A femme-icure is the name for a manicure that allows for maximum style potential but also protects your partner’s parts.
Sometimes colloquially called ‘lesbian nails’, the look is made up of long acrylics on all but two or three nails that are kept short.
The idea is that if you’re indulging in a spot of digital penetration (fingering to you and I) you won’t be at risk of scratching or irritating your partner’s vulva, vagina, or anus.
The pointer and middle fingers are usually cut down, but you’re still free to show off Cardi-B-level designs on the other longer nails.
The femme-icure also gives you the scope to create some topical and fun nail art, focusing on the shorter nails rather than trying to hide them.
And with Pride Month well underway, we’ve rounded up our favourite designs for you to do at home. If you’re not confident with fine details, show your nail tech the pictures for inspiration – they’ll get you parade-prepped in no time.
It wouldn’t be Pride without a big, bright rainbow, and this happens to work great for a femme-icure.
On your index and middle fingers, place a strip of tape diagonally over each nail. On each side, paint your chosen colour from the LGBT+ flag, before peeling off the tape and leaving the middle portion clear.
Then go over with clear polish to finish the look.
For a twist, you could keep two fingers black or white as accent nails contrasting against the Pride flag colours. Alternatively, paint each nail a different colour or go for a neutral shade on eight of your fingers with a few rainbow design accent nails.
These beauties were created for Euphoria star Barbie Ferreira, and highlight how polished a femme-icure can look.
Use a fine brush to paint on a french tip (feel free to play around with colour here) and fill in with polish until the end of the nail.
Before that’s fully dried, use a clean fine brush to create swirls over the top of your original polish. Go for a contrasting shade here for maximum impact.
With the brush or a nail art dotting tool, blend the swirls so the colours look like marble or tie-dye. Then finish with a clear top coat.
If you’re struggling to do the marbling on your shorter nails, leave them bare or go with a block-colour tip instead.
Femme tops and candy pops
This femme-icure is certainly femme, comprising candy pink hues and a stiletto shape.
This half moon design can be achieved using a round sticker as a stencil. You can buy these specifically for nail art, or use paper hole reinforcers (these can be picked up from most stationers).
Cover the base of your nail with the sticker, leaving about three-quarters free, then paint your chosen polish over the exposed area.
Before it’s dry, remove the sticker and clean up any uneven edges with a cotton bud dipped in remover. You can then fill in your half moons or leave it as a negative space manicure.
Corsets, fishnets, and black hearts, oh my
There’s no beating about the bush with this saucy set.
Unless you’re a pro, the intricate corset detailing and checked patterns may be a bit too much to handle – but there’s a way to make the look easier to master at home.
File your longer nails into a pointy stiletto shape, before painting the tips black. Use a fine brush to draw two circles over this, creating a heart shape when filled in.
Let your pointer and middle nails stand out with a glitter polish or chrome effect, and don’t forget to add topcoat to bring out their sparkle.
Writing a letter on each nail is ideal for nails of different lengths.
We love these, which can be recreated using a fine brush and polish in your choice of shades. You may need a few practice runs, but once you get the hang of using your mani as your manifesto, you’ll be hooked.
Don’t forget to use a top coat over your hard work, as this will help you avoid chips while you celebrate Pride.
Although this nail art may look tricky, the beauty of swirls and abstract designs is that you can get away with a few mistakes – just say it’s on purpose.
For these, paint your nail in a colour of your choice and leave to dry. Next, paint a line, circle, or random shape over the top, using a contrasting colour so it stands out.
Use a toothpick or nail art dotting tool to soften these lines, pulling out the colour so no two nails look the same; sort of like making a spider web design in icing. Finish with a top coat and you’re good to go.
A touch of sparkle
If you prefer a more understated look, ask your nail tech for ombre on your longer nails, going from a clear or sheer shade to something deeper and more opaque.
Leave the index and middle fingers bare (aside from a slick of clear polish) or stick a gem or nail transfer onto your accent nails for a bit of sparkle.
Do make sure any embellishments are stuck on tight. You don’t want any stray objects falling off when you’re putting that femme-icure to good use.
Now go forth and celebrate Pride in style. And don’t forget your cuticle oil.