Iconic vintage nail styles


source – Sultry Lady

Iconic nail shapes and manicures have an enduring quality and allure that new shapes such as squaoval and the claw tip, and new nail art such as 3D designs, cannot reach.  In the 1930s when Revlon introduced its classic red nail polish, the crescent tip manicure was in fashion. Pictures of the manicure in a variety of colours appeared in a 1936 edition of Vogue.


Vogue presents crescent tip nails

source – Refinery 29

By the 1940s Revlon were marketing their iconic Fire and Ice campaign – matching lipstick and nail polish, and the almond shaped nails were copied across other manufacturers such as Cutex.

cutextakeabow (1)

Cutex almond shape nails

source – Spring Teen

In the 1950s, Hollywood blockbusting movies with starlets such as Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe featured red half moon manicured nails, and this classic style of manicure has endured.


Dita Von Teese wears Half Moon Manicure

source – Purse Forum

 Iconic vintage nail styles incorporates nail shapes, nail polish colour and nail art or manicures, however, these are the significant trends that have persisted for decades and crossed into a new century. For an iconic, best of the classics, vintage manicure, be sure to wear your crescent tips, almond shapes or half moons!

Keep your pecker up! xx

Contact me or donate to the blog at appletreenails@gmail.com

Bring your 1940s to life click HERE!

Did women wear nail polish during wartime?

“There’s a ruddy war on”

“If you had been wearing nail polish the night before you only took it off your thumb”

The Wartime Memories of a wee WAAF 

I had never considered this particular question of regular women wearing nail polish during wartime before, only that movie icons, and brand adverts depict a range of colours that would match any professional lacquer today. So I decided to do a bit of reading! (Of course!)

In 1937, Revlon started selling nail polish in department stores. By 1940, Revlon offered an entire manicure line, and added lipstick to the collection, being the first brand to introduce matching nail polish and lipstick colours to consumers. During World War II, Revlon created makeup and related products for the US Army, which was honored in 1944 with an award for excellence. During wartime, some cosmetic companies manufactured for the war effort e.g. Revlon factories made first-aid kits and dye markers for the US Navy.

Generally, nails would be painted to match lips in various shades of red and pink although clear varnish, often used as a top coat could also be found. Other colours such as gold became more available after the war when the pressure of rationing started to ease.

So did women wear nail polish during wartime?

From the reading I have done, it seemed to depend on your ‘situation’ before the war. Girls who worked behind the make up counter in department stores continued to ‘find’ nail polish to wear, but it would be saved for special occasions. Women who were billeted to work in munitions and on the land – well it just wouldn’t have been appropriate or worth while. Nail polish did become increasingly hard to come by, as less and less polish was manufactured as glycerin was a main component used in vital munitions, and generally, items that were imported became increasingly hard to obtain where supply ships were bombed and lost at sea . A lot of reading points to how nails were manicured, rounded tips and half moon manicures. Again I think this depended on your ‘situation’. I very much doubt that women had the time or the inclination to worry about obtaining a half moon manicure, which is actually quite difficult and time consuming to achieve successfully! I think a lot of the notion of what nails looked like came from the movie industry of the day, and without a doubt I would imagine the likes of Jane Russell, Ann Sheridan and Rita Hayworth to be sporting a blood red rounded tip (half moon) manicure!




 This question of wartime, women and cosmetics is an enduring one. There are endless blog posts about it (including mine) as well as specialist 1940s Beauty teams for 1940s events and vintage fairs. This may be because Churchill engendered a notion of fighting the enemy by keeping our morale up and looking our best. Magazines and newspapers had an endless flow of hints and tips for scrimping and making your powders and lipsticks last longer. Glamour was propagated as a way of lifting the wearer from the awful reality of war, not just for herself, but for her soldier too.

How much we take for granted the availability of our cosmetics and other sundry feminine items.


'still time for charm'

Boots Number 7

Keep your pecker up! xx

“Apples” Nail Care

"Apples" Nail Care Tips

When I tell people that I’m a Vintage Nail Artist, a lot of girls baulk and scrunch up their face, project their hands and say, “my nails are terrible”, “I don’t have any nails”, “its bad for your nails”, “I don’t have that stuff done,  I bake” amongst a variety of other things! Girls where is your adventurous spirit? Yes indeed, like anything we do to our hair, our skin and our nails, we have to have an almost stringent care programme in order to maintain its healthy sheen. So, have your pink hair, have your fake tan, and have your Vintage Nail Art! Here’s how to do it the Nail way!

  • Remove your nail polish with a cotton wool pad and a good quality liquid remover if you can. I recommend Ciate White Chocolate Gentle Nail Polish Remover…

  • Rinse fingers with water and wipe dry with a soft towel

  • Put a small pea sized amount of cuticle remover onto each nail and using a pusher, clean the nail of pathogens and push back the cuticle. Take this opportunity to remove any remenants of nail polish that are caught along the sides of the nail bed. I recommend Ciate Hangover Cuticle Remover

  • Rinse hands thoroughly with water and dry with soft towel
  • Apply hand and nail cream and smooth into fingers and nails, massaging the hand as you apply. I recommend Vintage Cosmetics Nourishing Hand Cream…

  • Apply cuticle oil generously to your nails and massage into the cuticle area. Repeat this at least 3 times in the first day after removing nail polish. You can continue to apply cuticle oil when nail polish is applied, 1 – 2 times a day. After the removal of gel or acrylic enhancements, cuticle oil should be massaged into your nails 3 times a day stringently to nourish the nail bed and re-moisturise the nail in its entirity. I recommend Ciate Love Me Almond cuticle oil…

It is important that you put some priority on your personal nail care especially if you wear gel or acrylic enhancements regularly, and that also includes Shellac applications. There is always time for manicure!

  • Once cuticle oil has been applied, buff up the nail to a high gloss shine using a quality nail file buffer. Do not file your nail bed with a regular nail file!
    Enjoy your natural nails!

    Keep your pecker up! xx

Published in: on September 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

“Apples” Gel Enhancements – part II

How I feel about
 gel nail enhancements -
 Part II

Doesn’t get much better than

having your boss as your first client!

This was the result:

This time, I found the process went more smoothly. I will still need to bring my skill with gel up to speed, but all in good time. The main questions I have been asked:

What is Shellac and why aren’t you using that?

My answer is that I will be ordering some Shellac which is a CND nail gel treatment. This cannot be used on enhancements, and for this, you do have to defer to traditional nail gels.

If it breaks off can it be repaired?

Of course all professional nail technicians will assess the nail to see if it can be repaired, advising if not, to remove gel, and treat the nail individually.

Can I still have nail art?

Yes you can. Using either Shellac or traditional nail gel treatment, you can ‘sandwich’ nail art between layers of gel.

Why isn’t there any smell or fumes like there is with acrylic?

Gel is a different product that is pre-mixed – think of it like nail polish. There may be a hint of fumes from finishing wipe, but that is all.

Coming up soon, more gel nails and how to take it off!

Keep your pecker up! xx

Published in: on September 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Hands of Today (1941) can be both Beautiful and Busy!

A Second World War call to women to work!

During the Second World War, women were mobilised to join the war effort in ways that would previously have been unreachable to them. The women of the ’40s were usually housewives and mothers. Finding themselves working the land, working in munitions, ferrying military planes between airfields and flying barrage balloons, these women proved themselves courageous, and competent. However, in a rebuke against Hitlers morale busting bombings in particular between September 1940 and May 1941, these women were determined to look their best while they worked! Wearing flying jackets and red lipstick, dungarees and Victory rolls, the women of the war effort were both beautiful and busy!

It is remarkable that these women rose to the call at this time. Women who were not considered competent enough to vote  until 1928 (over the age of 21) were now being asked to manufacture bombs, fly Spitfires and Hurricanes, and become members of our Armed Forces.

All efforts by the women of Great Britain contributed toward Victory in Europe. By 1945, more than 2.2 million women were working in the war industries, building ships, aircraft, vehicles, and weaponry. Women also provided logistic support for soldiers and entered professional areas of work that were previously the preserve of men. In the Allied countries thousands of women enlisted as nurses serving on the front lines. Thousands of others joined defensive militias at home and there was a great increase in the number of women serving in the military. From the Womens Voluntary Service to women ARP wardens, on the Homefront, women were proving to be a veritable force .

All jobs were important…

Civil Defence…

And in all of this work it only took 5 minutes to give yourself a manicure.

These women were the beautifully presented, professionals of the Second World War, and if they could do it then, we can do it now.


Keep your pecker up! xx

For some inspiration, why not read Spitfire Women of World War II by Giles Whittell (non-fiction), or You Are My Sunshine by Katie Flynn (fiction).

My journey with Gel Enhancements – part 1

After much debate, I have decided to dispense with CND acrylic nail application, and venture into Gel Enhancements instead. On recommendation from another nail technician, I’m going to go with Ez gel brand, but first for some training with a less expensive brand. So here is my journey…

Step 1 Research
 Having trained in Acrylics but having a keen desire
 to find a healthier more natural looking alternative
 I stumbled upon the notion to learn Gel nails
 whilst out purchasing False Eyelashes with my daughter.
 Once home I cranked up the PC and looked for the following:

 1. Gel Application
 2. Gel Application with Tips
 3. Products and Recommendations
 4. What other Nail Techs Think!
 5. How to remove Gel Nails

Step 2 Practice Application

Gel nails (pink) with white tips

My first application was ever so slightly ‘trial and error’ but I don’t think they turned out too badly, although suffice to say I need to watch my application skills as gel reacts very differently to nail polish and acrylic liquid & powders.

Before I began the application, I did make sure that I knew how to remove gel as what continuously never ceases to amaze me is the amount of girls I talk to who have no idea how to get their gel and enhancements off! I seem to recall that it wasn’t given a great deal of consideration at my nail technician training either which disappoints me.

I also wanted to make sure that I had all of the correct tools. Brands are something that I will venture into with practice, but having to hand lint free gauze pads, Q-tips, orange sticks, acetone, varying grit files, cuticle tools, tweezers and a cup of tea was a must!

So first stage completed, on my ‘to do’ list now is research into UV Lamps, Gel Brands, and application hints and tips from experts.

Keep your pecker up! xx

Summer Nail Effects


 Without further ado, here is the summer inspired nail art, a blend of summer colour polishes and effects for that essential summer nail glamour feeling…

Nail Effects to Buoy up the British Summer!

Fur Effect Nails


Fluffy Puff nails by Appletree Days

Fur effect is a new nail treatment which gives your nails a very fluffly looking, soft feel! Easy to apply, just use with a clear base coat or with a similar shade of base coat polish, roll the nail into the ‘fur’! The effect is actually surprisingly durable, and can last up to 3 days considering the ‘fluffiness’ loss when hands are put into water. Give it a try!


Ombré Nails

Ombré patterned nails are very much the ‘it’ thing in the nail world. The French word ombré means “shaded,” and in fashion it means anything that starts with one colour and then slowly blends into another. This can be tones of the same colour, or by using 2 or 3 very different colours. Achieved by painting polish onto a sponge in colour grades and then ‘rolling’ onto your nail (any product that ‘lands’ on your skin can be easily removed with acetone afterwards), and once this is dry, applying a high gloss Top Coat. End product…Wow! Summer nails to brighten the rainiest day.

                       Sourced at Much Carattere

Tikki nails

For those “hot” summer nights in the garden with the BBQ and the lanterns, bring your Tikki Fever nails to the party. California’s World Fair or the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939 celebrated Polynesian and South Pacific culture in the United States for the first time and the theme of this Fair was “Pageant of the Pacific” primarily showcasing the goods of nations bordering the Pacific Ocean. When American soldiers returned home from World War II, they brought with them stories and souvenirs from the South Pacific. At once, the girls had flower garlands, exotic flowers in their hair, and brightly coloured dresses.

Tikki Nails by Appletree Days

Swarovski Crystal nails

A relatively new trend in nails since 2011, the ultimate high class high shine nails!  Swarovski in Austria manufacture crystal luxury items as part of their business, and to create crystal glass that lets light refract in a rainbow spectrum, the trademark quality of these crystals, Swarovski coats some of its products with special metallic chemical coatings. Aurora Borealis, or “AB”, is one of the most popular coatings, and gives the surface a rainbow appearance.

Sourced from Cool Nails Art

Nails Inc. Mirror metallic

Mirror shine summer nails, the colourful high gloss, shiny, reflective, chrome-effect polish to boost even the dullest day. This is a truly opulent nail effect for girls who want to have fun!

Sourced from Willa’s Shiny Tips

 Stiletto nails

Stiletto nails or ‘cat-claw’ nails are the newest fashion nail shape borne out of the celebrity world. Long, curved, animalistic talons, sharped to a point and painted bright colors, these are the nail shapes coveted by celebrity fans.

Sourced from Lol Nail Courses

Ciaté Velvet Nails

The brand new nail effect from Ciaté who brought us the Caviar Manicure. Make your nails look luxurious, smooth, matt, and sumptuous giving the impression of indulgent and expensive living!  The only way to spend your summer is to lavish your nails in velvet!

 Sourced at Ciaté

A few of the best summer nail effects to try on rainy days, but just in case you hit the beach, don’t forget to give yourself a pedicure too!

One more thing sweeties…

Keep your pecker up! xx

Bridal Manicures

The lovely new Dotty Vintage Weddings also includes The Dotty Directory for all your vintage wedding needs and I love this! So without further ado, here is my guest blog post for Laura.

Your Magical Manicure for your Enchanting Day

Bridal nails are a magical part of the bridal trousseau, that beauteous gold band is being placed on your 3rd finger left hand, and it will enchant everyone around you. Your  luxury manicure can bring some extra charm to your day…leaving you feeling pampered and primped and ready to say ‘I do’.

A lot of Western brides opt for natural nails, a traditional French polish thought to have originated in 18th-century Paris and popular in the 1920s and 1930s, it is the very paragon of elegance and chic to wear for that special day.


French Manicure by Appletree Days


A more modern twist on the French polish is the addition of nail art to the “ring finger” that enhances the focus of attention on to the wedding band.

gel 2

Gel nail enhancements by Appletree Days

In 1954, Fred Slack invented the first artificial nail as a realistic-looking temporary replacement. After experiments with different materials to perfect his invention, he and his brother, Tom, patented a successful version and started the company Patti Nails. For brides who don’t feel that their nails are in good condition for a variety of reasons, fortunately because of Fred Slack, there are nail enhancements that can achieve the French polish look in a much more glamorous way.


CND Nail Enhancements by Mad Makeup by Madeline


But why not be a unique bride, and try a little bit of something new: Available from Selfridges, the Ciate Caviar Manicure can be a very 3D and tactile polish for your special day.


Caviar Manicure by Ciate


 Or how about using Zoya natural nail polish to achieve a very healthy and nourishing manicure. Zoya has been awarded as the longest wearing natural nail polish by an independent panel in Women’s Health Magazine and  is a nail polish free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalates) and camphor, specifically formulated to deliver the longest wear possible on natural nails. Zoya suggest that the secret to selecting the perfect wedding nail polish shade lies in your skin tone. Go for cool toned polish if your skin’s natural colouring shows signs of pink or blue, and warm toned polish if your colouring leans more yellow or gold. One ‘bridal’ tone from their collection is ‘Sabrina’.

Zoya nail polish ‘Sabrina’ by the Beauty Look Book


 If Victorian sci-fi fantasy is the theme of your wedding, then Steampunk Nail Art is your manicure: using nail art tools to create a special effect that is as unique as you are. Give your nails the steampunk treatment…think gothic futuristic innovations in a Victorian fantasy, make a statement, make a declaration of individuality!


 Parisienne by Appletree Days


 For that snowy winter wedding, why not show your Crystal Colours: Rachel from Glam Glam Nails can apply crystals and glitter as the confetti to your wintery wonderland.

Winter Wedding by Glam Glam Nails


Finally, to match that elegant and ethereal lace dress, why not apply some real lace to your nails, a very delicate and romantic manicure for that magical day.


 Lace & Pearl nails* source Girlybubble


 There are many ways to have more magic in your day. Your bridal manicure is as individual as you are. Make your day a woven enchantment of dreams and fairytales. It all begins at your fingertips.


Carol Ann Duffy


Your Magical Manicure for your Enchanting Day by Venessa Harris of Appletree Days

Fifties hod rod the nail glamour way

Hot Rod was the 1950s craze for cars that had been modified for speed!

and why not have some hot rod nail glamour!

Pompous 'hot rod' nails

Yellow hot rod car

Nails 'On Fire'

And I couldn’t leave 1950s nail glamour without featuring the #vintagenailglamour homage to the Poodle skirt…

Delving into the 1950s culture has been really interesting. Looking back on the 1950s rebels, the Greasers and Teddy Boys, and the fashion for teenage girls, I have deliberately side stepped the 1950s Perfect Housewife aspirations! So on the 50th Anniversary of the loss of the beautiful and glamorous and undomesticated goddess Marilyn Monroe…

Keep your pecker up! xx

What Would Audrey Do?

Browsing the Library in the seaside town of Burnham-On-Sea, I came across this little gem! Browsing the library is more for nourishment of the soul than needing to find a book to read (I always have a back store of several books usually from Waterstones good to go!), because of the way being around books makes me feel …essentially, calm. So anyway, there I was just taking in my surroundings and this pink book just lept out at me in the metaphorical sense of course!

‘What Would Audrey Do?

Pamela Keogh

Being a bit of a long term Madonna fan, I’ve always gone with the old adage ‘What would Madonna do?’ faced with any conundrum, so with Miss Hepburn being the very antithesis of everything about Madonna, of course I was curious. The clue was in the subtitle: ‘Timeless Lessons for Living with Grace and Style’.

I am torn as to what I think about this book. Essentially, I feel its a harmless bit of fun, a life coaching book, using the beautifully associated name of Audrey Hepburn to appeal to a certain reader. It worked for me!

So here are a few snippets of advice based on Audrey’s own life – marked by challenges such as growing up without a father, surviving the Nazi threat and deprivation in WWII, unfaithful husbands, 2 divorces and living under constant scrutiny from the media. Of course it is also based on her inimitable film career, and her reputation for being the paragon of chic.

Stardom or popularity: ‘Be memorable….Be Modest…’

Dating: ‘I have more sex appeal on the tip of my nose than many women have in their entire bodies. It doesn’t stand out a mile, but it is there’ – Audrey Hepburn.

The “Romance Central” chapter includes advice on attraction and terminating a relationship, flirting, respect and keeping a clear head. There is a nice little section on “Plan B:-If he has no interest in saying “I Do”..”

Raising children: ‘I was born with an enormous love of people, of children. I loved them when I was little! I used to embarrass my mother by trying to pick babies out of prams at the market. The one thing I dreamed of in my life was to have children of my own’ – Audrey Hepburn.

This chapter is about Audrey as a daughter, and as a mother. ‘In 1988, she recalled, “I had to make a choice at one point in my life, of missing films or missing my children.”‘

How to travel: ‘Face it, if you are going to have to take your shoes off before you pass through security, you want your feet looking sharp! You know Audrey would have. And did.’ I like this idea of maintaining your own personal auro of first class style the Audrey way!

Philanthropy: ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.’ If you didn’t already know, in 1988 Audrey was asked to serve as Special ambassador for the United Nations Childen’s Fund. Her devotion to UNICEF is awe inspiring.

So if your question to yourself is whether to get your tattoo, come on…audrey did not even have her ears pierced!

Girls if you want some tongue in cheek advice on how to deal with life the Audrey way, this one is for you. And don’t forget…

Keep your pecker up! xx

Keogh, P. (2008) ‘What Would Audrey Do?’ Aurum Press Ltd. London