French Tips vs Half Moon vs Ruffian

By | June 5, 2013


The realm of nail art terms can be intimidating, but luckily for you, we’re here to help you find your way! Today we’ll be showing you the difference between french tips, half moon and ruffian nails.

French Tips

A french tip (or french manicure) is where just the tips of your nails are a different colour. Traditionally, this is done with a nude base and white tips, but lacqueristas these days are getting creative with lots of different colour combinations.

For a crisp line, use tape to follow the curve of the tip of your nail.

Half Moon

The half moon style is characterised by a semi circle of contrasting colour at the cuticle end of your nail. It’s sometimes referred to as a reverse french manicure.

Half moon nails can be easily done using paper hole reinforcement stickers from Officeworks.

Ruffian Nails

The ruffian style is so named because they first featured on the runway for Ruffian, a fashion label. Their defining feature is a band of contrasting colour that follows the curve of your nail bed. Confusingly, these are also sometimes called reverse french manicures!

To do a ruffian nail, paint your nails with your base colour. Then paint your nails with your contrasting colour, imagining that your nail bed starts a couple of mm higher up.

Which style is your favourite? What other nail art terms confuse you? Let us know in the comments!


Rosemarie likes video games, possibly because she gets to look at her polished nails while playing them. With a degree in digital design, she’s often forgoing food as she has spent all her meagre designer’s salary on nail polish. She can be found blogging at Every Little Polish and on Instagram (@everylittlepolish).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *