Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30s style manicure

A Cutex ad from the 1930s
The other day I saw a story on about how to do a 1930s manicure. I wondered about this as it had never occurred to me that 1930s women would've done anything that required how-to lessons. But reading on and doing some Internet research I discovered that the chic 1930s lady did do something really interesting with their nails. 

Dita von Teese with a 1930s style manicure

Ladies of the Art Deco and Great Depression era used to paint just the centre of their nails, leaving the half moon cuticle and tips of their nails bare. Towards the end of the decade, they left only the half moon cuticle bare and painted all the way to the tip. Colours ranged from corals and reds to greens and the popular shape was an almond shape. You can read more about it here.

I'm fond of vampy nails and unexpected colours like grey, bright green or orange lately and I've never had even a french manicure, so I thought I might try this edgy retro look. 

MAC Nail Lacquer in Vintage Vamp,
Sally Hanson Complete Salon Manicure Polish in Polar Bare
 and french manicure nail stickers
What you'll need:
  • Base coat
  • Bottom colour (a light shade like white or fleshtone)
  • French manicure stickers (available wherever nail products are sold)
  • Top colour (red, coral or burgundy if you want to keep it authentic)
  • Top coat
The first step is to apply a base coat and allow it to dry. Then you'll want to paint your light shade all over your nail. You can use any light colour, sheer or opaque. Try a pearly pink, peach or white. I had hoped the white shade I'd bought was more opaque but it did what I needed it to.

Let the polish dry and then let it dry some more. You'll be putting stickers on top of the polish so it needs to be as hard as possible. 

Next, place your french manicure nail stickers - one on your nail tip and one along your half moon cuticle. This is much easier to do on your non-dominant hand so you might want to get someone to help you. I'm right-handed so the finished nails on my right hand aren't as clean as the nails on my left hand. This is probably something that comes with practice as those of you who do your own french manicures probably know!

Press the stickers down so they adhere to the skin and the nails as closely as possible. You don't want any of the darker shade to seep or bleed underneath the stickers. 

Your nails should look something like this once the stickers are in place.

Kinda cool-looking, right?

Apply the darker shade, overlapping the stickers slightly, with as many coats as needed to get the effect you want. Allow the polish to dry in between coats completely but after you've applied your final layer, you want it to almost completely dry before you remove the stickers.

This is my hand with one coat of Vintage Vamp applied.

When your nails are almost completely dry, carefully peel off the stickers. 

Here is my finished hand. I always end up getting polish on my skin but in the morning when I shower, it peels off. With a Q-tip dipped in polish remover I cleaned up the mess a little for the photos though.

It's a very cool look as well as being retro, although I bet no one would guess that it's retro.

I did a more traditional 30s manicure but of course, this look can be done with any combination of colours. What about using black as your base and green on top? Or yellow and orange? 

I love this look, what do you think?

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