If 1950s Nail Polish Could Swatch

Thursday, 24 May 2012

One of my favourite evening pastimes is firing up the iPad and sofa-surfing eBay for vintage cosmetics and collectibles whilst the husband scours eBay on his iPhone for bike parts. Hey, we all have hobbies :)

Two recent wins have caused great excitement (for me, not him), especially as they were both under £5 including postage. I love the thrill of a fiver find (p&p included) on eBay. One is quite unlike anything I've ever seen before and needs more research before I post about its provenance, the other is this rather beautiful example of L'Onglex nail polish.

Floral fancy: a blast from nail polish past

Retro magazine adverts I've unearthed online date similar L'Onglex Polishes to around the 1940s/1950s. I've got a feeling this is mid to late 1940s but will hedge my bets and plump for early 1950s.

The bottle is heavyweight, glamorous glass and the reverse has a sophisticated cross-etched pattern. There's also a genius indent designed to steady the fingertips during painting. How very ladylike.

From the typography on the front of the bottle, to the illustrated Adele-esque nail (which admittedly looks more like a candle than a human digit), this is vintage beauty perfection and makes 21st century nail polish packaging seem bland by comparison. 

What it does appear to have in common with its contemporaries however is the formulation; a bright, glossy candy-apple red tint that I reckon would apply - saturated but sheerly - like the current Jelly nail trend.

I tried (and failed) to twist open, steam open and finally prise open the cap thinking it would be fun to flout health and safety rules and swatch a piece of 60-year-old nail polish history. But damn it, it wouldn't budge. The vintage genie in the bottle remains disappointingly corked. Some you win, then you lose. x


Anonymous said...

Hi, found your post fascinating as I too own a vintage bottle of long,ex but my bottle is tear drop shaped, did you have any luck in dating your product? Mine came from my grandmother. :-)

Hannah Adams said...

Hi, thank you so much for your lovely comment :) I didn't have any luck narrowing down the date but think it's 50s. The glass looks too heavy duty for a 60s product somehow. Aren't they lovely objects? So glamorous and how lucky that it came from your grandmother. I have an art deco compact from my own grandmother x

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