Time to log back into Mxit because the French manicure is back, thanks to Beyoncé, Normani, and Bonang

Photo by J. Countess
Photo by J. Countess

The 20s may just be comeback season for many trends in the worlds of fashion and beauty. As we all know very well, trends are cyclical; hence the return of certain fads is not as much about nostalgia as it is about following the cycle. 

In a previous W24 article unpacking why trends are never really new, it was noted that various trends make a comeback "to harken back to iconic moments in history."

READ MORE: Fashion industry unmasked: why trends are never really new 

In this article, it was also mentioned how the '90s made a comfortable return in the latter years of the 2010s the same way "figure belts, Vans, huge earrings and mirrored sunglasses reminiscent of the '80s were a major trend alert in the late 2000s." 

And now that we mention the late 2000s, it's time to take a look at one of the trends from this mp3 era that seems to be clawing its way back to relevance - the traditional natural French manicure. 

Gasp! What in the 2009 Matriek Afskeid is happening? 

french manicures

Writer's own image.

Yep, just about 10 years later, these Mxit nails are back, and celebrities have been slowly embracing the return of the trend in Hollywood right where it all started. This manicure did, however, get a slight makeover circa 2017 when nail technicians were playing with colour and the ombre effect, but that's not what we're talking about here. We're referring to the white-tip-and-natural-base look.

According to Refinery29, the founder of Orly nail polish, Jeff Pink, was the brains behind the French manicure in the '70s as a "response to the movie sets that were bogged down by the task of changing an actress' nail color for every costume change she made." 

Could that be the reason why the same people ushering in this manicure's return are mega A-listers who have back-to-back appearances, gigs, and awards ceremonies to attend? 

Beyoncé, who arrived an hour late to this year's Golden Globe awards (with French tips no less), is the same star who had us impressed by the fact that she changed her nail colour along with one of her costume changes during her wondrous Beychella performance in 2018. It was most likely press-ons - which are also back in vogue for their convenience by the way - but the point is that necessity is the mother of invention, and high profile celebrities no longer have capacity to go from one Gelish shade to the next over a short period of time. 

Not to mention, that's super harmful for your nails. 

So with the exposed thong, bucket hats, platform sandals, and lip liner all securing their comebacks (among other trends popularised by your favourite Afrikaans teacher), it seems 2020 will be the year the French manicure also takes flight. 

READ MORE: Welcome back to the early 2000s, because the return of the exposed thong is here  

Now we take a look at some celebrities who have been showing off this classic, yet polarising nail trend recently: 

Bella Hadid 

The model was spotted rocking a French mani several times in 2019.


In late 2019 and again in 2020, Bey is showing us there's nothing wrong with going back to basics. 


On the Target 20th Anniversary Collection red carpet as well as at the Harper's Bazaar icons party in 2019. Yes, even Gen Z is on board. 


Ariana Grande

Proudly clutching an award in 2019 with her white tips.

Paris Jackson 

Short and natural at the amFAR Gala 2019. It probably also helps that her fingers are punctuated by tattoos. 


Paris Hilton

An early 2000s 'It' girl and pop culture icon, so of course she's an early adopter of anything returning from that era. 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 08: Paris Hilton arrive

Karrueche Tran 

At the 2017 Golden Globe Awards. There's really something about the pairing of tattoos and this manicure, right?

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Actress Karrueche


Doing Summer '19 like it's Summer '09... elegantly so. 

Mo Abudu 

Even the women who make magic behind the scenes are in on this trend, and executive producer Mo Abudu is proof.

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 08: Executive Producer Mo

Will you be asking your nail tech for a French mani at your next appointment? 

Images: Getty

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