Beauty - Finger Nails
( Originally Published 1924 )
We may consider ourselves more civilized than the Chinaman who measures his social prestige by the length of his finger-nails, but there is no truer way of judging one's fastidiousness than by hands and finger-nails. Horace, the old Roman poet, described a man of high social finish as politus ad ungem, "polished to the nail-point."
Hands may not be beautiful, but if the nails show proper care, they bespeak a refined sense of Beauty.
Nails should not be clipped. It is better to shape them with a file. Two or three minutes' shaping each day will keep them the desired length.
In filing, the nails should be shaped so that they correspond to the shape of the fingers. Very pointed nails are like all affected things—displeasing.
To clean underneath the nail, an orange-stick wrapped with a little cotton should be used. This may be dipped in a bleach, such as diluted peroxid, and used not only under the tip of the nail, but its entire length. This will remove discolorations. A sharp instrument will scrape the nail, making it rough and ready to hold dirt.
The flat end of the orange-wood stick should be used to push back the cuticle at the base of the nail. This will prevent the half-moon from being eclipsed. The fingers should be wet during the process, and care should be used to prevent breaking the tender skin. If there are rough edges, they can be trimmed away with the sharply pointed curved scissors.
Nail-powder can be rubbed on the nail with a buffer. Some manicurists use a preparation of pumice, but this is very hard on the cuticle. The polish is finer. Briskly buffing the nails will make them tingle with circulating blood which will give them a pink cast, showing the presence of the de-sired vitality which causes the nail to grow.
Extremely shiny nails are in poor taste. A dull polish is the correct finish under all circumstances.
Keep on your dressing-table a small covered jar in which you have placed a piece of absorbent cot-ton saturated with olive-oil. Just before you get into bed, after your nails have been thoroughly cleansed, dip the fingers up and down in the cotton. The oil will prevent the brittleness which causes broken, unsightly nails.
A beautiful young lady, with grace of figure, held out her hand to me, and I saw how the stubby finger-ends spoiled -the most expressive of all her attractions. She had the terrible habit of biting her nails. She should have been broken of the habit in infancy or as soon as the biting began. Bitter-aloes put on the ends of the fingers will sometimes aid in the cure. But certainly a grown woman should have sufficient mental control to make it possible for her to refrain from such a desecration of her beauty.