A 'deconstructed' French is a manicure that alludes to a traditional French manicure but without the hard outline on the free edge of the nail," explains Jess Brush (aka @nailbetch on Instagram and TikTok). Technically, any design on the tip of the nail falls under the 'deconstructed' umbrella. "Little designs on just the tips of the nails: an ombré French, a two-toned French, an abstract French, are all examples of a deconstructed French manicure," adds Brush.
Here, Brush breaks it down further, presenting some of her favourite takes on a deconstructed French manicure, so you have specific inspiration to bring to your next appointment.

Ombré French

Like a coloured French manicure, this is a slight adaptation on the French. Instead of a thin purple line at the tip, it's a graduated ombré blend from the tip down to the middle of the nail. If you're at the nail salon, you can show this to your nail artist as inspiration for a regular polish or gel service. If you're at home, you could use a Beautyblender or makeup sponge to achieve a similar result. Here, Brush uses Essie Nail Lacquer in Play Date, (a bright purple) for the tip alongside Zoya Lavender Perfector, (a sheer purple) to create the ombré blend.

Abstract French

An abstract French manicure speaks to the curvature at the tip of the nail. Instead of a slightly-rounded tip that mirrors the shape of the nail bed, as in a traditional French manicure, the line might be squiggly or two-toned, like this example by Brush. She uses two Chanel polishes, Diva, and Immortelle.

Snake-print French

With a deconstructed French manicure, you can bring a print into play. Here, Brush shows a snake-print French, which carries the reptilian print from the tip of the nail down to the centre of the nail but stops well above the cuticle. Another reason people love an adaptation on the French: It allows for a seamless grow-out.

Two-toned French

Like an abstract French, a two-toned French is as simple as it sounds: You combine two colours. We're very into a red and pink colour palette, but you could really mix it up however you want. That's the versatility of a deconstructed French manicure.

Bejewelled French

Nail stickers will always add to any manicure but they become a specific design when they're oriented at the tip of the nail. Brush calls this a sticker French or a bejewelled French, if your nail stickers happen to be gemstones. A nail decal sheet and a clear coat of polish is the making of a bejewelled or sticker French manicure.
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