Why the Micro Manicure Is Set to Be the Next Big Thing

Shannon Lawlor
·4-min read

We must admit, while there is something wonderfully therapeutic about sitting down with your at-home mani kit and giving your nails some TLC, we’ve really missed our nail technicians this year. Given the fact that securing any sort of in-salon nail appointment has been virtually impossible (even when the salons are open, slots are like gold dust), 2020 has seen easy-to-execute, simple nail styles reign supreme. Forget intricate art and embellishment, this year, simple block colours and rainbow nails were all we wanted.

However, with hope that next year will see wider scale return to salons, we’re starting to hunt around for inspiration. And while pre-lockdown nail trends were all about artistic designs and intricate shapes, going forward, we’re keen to carry the simplicity of lockdown manis with us. For 2021, we’re after the sort of chic, minimal designs that could potentially be recreated at home should push come to shove, but that look sleek and chic enough to leave people guessing.

Enter the micro manicure. Currently the go-to style for fashion and beauty girls far and wide, the micro mani (otherwise known as the micro French or skinny French) is simple, understated and minimal – and it’s set to be the biggest nail trend of 2021. Nail artist (and champion of the micro French mani), Harriet Westmoreland explains, “A micro manicure is a modern take on the traditional French manicure. The main difference between the two is the thickness of the tip. For a micro French, the tip is painted as thinly as possible, tapering slightly down the side of the nail. It should be painted onto a sheer, natural base colour.”

And the best bit is, the style is totally universal. “It’s become such a popular choice because it’s the most flattering style of manicure, no matter what shape or size your nail bed. When it’s done correctly, it elongates and compliments all nails,” Westmoreland says. And while it is best executed by a professional in a salon, with a bit of patience and practise, you can do it yourself at home, too. “Make sure you set enough time aside because it can be a bit fiddly. Be prepared to practice and spend time prepping the nail. If the prep isn’t right, your polish won’t be either,” she adds.

Keen to give the micro mani a go for yourself? Keep scrolling for Westmoreland’s top tips.


“Prepping the nail is super important. You need the polish to sit neatly and evenly. Gently push any excess cuticle back with a tool and then trim using nippers. Lightly buff over the nail to remove any oils or imperfections.”

Navy Professional Doris Manicure Multi Tool - Curved (£38)

Navy Professional Katey Super Fine Nips (£54)

Tweezerman Neon Hot Buff, Smooth and Shine Block (£12)


“When choosing the base colour, think about which undertones suit your skin tone the most. Choosing a natural nail base is a similar process to matching a tinted moisturiser to your skin. Applying one coat of sheer colour as a base hides any imperfections and smooths the nail, ready for the tip to be painted.”

Serge Lutens Laque Pour Les Ongles Nail Polish in Faux-Semblant 1 (£40)

Nailberry Au Naturel Oxygenated Nail Lacquer (£15)

Nails Inc Gel Effect Nail Polish in Colville Mews (£15)

OPI Infinite Shine Nail Polish in Tiramisu for Two (£16)

Dior Vernis Nail Polish, the Essentials in Muguet 108 (£20)


“To paint the tip, I would recommend using a super-thin liner brush. An old lip brush dipped in remover is great for removing any mistakes you may make, too! Decant the polish onto a mixing pallet or piece of tin foil and work from this with your liner brush, rather than dipping into the bottle – it stops the brush grabbing to much product.You can also tailor the tip to the shape/length of your nail. For example, if your nail is short, you can apply the thinnest line and paint slightly down the sides creating the illusion of a longer nail bed.”

Bdellium Tools Studio Line 706S Fine Point Eyeliner Brush (£7)

OPI Nail Lacquer Neutrals in Alpine Snow (£14)

Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Suburban Warrior (£19)

Christian Louboutin Beauty Matte Nail Color in Aimanta (£38)

Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Faunt-Leroy (£22)

Christian Louboutin Beauty Nail Polish in Crosta Meteor (£25)

Up next, out of all of the beauty launches in 2020, these are the ones I'd repurchase.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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