Would you like to get the perfect French manicure Shellac nails but don’t know where to start? Here is a complete guide on CND Shellac French manicure, including the best Shellac colors for French manicure. Let’s jump right in!
French manicure is a popular style of natural-looking manicure. It has a sheer nude or light pink polish as the base. And the tip of the nail is painted white. It’s called the smile line of French manicure.
This style of nail design is a timeless classic. It’s an ideal match for any outfit and suits any occasion and dress code. French manicure is also a hot choice for weddings, as it looks gorgeous with any gown.
|Cream Puff||Super white for the tips||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Studio White||Natural-looking white||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Clearly Pink||Clear pink||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Negligee||Sheer pink with blue shimmer||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Beau||Sheer creamy iridescent neutral pink||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Grapefruit Sparkle||Sheer peachy pink with shimmer||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Romantique||Sheer light milky pink||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Nude Knickers||Sheer natural beige with a pink undertone.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Cake Pop||Light candy cotton pink with a slight violet undertone.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Blush Teddy||Light pink with a slight shimmer||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Naked Naïveté||Pinky beige||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Bare Chemise||Light peachy nude||CHECK ON AMAZON|
CND Shellac French manicure
CND Shellac is the perfect nail polish for a French manicure because with the right application it stays on your nails for at least 14 days.
And your manicure will stay classy, clean and tidy for these two weeks.
The nails will look natural but better and shinier.
Before Shellac was invented, it was a pain to do a French manicure with ordinary polishes.
They dried too quickly and it was too hard to paint the smile line.
You had to use special strips to contain the smile line.
However, Shellac dries only when it’s cured in a UV lamp.
So you can easily paint the smile line and correct it as needed before you dry your French manicure Shellac nails.
Shellac is a durable gel nail polish with a wide array of light pink and nude colors.
So you can select the shade that fits you best.
White colors for painting the smile line on Shellac French manicure nails
Cream Puff is CND Shellac’s most famous shade of white in their huge array of nail polishes.
It’s an opaque pure white polish. Not milky, with no cream or pink undertones. Just simple pristine white.
Cream Puff is the perfect white color for painting the French manicure nail tip, which is also called the smile line.
It goes on very smoothly.
Since it’s an opaque white color, it’s often enough to use just one layer of Cream Puff to paint the smile line on each nail. It instantly offers full coverage.
However, some people prefer two layers of white polish on the tips for even better coverage.
Just make sure it’s two thin layers, not thick, to prevent a visible ridge from appearing between the smile line and the base color on the nails.
Also, be careful to avoid bubbles when picking up a bit of this nail polish from the bottle. Carefully wipe the excess polish off before applying it.
The brush should have almost no polish on to ensure smooth application.
Again, apply very thin layers of Cream Puff and you won’t get any bubbles or ridges.
CND Shellac has another white color named Studio White.
It’s different from Cream Puff because it’s a softer white.
It looks less bright than the super-white Shellac Cream Puff.
Some people don’t like super bright white even for their French manicure nail tips.
So Studio White is a great, more natural-looking alternative.
Studio White is also easier to apply than Cream Puff.
In addition to using Studio White for painting the French manicure smile line, you can use it as a base color and make a white on white French manicure with Cream Puff on the tips.
These two shades are different and create a nice subtle contrast. With Studio White being a more subdued, neutral looking white.
Base: best Shellac colors for French manicure
What colors should be used as the base:
CND Shellac Clearly Pink is the brand’s most natural-looking sheer pink.
It’s an excellent base for a classic French manicure.
Clearly Pink, as the name suggests, is actually closer to a clear polish with an addition of a pink tint. It is really sheer.
I don’t recommend applying only one layer of Clearly Pink. It would be barely noticeable on the nails. So 2-3 layers are the best.
Using this color for a French manicure makes your nails look very elegant and clean.
Choose this color if you want your nails to appear as natural as possible. For example, when you have dress code restrictions or prefer to do a more subtle French manicure.
CND Shellac Negligee is my favorite Shellac color for a French manicure and my preferred shade of nude-pink overall.
It’s a sheer pinky nude with a bit of pastel blue shimmer.
You barely notice the blue tint of the shimmer, but it looks so cute!
Negligee is the most glamorous of all pinky-nudes. And it’s ideal for weddings.
It’s so sheer that I prefer applying it in 3 layers instead of the usual 2 (that CND recommends) when wearing only this polish, without the smile line.
But just one layer of Negligee looks fine for a clean and natural French manicure. Two layers are the best though.
CND Shellac Beau is perfect for a dainty French manicure.
Beau is a sheer creamy iridescent neutral pink nail polish.
It’s so sheer that it’s almost clear, with just the right amount of pink to look clean and natural on the nails.
But it looks so pretty!
Photos can’t do it justice at all.
Shellac Beau is a good choice for a wedding manicure too.
CND Shellac Grapefruit Sparkle is another favorite shade of mine. It’s really one of the best Shellac colors for French manicure.
It’s a sheer peachy pink color, like pink grapefruit lemonade, with a delicate shimmer.
Grapefruit Sparkle is gaining popularity as a base for a French manicure.
Even CND’s own Instagram account lists it as their new favorite base shade:
It’s also another wedding hit.
Grapefruit sparkle looks beautiful even when applied in one layer for a French manicure, and in 2-3 layers when you are only wearing this color.
CND Shellac Romantique is a sheer light milky pink nail polish color.
It looks great on its own. And, of course, it’s a perfect nude base for a French manicure.
This color reminds me of delicate porcelain.
There are many nail techs who believe this is an ideal shade for a classic French manicure. Another hit on our list of the best Shellac colors for French manicure.
Romantique is another nice option for a wedding.
It’s not the easiest color to apply, as it often comes out in streaks.
Some people go as far as applying up to 4 coats of Shellac Romantique for a smoother look because it’s so sheer.
So don’t forget to apply it in very thin layers, wiping the brush before you do it. The same as you do with Cream Puff.
CND Shellac Nude Knickers is a sheer natural beige nail polish color with a pink undertone.
This peachy nude is a bit muted and looks best when you apply it in 2 layers.
It’s very subtle and close to the natural nail color.
Some nail salon clients ask their techs to apply it in 4 layers for better coverage when wearing only this polish.
If you prefer a pink French manicure rather than a more natural-looking one, then CND Shellac Cake Pop is for you.
Cake Pop is a cute light candy cotton shade of pink with a slight violet undertone.
It’s very delicate, sweet and feminine, and it’s more opaque than the pink colors listed above.
Apply Cake Pop in very thin layers for smooth coverage.
Applying it in 2 layers is the best option for this color, or it would look too uneven.
CND Shellac Blush Teddy is a delicate light shade of pink with a slight shimmer.
Blush Teddy is another Shellac gel nail polish for those who prefer a pink French manicure.
It’s more subdued than Cake Pop though.
Blush Teddy is also warmer in tone than Cake Pop. It’s a lighter version of blush pink like Rose Bud, the popular feminine Shellac polish from our list of 15 most popular Shellac colors.
CND Shellac Naked Naïveté is a pinky beige color. I’d call it a peachy pink.
It’s really nice on its own as a nude polish, but looks pretty good as a base for a French manicure.
Shellac Naked Naïveté is close to white, so the smile line wouldn’t have too much contrast with the rest of the nail.
You should apply it in very thin layers too because otherwise this Shellac color would make streaks and won’t provide even coverage.
CND Shellac Bare Chemise is a very light peachy nude nail polish color.
This polish looks very nice on its own. Just use it as a nude manicure color.
And, of course, it’s ideal as the nude base shade for a traditional French manicure.
In fact, Shellac Bare Chemise is also a perfect base shade for a French manicure with colored tips, as CND’s own Instagram suggests.
Colored CND Shellac French manicure
One of the latest trends in nail design is doing CND Shellac French manicure with a colored smile line instead of a white one.
The base color usually stays the same neutral pink or beige.
You can use any color in Shellac’s vast palette for the nail tips when doing this style of French manicure.
It could be a vibrant red, a bright yellow or a hot pink.
Or a dark shade of blue or burgundy.
And even a light pastel color like lilac, pink or mint would look great.
Just make sure that the pastel colors contrast the light pink or neutral base color.
Best shellac colors for French manicure: colored tips
CND Shellac Wildfire is a gorgeous classic Hollywood glamour red.
The most perfect shade of red ever!
See how cute it looks like the French manicure smile line color with Beau as the base polish in CND’s own Instagram:
CND Shellac Lobster Roll is a beautiful and vibrant shade of red. It’s a bold orange-red color, almost coral, perfect for a summer colored French manicure.
It’s very bold and glamorous. Lobster Roll is sure to brighten up your day.
CND Shellac Pink Bikini is a bold and gorgeous hot Barbie pink.
This vibrant shade of fuchsia is another summer and resort favorite.
A very feminine color.
CND Shellac Bicycle Yellow is a bright and sunny yellow color.
It’s another cheery color perfect for spring and summer.
CND Shellac Mint Convertible is a light mint color. Looks so delicate! Very beautiful for spring or for a year-round pastel manicure. One of the best Shellac colors for French manicure with colored tips.
CND Shellac Creekside is a cute shade of baby blue. Another lovely spring pastel color.
CND Shellac Oxblood is a gorgeous burgundy nail polish color.
This Marsala shade is perfect for the cooler months and for the holiday season.
See how nice it looks in CND’s Instagram with a few layers of Bare Chemise and Nude Knickers as the base color:
CND Shellac Rock Royalty is a deep eggplant purple nail polish color.
It’s a dark glamorous shade that is ideal for the fall/winter season.
CND Shellac Black Pool is a simple classic black.
But be careful when applying black to your French manicure tips because it may look like you have dirt under the nails.
That’s why this color won’t be good for very short nails.
The best nail shape for this smile line color is stiletto.
Black nail designs are mostly associated with Goths, rock stars, and Halloween.
How to apply Shellac
Shellac requires a multi-step process to apply it to your nails and to ensure it looks great and stays on the nails for at least 14 days, as CND promises.
No need to remove the top layer of the natural nail for better bonding, like you may have to do with some other gel nail polishes.
Prepare the nails
Before you apply the Shellac base coat you need to remove any excess cuticle and hangnails and purify the nail plate by using CND ScrubFresh with a lint-free wipe.
Then you need to apply a thin layer of the base coat, and cure it in the CND UV lamp, as the manufacturer suggests.
It’s best to use lamps manufactured by CND for curing Shellac because they are set up precisely for working with Shellac.
Shellac color polish
After that apply 2 layers of the color Shellac polish, curing each layer in the lamp, before applying the next one.
Some sheer polishes may require 3-4 layers for the perfect look.
Begin the application of each layer by swiping the brush against the tip of the extension edge of the nail to seal it.
This is necessary to remove the top film that makes your nails sticky.
How to do a French manicure with Shellac
After you have applied the base coat layer and held it under the lamp, apply two layers of the pink French manicure base color. Such as Shellac Beau, Clearly Pink, Romantique, Negligee, Ice Bar.
Actually, some people even prefer applying only one layer of a pinky nude polish to make their nails look as natural as possible.
Paint the white tip, also known as the smile line, with a couple of swipes along the edge of the nail (from side to center) of Shellac Cream Puff or Shellac Studio White.
You can see how to paint a white French manicure smile line in more detail in the video embedded above.
Correct the smile line with a gel nail brush lightly moistened with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.
You can also draw the smile line with a nail art stylus AKA the dotting pen tool dipped in white Shellac nail polish.
When applying the opaque white Shellac Cream Puff color, make sure you don’t produce any bubbles.
The smile line is often applied in one layer.
But it’s OK to apply two layers of white color to fully cover the tips.
Then cover the nails with a thin layer of Shellac top coat.
Cure each layer of the base color, the smile line and the top coat in the lamp after you apply them.
CND Shellac French manicure: Colored smile line
If you want to make a colored smile line instead of the white one use any bright or pastel-colored Shellac instead of Cream Puff or Studio White on the tip of the nail.
Just make sure the color contrasts the base pink color well.
Shellac French manicure short nails
Doing French manicure on short nails involves the same steps as when doing it on long nails.
You also need to apply the base coat, add two layers of the base color, such as light pink Shellac color, paint a smile line with Shellac Cream Puff or Studio White and apply the top coat, curing each layer as you go.
However, you are more dependent on correcting the smile line with a gel brush dipped in Isopropyl Alcohol.
And you also need to make sure no polish is left on your skin, especially when you seal the edge and paint the white tips.
Wipe off the excess polish from your skin before you cure it with a lamp. Otherwise, it would peel and your manicure won’t hold for the promised 14 days.
It’s a lot more difficult to do a Shellac French manicure on short nails.
You need a lot of practice.
It requires so much precision that you feel like performing surgery.
You have to have a steady hand.
And sealing the edges isn’t easy either.
Here is a video of the process that gives you the basic idea of how Shellac French manicure short nails should be done:
How to remove Shellac
Put a cotton bud moistened in acetone-based Shellac removal liquid to each of your nails and wrap the tip of each finger in a piece of foil. Hold it for about 5 minutes to soak Shellac off.
I hope you’ll be able to do amazing French manicure shellac nails with the help of these tips and this selection of the best Shellac colors for French manicure.