Speaking of inventing beauty insecurities, the whole nail polish industry started much in the same way. Northam Warren of Cutex got into the hand business by kick-starting a campaign that cautioned how low-class un-manicured nails made women seem. Since it was during the early 20th century, his products didn’t push polish yet but rather hand maintenance, like creams and nail tools. “It’s like the difference between skin creams and makeup. Nail polish and makeup can have certain connotations especially with regard to ‘class’ status — especially during the early 20th century, which had not completely shed all of the old Victorian notions of women’s roles,” Professor Denise H. Sutton, Business Department, at CUNY’s City Tech, shares with Bustle in an interview.
“Advertisers were already cautioning women in the early 20th century to take care of their hands so as not to reveal the work they do,” Sutton explains. “Hands can reveal so much about a person. Working hands are probably going to have dry cuticles, cracked or maybe even split nails, dry skin, callouses, and vestiges from the type of work one does: Dirt under nails and tanned skin for farmers, field hands, and gardeners; cracked, red skin on the hands of washer women, domestic servants, housewives; burn marks on the hands of welders or short order cooks!”
See Marlen Komar’s full article at Bustle.