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

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 the hope that next year will see a wider-scale return to salons, we’re starting to hunt around for inspiration. 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 re-created at home should push come to shove but that look sleek and chic enough to leave people guessing.


(Image credit: @IMARNINAILS)

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.”


(Image credit: @BETINA_GOLDSTEIN)



And the best bit is that 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 complements 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.



(Image credit: @BETINA_GOLDSTEIN)

"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.”



(Image credit: @BETINA_GOLDSTEIN)

"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.”




"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 from grabbing too 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.”

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous. Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics. While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best. When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.