Cutex was really the undisputed leader for manicure preparations in the 1920s and remained so until Revlon challenged, and ultimately became the market leader  in the mid-1930s.

A woman’s nails in the 1920s said a lot about her – her hygiene, her standards and even her class – but colouring the nails, with a lacquer wasn’t typical until the latter part of the decade and the polish type we often associate with the 20s, the moon manicure, wasn’t really popular until around 1927 and reached the pinnacle of its popularity in the mid 30s.

The importance of Cutex had been established just before the 1920s and they launched many new types of products in the years leading up to this decade.

By the mid-1920s Cutex was the worlds largest manufacture of products for the care of nails and its products were being sold in 37 countries.  

 Cutex advert 1920
Cutex, September 1920

Early Cutex adverts focused on how to keep you nails perfectly manicured –and in this sense it was having tidy nails, no hang nails and tidy cuticles. By the early 1920s however, more products were being developed including, in 1922 new nail polishes – in liquid and powder.

 Cutex advert 1922 first nail polish
Cutex nail polish advert, 1922

Although nail polish had been launched, by Cutex, as early as 1917 by 1922 there was a new formulation and was being featured in many of the compact sets that the brand was known for.

 Cutex Compact Sets 1927 and 1922
Cutex Compact Sets, 1927 and 1922

Instructions from 1922 set:  “Cutex Liquid Polish applied with the little camel’s hair brush, instantaneously and without buffing, imparts to the nails a brilliant, delicately tinted lustre. Wonderful as a protection to the nails. Used as a finishing touch it will make a manicure last three times as long.”

Advertisements promised that this liquid polish would leave a ‘lovely shell pink’ tint to the nail.

 Cutex advert 1924 new liquid polish
Cutex advert, February 1924 Source: US Vogue