Monday, 2 August 2010

Illamasqua Prism + 1930s nail polish

So it works as a layering polish (see yesterday).
I think it works on its own. I know many people won't agree. But if you don't have it you won't know how secretive it is. It hides its personality better than Anthony Blunt managed to conceal his espionage activities and become Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures!

  • Because it's sheer I tend to slop it about hence the cuticle mess
  • The tips are also own to my lackadaisicality (I'm not sure there is a noun for it)
  • I thought I'd whiten the undernail but the polish migrated northwards
That Eyeko Rain is my new BEST BLUE. Not just best light blue. Best-ever blue. And I've got some good blues. It doesn't give me lobster-claws and it isn't streaky. You can't say fairer....

I like history. 
I like nail polish.
I'm going to do nail polish history.
Vix is doing a bostin' blisterin' series on 20th century fashion and I can't hope to emulate her fantasticity but I'm going to go ahead with my mini-project.

Ancient Egyptians - herbs and beeswax and stuff produced pink/red nails - the darker the pigment the higher the social status
Ancient Chinese - pretty much the same but they also used gold and silver to enhance their nails

Moving on swiftly to the 1920s and car paint...
That's how it started. Car paint.

20s and 30s - polish widely available and no longer a cast-iron guarantee that you were a lady of easy virtue. Nails were long and pointy.

Tips and half-moons weren't painted and you can see from the chart that polish wasn't restricted solely to pink and red. It became fashionable to accessorise with clothing colour.

Just to prove that respectable (!!!) women could wear nail polish - bankers' wives.

Both ads are from the 30s and I don't think I've nicked them shamelessly or illegally but, if I have, I apologise and will credit/remove them.

Tomorrow - more original nail polish advertising and car paints. All will become clear.



  1. liquid polish, only 35 cents... haha, I wish they'd still sell them at those prices :D

  2. How fascinating. I never realised nail polish started as car paint. You live and learn.
    I'd love you to do a challenge with vintage cosmetics and the advertising of them.
    Vix xxx

  3. Trouble is you need the right nail length and shape to recreate these looks. And I just don't.

    I'm madly searching out all the advertising though. And it ties in with clothing fashions, of course!

  4. Love the color chart--have not see orange called "yellow red" before. :)

  5. This is so cool!!! I can totally see a banker's wife wearing bright cardinal cutex nails.

  6. Interesting stuff! I never read anything about the history of nail polish before.