I favor vintage manicures— short nails painted in either a classic French manicure, or a dark-matte polish in a reverse-French. The 'reverse-French' is also known as a 'half-moon' manicure— it was first popularized in the 1930's.
Given my fear of complete strangers brandishing sharp objects, I rarely get my nails professionally done. So, over the years, I've gotten good at doing my own. The reverse-French is probably the most difficult to do for yourself, so here are a couple tips if you want to try it out at home:
- Invest in good polish, like Chanel or the mid-priced OPI. Higher quality polish has more pigment and less coats are required. (The fewer coats you put on your nails, the less likely you are to screw up.)
- Paint your nails with a base coat primer.
- Paint your entire nail with the coat of the color you want the 'half moon' at the bottom to be.
- Once your 'half moon' layer is TOTALLY dry, apply nail stickers to the bottom of the nail to create the half-moon shape. (I usually wait 24 hours...)
- Paint above the half-moon stickers with your desired color. If you are going for a classic 30's, vintage look, I recommend medium to dark matte reds. (Iridescent polishes didn't exist until the late 50's.)
- If you are using a quality nail polish in a dark hue, you may only need to apply one color-coat. Like I was saying earlier, the fewer coats you apply, the faster the nails will dry, which will save you drying time and reduce the likelihood of your wet nails getting 'dinged.'
- Remove half-moon stickers and apply 1-2 clear top coats to protect the polish.
- You're done!
Edit: In other online tutorials, I've noticed people use "ring reinforcement stickers" like these. I've tried them and they work great— they're also very inexpensive and can be found at any drug or office supply store.