Baby French Nails: 10 Photos to Inspire Your Next Manicure

Baby French Nails: 10 Photos to Inspire Your Next Manicure featured image
Instagram: @stephstonenails / @bugnails

I don’t know about you, but my nail aesthetic is constantly changing. One day I’m all for short, square and chrome and the next it’s long, glossy almond tips. Thanks in part to TikTok and also to celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Kelsea Ballerini, nail trends are always evolving, but one style that will never fail us is the French manicure.

I remember getting my first manicure as a wee girl and asking my mom to let me get a French manicure just like her. For some time, though, the French manicure was seen as “basic,” but nowadays there are tons of variations on the classic style that suit any aesthetic, one of which being “baby French nails.” If you’re looking for a simple, tasteful style to accompany you to Summer weddings, a beachside vacation or anywhere in between, check out this expert guide to baby French nails.

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What are baby French nails?

“Baby French nails have often been referred to as ‘micro French’ nails in years past,” explains celebrity manicurist Stephanie Stone, whose A-list roster includes Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish and Hailey Bieber. Essentially, as founder and CEO of PLA Beauty Michelle Nguyen puts it, “Baby French nails are similar to standard French nails, but the strip of white (or any other other color) is much, much thinner.”

“The great thing about baby French nails is how versatile they are,” says Nguyen. “You can really use any color or shape with this style. White is always a classic, but you can also spice things up with vibrant neons or rich jewel tones. Feel free to also play with nail shape; anything that works with a regular French manicure will also look great with baby French nails.”

How are baby French nails different?

“While the traditional French tip is often painted to give a stark sheer pink to white contrast in its lining, baby French is painted with ‘barely there’ intention,” says Stone. “A baby French tip can be so subtle in its application, you might not even notice it without looking up close.” Nguyen adds that “Baby French nails can look a little more chic, sophisticated, and subtle due to how thin they are.”

Baby French nail design ideas

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Double French Nails

If you want to spice up your baby French nails without going over the top, these double-lined baby French nails Stone created are a great option. By adding a lighter shade of your base color in two thin strips at the tip and middle of the nail, you can dress up your manicure in a way that isn’t too eye-catching.

two toned baby french nails
Instagram: @stephstone
2 / 10

Short and Neutral

You don’t have to keep your nails long to rock a baby French manicure, as this Stone design proves. If you opt for a shorter, more neutral manicure, baby French is a great option, and adding a baby strip of color towards the cuticle provides an added layer of intrigue, too.

baby French nails neutral
Instagram: stephstonenails
3 / 10

Chain Mail French

Textured nails are all the rage right now, from rhinestones to gems and globs of gel, and Stone’s chain mail baby French manicure adds an edgy flair to this chic and sophisticated style. Replacing the thin stripe of polish associated with baby French nails with a tiny strip of decorative metal totally elevates the look.

Instagram: stephstonenails
4 / 10

Flirty Florals

Whether you’re heading to a garden party or a Summer wedding, floral baby French nails are the perfect accessory. As seen in this design of Stone’s, using a light pastel to create the baby French tip and adding a small floral design creates a beautiful and understated manicure.

baby french nails floral
Instagram: stephstonenails
5 / 10

Baby Rainbows

Perfect for Pride Month, baby French nails are well suited to rainbow designs, too. Whether you want to use pastels or neons, adding thin stripes of various colors to your nails regardless of the shape or length makes for a vibrant and fun vibe.

baby french nails rainbow
Instagram: stephstonenails
6 / 10

Baby Gardens

If you want to take the baby floral French manicure just one step further, baby garden nails are the way to go. This style by nail artist Jimmy Bug (@bugnails on Instagram) is absolutely to die for, featuring the thinnest black tip and the daintiest garden florals peeking out from it.

baby french nails garden
Instagram: bugnails
7 / 10

Holographic Tips

Experimenting with different finishes is always a fun way to jazz up your manicure, whether it is with a matte top coat or a chrome powder topper, and the same can apply with baby French nails. Adding a sparkly or chrome base coat beautifully compliments these thin pastel stripes for an out-of-this-world style.

baby french nails holographic
Instagram: bugnails
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Barely-There Bouquets

Continuing on that floral trend, another way to dress up your baby French nails is by abstracting the tips to include translucent, barely there designs instead of stark lines. In this example, Bug uses flowers to make the baby tip, and the neutral base makes the style subtle.

baby french nails abstract
Instagram: bugnails
9 / 10

French and Solids

If you don’t yet want to commit to a full baby French manicure, opting to have baby French tips on just one or two nails and solid on the rest is a great way to start. In this design, Bug dresses up the tip with dots of colors and glitter, tying in the solid color on the rest of the nails.

combo baby french nails
Instagram: bugnails
10 / 10

Spooky Vibes

While it may be the beginning of Summer, we’re always here for a spooky nail design, and these edgy, dripping nails make baby French nails a bit more bold, and also bring the focus to the center of the nail, elongating the natural nail shape.

baby french nails spooky
Instagram: bugnails

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