100 years of Nail Polish

Things are both simpler and more complicated now.

Today when you go to a salon or even at home, you have tons of choices when it comes to your nails. There’s traditional nail polish, but there’s also gel, semi-cured gel strips, acrylics, and even hybrid formulas now. And, they come in hundreds of colors. And, don’t get me started the different kinds of nail art (have you seen the 3D nail decorations yet?). But, go back 100 years and nail varnish was a fairly new product.

1930s nail polish and remover
1930s nail polish and remover. Via: Joe Haupt/Flickr

Even by the 1930s it still was uncommon, and many people assumed that women wearing nail polish were hiding dirty fingernails. So, like so many trends this beauty product was adapted to fit the times and the half-moon manicure was born. Women would paint their nails as usual (there were only a few colors in those days) and remove some polish from the tips to show that their hands were clean. A bit of bare nail at the bottom where there is naturally a half-moon completed the look and allowed the nails to “breathe”.

Via: Glamour/YouTube

Today there’s not one standard for nails, from long to short to highly embellished or neon- anything is possible. But, you can see how these trends have changed over the past 100 years in the video below from Glamour.