29 November 2011

Nail Art History:The Half Moon Manicure a.k.a The lazy way

A couple of weeks ago I did a post, admit it a long one about The Full Moon Manicure. Instead of me writing it out all over again, you can read it here:The Full Moon Manicure . For those of you who can't be bothered to read my obscenely long post and see my attempt at decent nails, don't worry I don't blame you, I will give you a quick recap. The Full Moon Manicure was very popular in the twenties, leaving the tip of the nail and the moon shape at the bottom of the nail bare. It was seen as vulgar and unladylike to cover the whole nail. The main colour available was red but over the years more colours were introduced ranging from reds, light pinks and deep crimsons. So that's the twenties nail look in a nutshell.

So now I've got the nail polish and the hole re-inforcers out again(honestly WH Smith what would I do without you?) and I'm going to try the 30's nail trend,The Half Moon Manicure. Basically it is the easier, lazy, I'd rather watch Eastenders way of trying the nail trend. Throughout the decade, the ideal nail shape was an almond shape. This was the classical nail shape and is filed away at the sides and softly pointed at the tip. Note, if you are a frequent nail bitter like myself, you can't really do this shape and you will have to keep those choppers away from them for a while. Some women still did the Full Moon Manicure, but the girls who would rather spend there time at the cinema watching Clark Gable did the Half Moon. I know which category I would fall into.

The main colour really was red, but an actual variety of shades were available and used, more then in the late 20's. All reds from rosy to deep crimson were still popular, but pinks were also very much seen in the 30's. But sadly bright neon pink still wasn't available, sorry ladies. Another set of colours around were peachy-browns and tawny colours that looked nice with suntans. Here is a bit of a nail varnish time line:
1932-Cutex colours, a popular nail varnish brand had their main shades as Natural, Rose, Coral, Cardinal and Colourless.
1935-Revlon introduced 'Sun Rose' and 'Chestnut' as their summer colours.
1936-Cutex named the 'smartest colours' for 1936 as Rose, Ruby and Rust.
1937- Cutex introduced 'Old Rose', 'Burgundy'.
1937-Glazo's 'Misty Tints' favoured by 'gay young moderns' included Shell, Old Rose(a subtle smoky rose), and Thistle-a misty beige-rose.
1938-Cutex colours were 'Heather'-a deep smoky rose with a hint of purple, 'Laurel'-a subtle grayed pink, 'Clover'- a deep winy red, 'Tulip'-a fresh true crimson, 'Robin Red'- a 'true' red and 'Rust Russet'-a misty red with a subtle brown undertone'.

As you can tell over the years the colours that were available varied from reds,pinks and browns. These were still all very subtle shades. Advice regarding nails were in beauty and etiquette books. Helena Rubinstein a.k.a the Dalia Lllama of cosmetics in the 30s, advised in 1936 what colours to wear with what dresses. Sadly they didn't have Look magazine to help them out in those days.
 Natural nails-best with red and pastels; geranium shades with black, white and yellow.
Poppy colours-Navy and purple
Terracotta-Green, brown and rust.
This was the decade were women started co-ordinating and matching their makeup with their clothes. Cutex was the first company to sell matching lip colours with nail colours.
The colours blue, green, silver and gold were even available, but they weren't widely used.
Chanel Half Moon nailsA 1932  Cutex advert suggested that 'the smart woman today....varies her nail tint with her gown' They gave a long list of what colours would go with their colours, so women were constantly changing their nail colour to go with their clothes. Blimey a hell of a lot of nail varnish remover must have been sold that decade.

The half moon manicure is popular even now, a lot more then the Full Moon which isn't seen that widely. Probably because it takes forever to do. It has been adapted a lot and is now used with a huge range colours. It has been seen recently at Phillip Lim and Chanel. Of course Chanel take it up a notch with having their logo in gold stamped on them. Talk about good advertising. Dita Von Teese, the Queen of Vintage who has been wearing the look for the past twenty years, even has her own false nail range with the half moon manicure being her first style.

So I have decided to do one of the popular colours in the 30's to make them more authentic, even though I am desperate to try out the style in a rainbow of colours. I began by putting 'No7 So Smooth Base Coat' on the nails which improves wear and conditions the nail. I then cut the hole reinforcers in half and stuck them on my nails, this sounds easier then it is. I have many halves on my bed that I have moved about so much that they have lost all their stickiness. I decided to do one hand at a time after failing to do two hands at once with the Full Manicure.
I then painted my nails with Revlon 950 Amethyst Shell. Even though I have a pretty big collection of colours, I don't really have any pale pinks or browns. I'm more of a turquoise, pastels and emerald green kinda gal. So as usual when I need help the Mummy Second hand Rose came to the rescue and let me nose around in her makeup draw to find a colour I could use. Mummy Second Hand Rose is a pale pinks, shimmers and browny purple kinda woman. So with her kindly letting me borrow her Revlon varnish I then applied two coats and did my best to not touch anything in between coats or after. I'm useless at waiting and I always end up smudging it or just completely messing it up. Thankfully a good episode of Diagnosis Murder was on, which stopped me from reaching for my phone or knitting.

 I then carefully took off the stickers hoping that it worked and the nail varnish hadn't leaked through. Well I was actually quite pleased with myself, it hadn't smudged,moved or just completely obliterated. Some of the half moon's were a bit small, I guess it just takes practise to work out the measurements. I used one of those things you use to get dirt out of your nails to carefully remove a bit of it to make the moon bigger, you could also use a cocktail stick. I then put nail varnish remover on an ear bud and made sure the moon was clean and prominent. I put another coat of the No7 Base Coat on, when I did the Full Moon's adding this seemed to stop the nails chipping quickly. That and I'm too tight to buy a top coat. I think they look pretty good even if I say so myself. Mind you anything that isn't all over the rest of my finger looks good to me.

Remember to add me on Twitter at Second_HandRose and follow me. Have fun with your nails and Father Christmas if you are listening, I think I'm gonna need some more hole re-inforcers pretty soon.

Second Hand Rose


  1. I saw someone on the metro in Rome yesterday who actually had a half moonanicure with black moons and Chanel stickers on the rest of the nail! Never seen it before. You're nails look lovely btw in the picture. X x x

  2. Great tutorial, may try this :)



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