Want Longer Looking Nails? Ask for an Italian Manicure
From early royal beginnings to a modern art form, manicures have been a constant in the maintenance and appearance categories for all genders. Next time you go to the salon, shift east of France and opt for an Italian manicure instead.
- Manicures have been around for thousands of years and originally denoted class
- There are a few treatments, including the Italian manicure, that make your nails look longer
A Brief History of Manicures
A manicure is defined as a cosmetic treatment for the hands, often involving the painting of the fingernails. Manicures have been documented as far back as 3500 BC. Men in ancient Babylonia used kohl to paint their nails, using various shades to denote social strata. While the poorer classes wore green, the wealthier classes wore black. Additionally, they produced the first and most expensive manicure kit ever, including tools made of real gold.
Later, in Egypt, Nefertiti popularized manicures for women around 1360 BC, which endured through the time of Cleopatra. In Egypt, nails were also a symbol of wealth and power with bolder colors communicating higher status; however, the incorporation of rich oils into the treatment added a layer of luxury to the process, which still defines manicures to this day.
Around the 15th century in China, manicures again evolved. Experimenting with new materials, they mixed together egg whites, wax, and natural dyes from vegetables and other materials to create different colors. Though still primary for the ruling class, this new range of cheaper, more accessible materials allowed manicures to become more widespread.
Things in the world of manicures really took off in the early 1900s due to the industrial revolution, and nails began to resemble the manicures we have available today. Growing international trade made materials from around the world suddenly accessible for processing and transport, and this, paired with global marketing techniques, set the stage for a lasting industry, evident by the fact that nail care in the US alone has an estimated 15 billion dollar+ market value for 2022.
1. French manicure
To make this design, paint a light neutral or clear base, then add the classic white crescent at the tip of each nail. If white is not your thing, you could try a different color to spice things up. Maybe even a different color for every nail, or add a design that plays with the shape.
The origin of the French manicure is the traditional French tip nail, which has recently seen a major comeback. This style, despite the name, did not originate in France. It actually comes from 1975 Hollywood.
2. Italian manicure
You will be happy to learn about the Italian manicure if you lack in the nail bed department. It lengthens the appearance of short nails and fingers in general, making it a rising favorite among nail artists.
The key to an Italian manicure is skillfully applying polish to the nails in a way that creates the appearance of length. It is frequently used in conjunction with traditional full-color manicures or painted tips. On Instagram, it is also referred to as The Hot Blend.
For a successful Italian manicure, paint a vertical line up the nail, leaving a tiny space between each border of the nail wall and the gel while getting as near to the cuticles as you can without touching the skin.
3. Full paint manicure
This is the go to when it comes to easy and quick nails. As the name implies, it involves painting the full nail with no spaces. It's really just a different name for the act of painting your entire nail. People often spice up the full paint manicure by using different colors and/or adding designs.
- Soft gel: This material will last about 2 weeks and can be soaked off with acetone.
- Hard gel: Hard gel differs from soft in that it cannot be dissolved and must be filled off.
- Dip powder: The dip technique, a hybrid of acrylic and gel, entails painting nails with a base coat and a specialized priming layer. A container of polymer powder is then used to coat the fingernail (very similar to acrylic powder) before polish is used. The dip technique differs from gel in that it can dry without the need of a special light, gel manicures require UV/LED light to harden the polish.
- Arcylic: Like the Italian manicure, acrylic nails lengthen short natural nails. They can last up to three weeks and add more length by fusing more material to your natural nails. Your manicurist combines liquid monomer and powder polymer to make an acrylic nail, which hardens into a coating that resembles your natural nails.
Over the past century, a myriad of styles, colors, and designs have arisen, drawing people from every age and background to get a manicure of their very own. In recent years manicures have become even more popular, ironically due to politics. Quite a full circle arc for the manicure.
As gender, sexuality, and identity have been assessed and expanded, many “gender-specific activities” have been reimagined, resulting in significantly more men getting and displaying manicures. Manicures, long socially delegated to only women, are once again sported by men and nonbinary folks. No matter who you are, if you have hands, you probably want them to look and feel their best. If this is the case, an Italian manicure could be just the treat you're looking for.
Written by Kiana St. Onge