Pretty nails, 1902 edition: A vintage step-by-step manicure how-to

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Pretty nails, 1902 edition A step-by-step manicure how-to (2)
Vintage manicure how-to: Fair fingers self-acquired

Woman’s latest whim is to perfect herself in the art of manicuring, not because she ever expects to become a professional, but so she may perform the task for herself if so minded.

In many cases her equipment is very elaborate, a Royal Worchester or cut glass bowl for the tepid water, the daintiest perfume obtainable, and polisher, file and scissors ornamented with gold. More often, however, the manicure sets are of silver.

For the woman who manicures her own nails as a question of economy, there are implements which do the work as well as the gold-finished sets and are inexpensive.

There must be the orange wood stick and a steel instrument to assist in removing the cuticle, as well as the other appurtenances already mentioned. A complete outfit includes pink paste, lacquer and a camels-hair brush with which to apply it. There is a new paste, of a pink color, which now takes the place of the powder and paste which formerly were used to polish the nails.

It is an easy matter to be one’s own manicure, even though a trifle awkward, on account of the fact that only one hand is able to do the work.

Pretty nails, 1902 edition A step-by-step manicure how-to (1)

Pretty nails: A step-by-step manicure how-to

The first step is to prepare the tepid water. In it is poured a few drops of a perfumed preparation intended to soften the cuticle.

Before soaking the fingertips in the water, the nails should be filed. Contrary to the general belief of the amateur manicure, it is easier to file and shape them properly before they are softened with the water.

Pointed nails are out of date. When filed, they should be rounded and slightly longer than the fingertips. After the cuticle is softened by holding the fingers in the water, it must be removed. For this, the orangewood stick is sufficient, although many also use a sharp steel instrument in addition.

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To do this requires much care, or it will scratch the nails. Its use is to entirely remove the softened cuticle which grows over the nail. With the orangewood stick, the cuticle is simply pushed back from the nail carefully in order to leave no ragged edge. The amateur should dispense with the steel [nail file], since only the practiced hand can use it successfully.

After the filing, the polishing is in order. The old way, using paste over which powder is sprinkled in order to produce a very high polish, is abandoned. Paste alone, a new preparation, is now used, and the nails are polished. The beginner is certain to attempt to polish all the nails at once, as a matter of saving labor. Better results are secured by polishing one at a time. Afterward, each nail may be lacquered in order to preserve the polish as long as possible.

If there are any loose bits of skin, they may be cut off with the scissors. It is a mistake, however, to use the scissors too freely. If possible, they should be dispensed with altogether, since much snipping of the skin around the nails causes it to harden in time and ruin the appearance of the finger ends.

Many persons have the idea that the shape of the finger ends may in time be entirely changed by a persistent course of manicuring. This idea is erroneous.

Frequently, women have destroyed the beauty of their hands by trying to transform with the scissors the blunt, thick finger ends that belong on the practical or elementary hand into the dainty or tapering fingertips of the psychic or purely artistic temperament. They did not know that their finger ends were a key to their characters, and so snipped away every possible bit of skin at the sides of the nails until, as result, the finger ends became calloused and larger than before.

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There is a marked difference in the way men view the manicure as compared with a few years ago. Men who in the not remote past depended on their penknives and their own skill with the same to put their finger nails in proper condition now regularly patronize the manicures. Indeed, many are more particular as to the manner in which their nails are cared for than are the women. In many of the establishments in which manicuring is done, men are the best patrons.

Pretty nails A step-by-step manicure how-to from 1902

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