The classic vintage half-moon manicure became popular in the 1930s and 1940s due to a need for women to make their manicures last longer. The design has had a resurgence thanks to vintage style icon Dita Von Teese sporting them as her trademark look and it’s a perfect way to finish off a pinup outfit.
Whilst the traditional half-moon manicure meant that the half-moon of your nail is left natural or white, there’s lots of other ways you can wear this design to suit your personality and style.
I teamed up with the talented nail artists at The Art of Nails Sylvia Park to create some variations of the style inspired by some of my favourite vintage screen sirens and modern pinups. The typical nail shape would be a rounder, more almond shape but I do love my stiletto nails despite their slight historic inaccuracy.
With this style, I find a deep, rich red works best so there is good contrast between the colour and natural half-moon. We used OPI Infinite Shine ‘Raisin’ The Bar’ which worked perfectly.
The epitome of a modern woman bringing vintage back to life, Dita is rarely seen without her perfected manicured half-moon nails. More often than not, she opts for a contrast of bright red and a white half-moon which must stand out much better on-stage.
There is also another variation from the 30s as shown in the vintage Cutex ad at the start of this post where not only the moon is painted, but also the tips. This style would definitely require a rounder nail shape and it’s not one that personally I would find practical… The white tips would get dirty and stained too quickly!
I love a bright red for this style which OPI ‘The Thrill Of Brazil’ never fails to deliver and then Orly ‘White Tips’ was used for the half-moon. Experiment with nudes or creams too if you want somewhere in between this and a natural half-moon.
The mistress of fetish, leather, whips and a little bit (ok, a lot!) raunchy, I wanted to create a real statement for the Queen of Pinups. I remember growing up, black nails not nearly as mainstream as they are now and I can’t imagine they were common back in the 50s… but I think if Bettie Page was in her heyday right now, these matte black beauties would be what she would sport- especially for her more risqué photoshoots!
Oh how I love Elizabeth, she has to be one of my all-time favourites. Known for her love of decadent jewels, I came up with this combination as a tribute for her famous collection of sparkles… because a girl can never have too much glitter in her life, right?
I’m a gold girl so chose Orly ‘Luxe’ as the half-moon with OPI ‘An Affair In Red Square’. This would also of course work wonderfully with silver too and is a beautiful option if you’ve got a extra special night out planned.
Last but not least, this style is the furthest deviation from the original classic half-moon but I wanted to create something that really has a modern edge- a ode to the vintage style but with a twist.
Miss Rockabilly Ruby was the perfect inspiration for this- she’s sweet and sassy, fun and glamorous and a vintage gal with a modern flair.
Instead of a round half-moon we did a triangle with OPI ‘Short Story’ and a line of gold Orly ‘Luxe’. This really reminds me of the geometric designs of the Art Deco period so you could definitely switch up the colours for a more 1920s vibe.
For those of you in Auckland, The Art of Nails have salons in Sylvia Park and Albany and I absolutely love going there. The prices are more than reasonable but it’s much more of a experience than cheaper salons. The decor is beautiful, there’s coffee and tea on offer and the staff are friendly. It feels like a treat compared to just being rushed in and out!
If you aren’t in Auckland and are wanting to get your manicurist to try the half-moon manicure, my advice would always be to take along a picture to show your nail tech. Don’t rely on them knowing what you mean by ‘half-moon’, show them a picture so that there’s no miscommunication.
Whatever way you choose to have your nails painted, remember that they are a extension of your personal style, a way for you to express yourself! There’s no rules, if you like the look of something, then just do it!
80% of the time when I get my nails done I opt for a red as I feel like they go with all my outfits but also seem to not get stained too easily working at the salon but I would love to be a little more adventurous with colour.
Thank you to the team at The Art of Nails Sylvia Park for helping me create this fun post! It seemed so tragic removing each one to start the next but it’s given me lots of inspiration of things to try in future appointments.
So what’s your style… Joan, Dita, Bettie, Liz or Ruby?