How to Paint Your Fingernails Like a 1940s Pin-Up Girl

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Red is a classic retro nail polish color.
Red is a classic retro nail polish color. (Image: Paul Tearle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The pin-up girls of the 1940s, with their perfectly coiffed hair and vividly painted fingernails, were the ultimate vixens. Deep red was a favorite nail polish color at the time, as were other dark hues, such as reddish-brown, navy blue, and black, since it was the style for women to coordinate their nail polish color with their clothing color. A popular nail style was the half-moon manicure. To achieve that look, but with a modern twist, consider using a color other than the classic deep red.

Things You'll Need

  • Dark nail polish
  • Light nail polish
  • Clear nail polish
  • Round paper hole reinforcement

Paint your entire fingernails in the color that you want the half-moon portion, or lanula, of your nails to be. The lunula is the crescent-shaped whitish area at the bottom of each fingernail, near the cuticle. Use a color such as light pink or creamy white. For a modern, edgy look, use a color like silver or taupe. Apply two coats of the polish. Let your nails dry completely.

Place a round paper hole reinforcement over the lunula of each fingernail. Make sure that the paper hole is near your cuticle to create the perfect half-moon shape.

Paint the uncovered part of each fingernail with a dark-colored nail polish. Red was the traditional nail polish color worn by 1940s pin-up girls, but consider trying a different color, such as blue or black. Remove the paper hole reinforcement when finished. Let your nails dry completely.

Add a shiny, clear top coat of polish to each fingernail to pump up the glossiness and help make your nail color last longer.

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