The Gilded French Manicure Is The Loud Luxury Nail Trend We've Been Looking For

We're headed for the Gilded Age, it seems — at least, when it comes to manicures. From nail art influencers to the models on fashion runways, people are embracing a more maximalist approach, combining two or more looks on each nail.


There can be a method to what looks like the madness of piling nail art upon nail art. For one, relying on the classic French manicure as your base ensures that there's some sense of order in your luxuriously over-the-top nails. You can choose to gild your French tips to the max or embellish the base of your nails instead while leaving the tips classic and simple.

While long nails are easier to work with to achieve a gilded French manicure, short-nailed folks can also join in on this flashy trend. After all, there's more than one way to gild a lily, and you might just find what tickles your fancy among the following nail looks. A word of caution, though: It would be best to work with a professional nail technician to achieve these. Aside from their skills, they can gauge best whether you'd need gel or acrylic tips to reinforce your nails so they can withstand the weight of the pretty baubles you want to add to your manicure. 


Join the gold rush

To gild means to adorn something with gold, so add luster to your French tips with gold metallic polish, foil, or chrome powder (or its handy substitute, gold eyeshadow). You can have a clear or neutral-colored polish as your base, but if you're feeling extra maximalist, contrast your tips with two coatings of onyx or jade polish.


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After achieving the solid metallic French tips you want, apply a glossy top coat to seal everything in with a megawatt shine and then add rhinestones, crystals, and pearls. Focus on clean application rather then precise patterns. Having different mismatched pieces actually creates a baroque aesthetic that's totally on-trend.

Bling out your French tips

To really call attention to your French manicure, you can load all of those crystals, rhinestones, pearls, and more on the tips, as seen on fashion label Luar's Spring/Summer 2024 runway. To help your bejeweled nails last longer without the polish chipping and any of the embellishments falling off, Rhinestones Unlimited recommended wearing acrylic tips and coating them with gel polish rather than gluing crystals to your natural nails coated with regular polish. The website also instructed putting a top coat over your base polish, but not over your sparkly accessories so they don't lose their luster. Seal them in place instead with quality adhesive.  


Catch the light with a stained-glass French manicure

Another way of making your French manicure look flamboyant is to create a stained-glass effect. This look features a mosaic pattern of geometric shapes painted in different colors to resemble a stained-glass window. Draw the outlines of your shapes in metallic polish then fill them in with the shades of your choice. Add crystals to both the outline and the "stained" portions so they sparkle under the lights.



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You can also paint your French tips in metallic polish first then create the outlines in a contrasting color like black. Whatever process you choose, you'll need fine-tipped brushes to draw your pattern clearly. 

Get into logomania

What's louder and more extravagant than sporting logos? Give your fave luxe label a shoutout with your manicure by painting their recognizable emblem on your French tips. While any metallic polish would do, nothing would look more luxurious than gold or silver, although sometimes, the color would depend on the brand you want to rep, especially if they're known for a signature hue.


You can choose to be subtle with a straightforward logo nail art. Conversely, go all out and add patterns and crystals. Just make sure to paint the logos on every other nail so your manicure isn't visually weighed down with too many characters.

Stun with a golden French ombré manicure

This is a glam design that won't require short-nailed girlies to grow their talons. With the color fading out from the nail tip to the base, there's no need to draw lines that would emphasize the limited space. 


Per Allure, after coating your nails with a pink-nude base and letting them dry, paint the bottom section of a makeup sponge with your base color then the gold for your tips right above it. Pat this on your nails, ensuring the correct color placement. Repeat these steps for another layer of color on both your nail base and tips for a more opaque effect. 

Feel like Midas with tips dipped in gold

Make your nails appear as if they were dripping in gold with the help of chrome gel and gold chrome powder. From the trendy 3D gold nails that Adele has sported, this look is now updated to cover only the nail tips, as seen on the Prabal Gurung Spring/Summer 2024 runway.


The beauty of this look is you don't need to make uniform square tips or smile lines. Soft abstract shapes actually work best to mimic the look of molten gold. While you'll never go wrong with a pink-nude base, contrast the gold with black or malbec polish for a dramatic effect.