I Tried TikTok’s Viral French Manicure Hack & It Actually Works

Is there anything better than the feeling of a fresh salon manicure? Alternatively, is there anything worse than having to stare at your grown-out polish? Weeks after a beautiful fresh gel set, I was feeling lazy and accidentally (on purpose) peeled off my soft gels. I was left with naked nails for the first time in a long time and felt inspired to try a DIY project I saw on TikTok.
Earlier in the week, my friend sent me a video of a makeup artist using a silicone sponge to give herself a French manicure. The hack involves using the bouncy rubber blending tool as a makeshift nail stamper, painting your polish on top — my inspo video used an electric blue, but I decided on a cream white — pressing the tip of your fingernail into the sponge, releasing it, et voila: a French tip.
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I used the tools I had on hand, starting with a little clipping and filing to salvage and reshape my dry, peeling nail beds post-gels. I used JinSoon Pixie as a base; it's one of my go-to sheer pinks, very your-nails-but-flushed vibe. Once that dried, I grabbed CND Mover & Shaker, an opaque linen white, and brushed a thick coat onto my $4 e.l.f. silicone sponge. While the polish was was still wet, I began pressing my fingernails into the paint-lined sponge, working thumb to pinkie, making sure to apply even pressure to create a clean swoop.
Once all my nails were pressed and French-tipped, I finished with an Essie top coat and was pleasantly surprised with the result. It's not salon perfect — some tips are thicker than others and the curvature is not uniform — but it was my first try. From an arm's length, it's cute, and so much better than anything I could do with a striping brush, which I neither own nor would trust myself to use with my left, non-dominant hand. Plus, I saved at least two hours and $30 forgoing the salon this week.
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