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The question

Once and for all, is the French manicure passé? I say yes, but my girlfriend says it's classic. Who's right?

The answer

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The reason I think so many people have a distaste for the French mani is that it looks artificial and outdated. Thanks to the rise of the acrylic nail, it was extremely popular in the 1990s, encompassing everything from airbrushed snow-white tips to star and stripe patterns at ridiculous lengths – looks that, I would agree, have had their moment in the spotlight.

These days, the trend is toward short manicured nails in deeper, richer colours, which are appropriate for both night and day. If you're stuck on the white-tip look, however, an alternative to the French mani is its cousin to the west, the American manicure. The difference is in the application. The white tip goes on first and the sheer beige top coats follow, offering a more subtle, subdued effect.

Bahar Niramwalla is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty specialist on The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV. Have a beauty question? E-mail

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