Monday, June 14, 2010

Vintage Manicure, a real one please

A still of Joan Crawford from the late 30's with a clear detail of manicure of the time.

An ad for Cutex from 1930's that gives instructions for this type of manicure, just paint the nail skipping the edge and the moon. Accenting the nail edge under neath with a french white pencil. My Grandmother used these, they look like a white drawing pencil that is water soluble, you simply draw underneath the tip of your nail to whiten it.

This ad was located at one of my favorite blogs:

This method works best if your polish is not thick.   If it's thick add a few drops of 100% pure acetone remover [if you use non acetone remover it won't work as well] to your favorite polish and slowly roll the bottle in your hands. Rolling the bottle doesn't add bubble like shaking does, and warmed polish flows better.

I've seen modern attempts to recreate this look with layers of polish painted over french tip tape that is then peeled away. Bravo to them for having such dexterity, I've used this method many many times.

I just don't like seeing sharp edged layers of the nail bed paint left at the moon and nail edge after the tape is peeled off of the nail. It's not nearly as delicate as this time tested method. I prefer the much smoother result of using authentic vintage techniques.

An interesting note on this styles history:

    What first began as a trend in the 30's became a necessity by the time WW2 began. Since all industries were working towards victory in the war with the Allies, cosmetics production practically came to an absolute standstill. Ladies used this style to extend the life of their polish bottle and lengthen the wear-ability of their manicure, although painting the entire nail was done during the 40's, most women, {especially in Europe where the rations were much stricter}, were more careful about rationing their luxury goods during this period.  It would've been considered wasteful to paint your entire nail, unless of course you were wealthy and had a stock pile of luxury goods at your disposal.

Please feel free to post comments about your vintage manicure experiments.  We'd love to hear about it. Thanks.


Stefanie Valentine said...

I have just discovered your blog, it instantly became one of my favourites, it's so informative!

I too use the French manicure tips but they never seem to work, i'm going to try your technique next time.

Forties Fashions said...

Hi Miss Valentine! I was actually reading your blog last week. Thanks so much for the compliment, I appreciate it.

Yes the french tip tape is a hassle. After a few try's of the ol' school method you get used to it and it's much faster.

Anonymous said...

I'm constantly enthralled with your on the spot info that I remember from reading "old" at the time beauty books which I'd known to have saved.

You are truly gifted and doing an immense favor to women with this information. I agree that this was one of the most deliciously feminine eras for women who due to war restrictions on just about everything learned to make do and be glamourous at the same time.

Yes, it takes time. And it makes all women look lovely. Timeless.
And oh so glamourous!

I always wanted to be "Gilda" - now I can. Thank you for a wonderful font of information.

Now,if they'd bring back cake mascara.

~Elizabeth aka Lacquered Lizard said...

NOOOOO! not acetone or polish remover!!! NOOOOOO!!! Use thinner! you'll ruin your polish!