Nail Trends

What We Wore - Nail Styles Through the Years

Throughout the last two decades, NAILS has chronicled the best of nail styles, from thick and square to thin and oval. Here, a look back at the highlights — the fabulous, the frivolous, and the truly influential. 

Nail styles have come into their own especially during the last 100 years. During the 1920s, nails progressed from snowy white nail tips in the early ’20s, to crimson-colored nails as the ’30s approached. The most unusual technique was referred to as Paris Nails. They were deep pink at the edges with a paler pink in the center of each nail.

Square nails become fashionable around the mid-70s, probably due to nail competitions — judges can critique a C-curve more easily in a square nail than an oval nail. Exceptionally long nails are also accepted then and nail tips are used more and more.

The ’90s and early 2000s gave way to a back-to-natural look. Elegance and romance were prevalent as an ongoing trend. Nails were delicate and feminine in appearance, showing off that natural, well-kept look that stands true today.

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Market Research

Market Research How big is the U.S. nail business? $7.3 billion. What's the average service price for a manicure? Dig into our decades' deep research archives.

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