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Shadow French Manicure How-to and Photos

The Shadow French Manicure is a Dark, Trippy Twist on the Classic

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The shadow french manicure.Image Source: Courtesy of Natalie Minerva

What do you get when you combine your classic french manicure with the kind of dark, twisty optical illusion you'd only expect to see on Criss Angel's Mindfreak stage? Allow us to introduce you to the "shadow" french manicure, a moodier take on the comeback trend that's objectively more fun than watching someone pull a rabbit out of a hat.

The nail art look has seen many iterations in recent weeks across social media, first from the Really Hot Nails Instagram account and on many a For You Pages since, but each one has a common denominator: it features two contrasting colours (like the black and white shown above) painted on along the tips as well as down the base of the nail, only in varying directions with a gradient effect.

It sounds confusing, yes — most illusions are — but Natalie Minerva, the celebrity nail artist and mastermind behind the manicures you saw on "Euphoria," can explain.

"What's so cool about the shadow french is the optical illusion part of this set," she tells POPSUGAR. "It's fun because it feels like a playful and modern way to do a traditional french that's really interesting to look at. I always say that I love doing 'french twists,' which is taking a french manicure and adding your own custom spin on it."

To get the look, Minerva only used two gel polishes. That's right: contrary to what it might look like, this nail design doesn't feature a chrome finish. "That's why it's so cool; the blending of colours and the optical illusion of it just makes it seem like it's chrome," she says. "It's an amazing trick."

Using the Gelcare Patent Black Leather Polish ($16, originally $20) and Gelcare French Alps Polish ($16, currently out of stock), Minerva started by doing a standard vertical ombré down the base of the whole nail, curing it under a UV lamp between strokes. "Then, I painted the french tip line with the opposing colour — half black and half white. I was purposeful in using black and white for stark juxtaposition. I filled in the french curves [with a lining tool] and then blended the french tip as well."

As evidenced below, the end results are trippy, dark, and — dare we say — magic.


With the talented @raquelmoura_nails 🤎🫶🏼🤍#nails #nailart #nailtutorial #nailinspo #acrylicnails #frenchtipnails #frenchtip #opticalillusion #opticalillusionfrenchtip #illusionnails #glassnails #nailtech #nailsartvideos #naildesigns

♬ Ungrateful (feat. Key Glock) - Megan Thee Stallion
Shadow French Manicure How-to and Photos
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Shadow French Manicure How-to and Photos
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