There has been a great change in manicuring methods of late. The old steel implements of torture are banished, and the ivory instruments have long since taken their place. Steel should never be put to the fingers, except to use the scissors when the nails are too long, or to trim the skin in order to free it from hangnails.
The best operators no longer cut away the cuticle about the base of the nail, and the manicure who does that nowadays is not a student of the French method of manicuring, which supplanted every other some time ago. The same effect—and better, in fact—is got by simply pressing back the flesh with the end of an ivory or orange-wood instrument. The gouging and snipping, so irritating to a person of nerves, is thus avoided. However, if you only know how, you can manicure your nails at home and they will look every bit as well as if you trotted downtown and spent half a day and a nice big dollar.
Fill a china wash basin with a suds of warm water and castile soap. Soak the hands for five minutes. With an old soft linen towel push back the skin around the nails. If there are hangnails snip them away carefully. Cutting the cuticle at the base of the nail was a barbaric feature of a new science which disappeared when it became more rational and refined. Never, under any circumstances, must the inside of the nail be scraped with a sharp instrument.
Another thing to be avoided is the vulgar application of pink nail cosmetics. Who has not seen a pretty hand made hideous by nails all gummed up with red paste? Oh, yes, and claw-like nails! They, too, have been “called in,” now that progress, good sense and civilization go marching on at a two-step pace.
The nails should be trimmed the same shape as the finger tips, and left neither too long nor too short. There’s a happy medium that is easily discovered, because of its usefulness, its convenience, and its artistic beauty. A too-highly polished surface is also a vulgarity invented by the old-time manicure. A little powder rubbed briskly on the nail with a heavily padded polisher is a great improvement, but when the nails shine with door-knob brilliancy it’s high time to call a halt. As for jagged, uneven nails—there’s no excuse for them.