Thursday, 20 January 2011

Beauty Alphabet - M

M is for Manicure

"The manicured look is essential for good grooming. Before you start, make sure you have all the necessary implements - polish remover, polish, file, orange stick, cuticle pusher, scissors.

First remove all traces of polish and file your nails, working from the outside to the centre. Round the tips, don't make a sharp point. Next soak your fingers in warm soapy water to soften the cuticle, then push it back with your cuticle pusher.

Use a nail varnish that harmonises with your makeup. Remember that two applications last longer than one. Be sure to let one hand dry before lacquering the other.

Gleaming, well-kept nails mean 10 points for beauty. Never, never be careless with your manicure."

(from The Argus, 23 November 1950)

This 1959 article for teenagers from the Australian Women's Weekly, about how to do a home manicure, gives the interesting tip of running a white pencil under your fingernails if you are using a clear gloss. I've never tried that, has anyone else?

Another article from the Women's Weekly, this time from 1950, shows you how to do those lovely vintage nails with the bare moon at the base! It has lots of other tips also, such as:
  • Make your own hand lotion by mixing equal parts glycerin, lemon juice and rose water, and add a little eau-de-cologne. Bottle and shake well before using.
  • Wipe over your nails with a little polish remover after manicuring your nails (before you paint them, obviously).
  • Keep nail-polish brushes trimmed to a clean, straight edge with scissors (I guess they must have been natural bristles in 1950, like a paintbrush).

This article from Life magazine, 1953, looks at new artificial nails. Apparently they are not "glued-on falsies" but made from a plastic substance called Patti-Nail, and even grow with the wearer's own nails, somewhat like acrylic nails today. They were available at Saks Fifth Avenue, applied professionally, and cost $16.50 ($132.00 today).


  1. I am never ever careless with my manicure. Oh no I'm not... Lovely post! jxx

  2. Oh and thank you for reading Baxter Street! I love your blog too and i want to write a book called 'Piroska and the Wolf'! I'm typing really fast because my battery is set to die... jx

  3. Oh yes, please write that book! It would be divine.